How this Hong Kong apartment’s views informed its interior design

a kitchen with a dining room table: Tommy Hui designed this Wong Chuk Hang apartment, aptly named the Bird Hide, to make the most of its panoramic views. Photography: Steven Ko

Tommy Hui designed this Wong Chuk Hang apartment, aptly named the Bird Hide, to make the most of its panoramic views. Photography: Steven Ko

A good view is a terrible thing to waste. And the view from the 690 sq ft Wong Chuk Hang flat that Tommy Hui Shui-cheung was hired to renovate is truly spectacular: a sweeping panorama of Bennett’s Hill and Aberdeen Harbour, with folds of greenery rolling into the sea.

“We wondered how to focus the interior on the views,” says Hui, founder of local architecture firm TBC Studio.

The clients, a young couple – a nurse and an urban planner – plan to have children, but for now they wanted a sanctuary where they could relax with family and friends. Hui worked with them to create a design he calls the Bird Hide, a reference to lookouts built to observe nature, birds especially, at close range.

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Hui wanted to make the flat as calming as its views, so he chose a relaxed palette of blond wood, complemented by a creamy pastel blue-green – the colour of the sea on a sunny day.

diagram, engineering drawing

© Provided by South China Morning Post

“We separated the living room and the dining room into two material finishes: wood veneer on one side and paint on the other,” says Hui. “For the paint, it needed to be a colour that wasn’t too dark, something more natural and cosy.”

The layout needed small changes, too. The flat’s front door opens directly into the dining and living area, so Hui used a slatted partition to create a foyer offering a gradual transition into the flat.

The next challenge was the kitchen. As in most Hong Kong flats, the small kitchen was closed off from the living and dining areas.

“It felt quite narrow,” says Hui. “So we demolished the solid partition and changed it into a glass wall so you can see through to the windows and the living space.”

Although open kitchens are now fashionable, Hui notes that they are not always practical.

“Enclosed kitchens are more functional for a lot of Chinese families because there can be a lot of smoke or smells from the cooking.” With the glass wall, he says, “it feels open but it can still be closed”.

Inside a Hong Kong home infused with Japanese aesthetics

A hallway leads from the living and dining areas to the bathroom and bed-rooms. The living room’s wood veneer wall wraps around the corner, leading to a built-in cabinet in the passage Hui designed to showcase the couple’s keepsakes. Across the hallway is a toilet and a bath-room, which the clients were inspired to separate after travelling to Japan.

“In Japan, these are often separate so they can be used by two people at the same time,” says Hui.

In addition, Japanese hygiene practices have long revolved around concepts of purity and impurity. Bathing

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Kitchen fire displaces several from Methuen mill apartments

A kitchen fire in a Methuen apartment triggered the building’s sprinkler system Saturday and destroyed 11 units in total, displacing several from the converted mill building at 52 Osgood St., fire officials said.

No residents or first responders were injured, Methuen Deputy Fire Chief Dan Donahue said. The Red Cross of Massachusetts is assisting those displaced in their search for housing.

The building is located behind the central fire station, and Donahue said he was first on the scene with crews responding to the alarm at 5:02 p.m. As he entered the building, a first-floor tenant came up and said water was dripping into their apartment.

Donahue’s first thought was it could be a burst pipe or an overflowing bathtub, he said. No signs of fire were seen from the outside, but when his crew reached the building’s fifth floor, they found a hallway filled with smoke.

A woman with two teenage children were home in the unit where the fire started, Donahue said. A pan of oil caught fire on the kitchen stove, he said, and the flames spread to the cabinets above.

The fire was contained to the one apartment, but the sprinklers left excessive water damage to the unit and those on the four floors below.

Donahue said 11 units were damaged and all had tenants living in them. The Red Cross of Massachusetts said in a tweet that “more than 10 adults and an unknown number of children are reportedly displaced.”

Donahue estimated the number of people displaced is much higher considering the number of damaged units.

“I would think the number is closer to at least 25 people,” he said.

Nick Stoico can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.

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Garden Apartments

This residential apartment is located on landscaped property that is at ground level. This term loosely describes any apartment on the first floor. It also includes a basement apartment or one in a high rise. If it is a real garden apartment, there will be no household, or apartment, above it. They are spread out horizontally in an open courtyard. You can find these apartments worldwide.

Such an apartment will have one or two bedrooms but you can find some that have three or more bedrooms, especially if they are used as a vacation apartment. The more bedrooms there are the more people they can accommodate when on vacation and renting the apartment. If it is an apartment that is rented out long term it is generally not furnished. If the apartment is rented out on a weekly or monthly basis for vacations, it will be furnished. Garden apartments may also have one or two stories. The common area can include outdoor amenities like a swimming pool, tennis or basketball courts, a spa or clubhouse. The entrance to the apartment could be off the courtyard or the street.

The owners of the garden apartments are responsible for the outdoor area being kept up with the lawn mowed, any outdoor equipment cleaned, clean swimming pool without leaves and other debris, etc. Many owners will plant the area with well cared for trees and floors. If it is an apartment complex and you have a pet you need to find out if there is a special area for the dogs. Make sure that you clean up after your dog once it has finished its business. Your garden apartment may have a small yard or patio. If your garden apartment has either of these two amenities, it would be a good place to have friends and family over for a barbeque.

Each garden apartment is a separate household unit but all of the tenants share any amenities, such as a swimming pool or exercise room and the main outside grounds. The apartments have their own controls for the heat and air conditioning and bathroom and kitchen facilities. In some places, it may be called a walk-up garden apartment because it has an outdoor staircase. With garden apartment complexes that offer premium services like a weight and exercise room or sauna may be charged an extra monthly fee to help with the upkeep and have a key to let them into these facilities. By having a key, it prevents those that choose not to pay the extra fee from using these premium facilities. Some may even have a laundry room for the residents. The rent for a garden apartment would be much the same as a regular apartment but it depends on the location and amenities.

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