Home Design - Living Naturally with Green Hill Views

In spite of our city’s reputation for being an urban jungle, there are still pockets of pastoral beauty for those who want to be surrounded by nature as they go about their daily lives. For one pair of newlyweds, their previous flat became too small when they had a baby. They wanted to nurture their burgeoning family life together, and found a recently completed residential development in the New Territories near University MTR station. Studio Adjective’s co-founder Wilson Lee knew the husband from school, and it was inevitable that the couple looked to him to design the apartment to suit their lifestyle.

“The best feature about this flat is the view—the development is on a hill, and all the windows look out to greenery,” explains Lee. “We wanted to highlight the views with a neutral, natural material and colour scheme.” He worked closely with his clients to ensure that they took an active role in how the design developed. As the 700 square foot flat was brand new when it was handed over, they opted to keep as much as possible to avoid unnecessary construction wastage. For example, they kept the kitchen layout as it worked for their purposes, as well as the bathrooms; Lee only swapped the master bathtub for a shower. However, they made two major changes to the layout: two bedrooms were converted into one large master bedroom, and the kitchen, foyer and maid’s room were reworked.

“The original layout’s main entry door looked directly into the kitchen—a less than ideal view,” recalls Lee. “The maid’s room was also an irregular shape. I suggested to my clients that it would be better to move the kitchen door and straighten out the maid’s room.” Lee clad the wall opposite the entry door with horizontal wooden slats that continue across full height translucent glass, allowing natural light to flow between the kitchen and the entry corridor. The new sliding door to the kitchen lets the space be closed off as required. The triangular space remaining was devoted to a custom shoe cabinet, small bench seat, and rack for coats and other accessories. “It is always a good idea to have a place to drop off keys or mail when you come through the door,” Lee says. “Previously, the entry corridor was just dead space.”

The combination living and dining room is divided by a corridor that leads to the bedrooms. Lee clad the wall to the living area with a cement finish and the dining room wall with oak that continues on the floor. The cement and wood continue along the corridor, finally meeting at the far corner of the master bedroom. “Since the scheme was so neutral, our client asked for a few show pieces,” Lee notes. “We suggested a white marble dining table and Tom Dixon pendant lamps—pieces that are simple yet make a statement.”

The large master bedroom was laid out so that one spouse can work at a desk while the other relax, sleep or watch TV. “The missus sometimes brings home a lot of documents and she doesn’t want to disturb her husband when she works late into the night,” Lee reveals. “We designed the wall between the desk and bed to be half height, and installed a TV on the side facing the bed.”

He also paid a great deal of attention to lighting the flat, with light troughs behind the master bed, in the bedroom corridor and as key decorative pieces. Since the family is young, they wanted to have plenty of space to display photos. Lee added a continuous shelf behind the master bed so that they can easily display and change portraits over time. “All the doors are concealed, resulting in clean looking walls,” says Lee. “You really notice how the nature dominates the flat.”

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