This ingenious Tung Chung flat integrates smart home systems, Feng Shui practices and plenty of storage all in one, compact package.

Taiwanese couple Eric Lin Sin-han and Lory Chen Li-wen had been living in their 492-square-foot Tung Chung apartment for six years before going for a refresh. The main reason was to accommodate their growing family; their son, Kai Kai, had been sharing their bedroom since they moved in, but after he turned six they decided it was time that he had his own room. Since Kai Kai’s grandmother often stays over to look after him during his parents’ frequent business trips—Lin works for a bank and Chen is a flight attendant—the couple also endeavoured to provide her with her own space during her visits. There was also the issue of accommodation for the new live-in domestic helper they wanted to hire. 

Aside from accommodating two more people and increasing the amount of storage space, the couple also wanted to incorporate Feng Shui elements and a smart technology system so that they could manage their flat efficiently. The designer they brought on board to do their home’s multi-layered new design was Patrick Lam, founder and creative director of Sim-Plex Design Studio in Hong Kong, whose work they discovered on Facebook. 

Since the flat features many structural walls, Lam did not make any major changes to the layout. He took space from the enclosed kitchen to create a domestic helper’s room, allowing the kitchen area to spill out into the main living and dining area, and moved the bathroom door to allow for more counter space within. Otherwise, the reconfigurations are more discreet. As Kai Kai would be taking over what used to be a storage room, Lam came up with the idea of installing custom-made platforms throughout the home for the family’s belongings in order to replace the original storage space.

But the platforms serve many more functions, too. In the living room, one platform conceals a coffee table that pops out of the floor. 

In Kai Kai’s room, another platform doubles as seating at his desk. They also hide several smart home devices, including voice-activated lighting, curtain and air conditioning systems, as well as tracks for a set of sliding doors that bisect the living room when pulled out, creating a temporary private space for Kai Kai’s grandmother. “The wooden platform also allows the grandmother to sleep on it when she visits and integrates the track of the sliding folding doors,” explained Lam. “It is about more than just storage.” When not in use, the doors are stored inside the television cabinet. Other functions are ingeniously hidden away within other cabinets and furniture pieces, too, such as the dressing table with a mirror that flips up in the master bedroom and even drawers tucked under the dining room seats which helps increase storage space.

And then there was the Feng Shui to consider. Lin, who is fairly knowledgeable about Feng Shui himself, gave plenty of feedback on Lam’s initial plans, making sure that the home would be symmetrical—which, according to Feng Shui practices, attracts more luck. The living room even has two televisions. “Since Feng Shui is something subjective and irrational, but the reverse is true for smart elements, lots of work to coordinate between them arose,” said Lam. 

The clients also wanted to make the most of the flat’s beautiful natural surroundings, so Lam went with a calm, minimalist aesthetic that wouldn’t distract from the views. “[My aim was to create] a zen style that was coherent with the natural scenery outside and that introduced mental peacefulness,” Lam concluded.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF PATRICK LAM