This Hong Kong Home Is the Best Use of 370 Square Feet

published Aug 1, 2018

This Hong Kong Home Is the Best Use of 370 Square Feet

published Aug 1, 2018
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Name: Nelson Chow
Location: Ho Man Tin, Hong Kong
Size: 370 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 year, owned

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It’s no secret that Hong Kong can feel like a small, cramped place full of tiny apartments at times. With just so much land, building upwards is the only solution. And that is exactly what this Hong Kong architect has done with his own 370-square-foot apartment.

Nelson Chow, an architect who is well known for designing restaurants and secret bars, bought this tiny apartment in the Ho Man Tin hillside a year ago. He fell in love with the view, and wanted to create something that blends in with the beautiful environment it’s surrounded by. And that’s when he came up with the idea of creating this “treehouse” inside his apartment.

First, he removed an existing bedroom wall, and then raised the sleeping space above the dining area to create that cozy Scandi-cabin bed spot. To make the two areas feel distinctive and different from each other, Nelson painted the living space and the dining space in the same dark blue paint. The top half of the treehouse was then left in a raw pinewood finish, which matches the elevated bed space that is clad in the same pinewood. The facade of the treehouse features a lattice-like pattern made up of Mutina Tierras series wall tiles, designed by Patricia Urquiola.

There are also lots of other lovely ideas that Nelson has created in the space, including a marble coffee table that he built by sourcing a piece of marble and then having it fixed onto a brass base (which also turned out to be one of his biggest embarrassments—see below). The linear ceiling light on top of the dining table was custom made using a couple of long pieces of brass and a piece of glass. The sofa was reupholstered, and the artwork above is a piece of black Gigacer tile; the ceramic tile has a subtle bumpy texture that catches light at different angles and changes the appearance of the slab.

Despite all of this, Nelson’s favorite element of the home is definitely his treehouse bed. “The fact you have to climb in and out of it on a daily basis is a bit of a pain but you will be rewarded with the intimacy and practicality it provides.” And that’s exactly what Nelson has created: a cozy, practical and livable home that makes the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s busy streets.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Nordic

Inspiration: We love the views from our apartment looking into the hillside, so we have designed a dark room that frames the view and also added a treehouse to echo the surroundings.

Favorite Element: The treehouse, as it’s a focal point that gives life to the apartment; the fact you have to climb in and out of it on a daily basis is a pain but you will be rewarded by the intimacy and practicality it provides.

Biggest Challenge: Space (370 square feet).

What Friends Say: You must have pretty short friends (referring to the low ceiling in the dining area).

Biggest Embarrassment: I came up with a DIY coffee table idea, and when the builder finished putting the beautiful marble top to the coffee table base, I got so excited I stepped on it and accidentally snapped it in half. We ended up having to glue the marble top back together, which has left a permanent mark on the marble.

Proudest DIY: The treehouse as it makes the space feel cosy and saves a lot of space.

Biggest Indulgence: The terracotta tiles by Patricia Urquiola lined the treehouse and give a very warm texture to our otherwise moody space.

Best Advice: Small spaces don’t have to be white, instead the color of the space should reflect the personality at home, and how well it blends in with the environment.

Dream Sources: Watching movies or travelling always gives me lots of inspiration.


Dulux dark blue

Sofa — reupholstered
CH56 Stool — Hans Wegner
Pendant light — Tom Dixon

The kitchen was designed by the developer and not changed

Drop Chairs — Lane Crawford
Japanese ceramic tableware — Klondikeand the cutlery from Cutipol
Glossy black bento storage drawer unit and marble shelf — Konstantin Grcic for Magis
Alvar Aalto-designed Iittala vase — Manks

Wall sconces — Matter

Thanks, Nelson!

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