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Vertical niche

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Because it's on four small levels – each devoted to a different purpose – this large apartment has a sense of intimacy wherever you go

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Using a consistent palette of colours and materials is a common way to achieve a harmonious decor in a single-storey apartment or house. Level changes, on the other hand, offer the opportunity to create different zones throughout the home, each with its own distinctive look and personality.

When the owners of this 350m2, four-level apartment walked into it, they were immediately attracted by the spectacular views across the harbour.

"We really liked the home's structural flow, with the front entrance on the top level. As we would be the only two people living there, the multiple levels suited us perfectly, with each floor not too overwhelming in size," they say.

The couple commissioned interior designers Jason Yung and Caroline Ma to renovate the apartment for them.

"The owners asked us to create a contemporary, metropolitan living space with opportunities for displaying their collection of artwork," says Yung.

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They also wanted a large master bedroom suite and a gymnasium and spa area.

"Because of our small family size, we didn't need a house with several bedrooms. Instead, we felt the space would be better used for living and relaxation," the owner says.

The designers divided the space according to level and function. To maximise beach views, the front door on the top entry level is fully glazed. White marble on the floor of the front entrance reflects the sun and ensures this area feels warm and inviting.

Inside, the backbone of the whole design is the staircase, which forms a backdrop at each level. Every flight is different from the next, while at the same time providing an important link between areas.

From the front door, the stairs lead down to the gallery and reception level. This area is designed for the display and contemplation of various pieces from the owners' large collection of Chinese art.

The space features neutral walls and has been sparsely furnished to maintain a focus on the paintings and on a cabinet where a pair of Chinese scrolls – a family heirloom – is displayed. Light from various sources falls onto the artworks.

Extra-wide, white stonewashed planks add texture and a touch of Chinese artistry to the room, the designers say.

The next level down is the main living and dining space. This is designed to comfortably sit a large group of people.

"Features such as dark glass mirror walls, cut in the pattern of a bar code, and sleek, cool French limestone floors create a sophisticated, urban look," says Yung.

Two Cappelini chairs and a pendant light contribute to the contemporary atmosphere of the living spaces.

A wall behind the specially designed dining table is covered with a strip-smoked mirror, reflecting the facade of the staircase and balcony that cantilevers off the landing.

As with the gallery, furnishings in the living space have been kept to a minimum. Suspended from the wall to increase the illusion of space, book shelves are low and narrow. Walls all feature the same neutral tones, with the two Cappelini chairs the only splash of colour in the space.

To encourage interaction between the living, dining and cooking spaces, the kitchen has an open-plan design. However, frosted glass doors can be used to close the kitchen from public view if required.

The main staircase carries on down to the master bedroom suite. This floor previously contained two bedrooms, now joined together to achieve the owners' brief for a large and luxurious suite.

A curved aluminium door, 1800mm in diameter, provides access to the master suite. The bedroom, dressing room and bathroom are contained in a single large space.

A frosted mirror glass wardrobe surrounds the dressing area. A freestanding, double-sink vanity takes centre stage, making the space feel clean and chic, says the owner.

"It has the atmosphere of a changing room in a luxurious boutique," he says.

A freestanding Agape bathtub is located right beside the bed. So the view can be fully appreciated, the shower and toilet flank the full-height window.

The lowest level is completely different in character to the rest of the apartment, say the designers.

Raw concrete steps with recessed lights lead down to the gymnasium. Here, red wallpaper in a retro pattern, dark timber flooring and a steel-wrapped bathtub create a slightly funky, secret place.

First published date: 28 June 2005

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Credit List

Architect Jason Caroline Design HKIA, HKDA (Hong Kong)
Interior and kitchen design Jason Yung, Caroline Ma, Keith Chan
Builder Lau Kam Chuen Construction
Kitchen manufacturer KODA Kitchen
Tiling Esprit Nouveau supplied by In Plus
Wallcoverings ICI Paints
Lighting Delta Lighting from Zodiac
Heating PLC Lighting
Hanging lamp Flos Lastra 8 from Desideri
Upholstery fabrics Cetec
Living room chairs Emilio Pucci fabric on Cappelini Rive Droite chairs from Desideri
Shower fittings Axor from Sunny Pro
Shower Hansgrohe from Sunny Pro
Bath Agape Spoon tub from Sunny Pro
Taps Latorre
Toilet Duravit
Sofa bed in gym BPA International Roger from Desideri
Gymnasium wallpaper Tapeten Der 70er
Gymnasium flooring Nogal from Equal