News Home & Design Space-Saving Platform Is the Superstar Behind This Micro-Apartment Renovation This multifunctional intervention creates more storage and functionality in this tiny 266-square-foot apartment. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast on April 23, 2021 LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include; agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process on April 23, 2021 02:39PM EDT Design Eight Five Two Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices In many of the world's major metropolises, there's a housing affordability crisis unfolding as real estate prices continue to go up and up, whether it's London, Paris or New York City, or even in the suburbs. Young people who are now coming of age are looking for houses to buy, but find themselves to be perpetual renters — though some may argue that's actually a good thing — due to the rising costs of buying a home. Nowhere is this dilemma more pronounced than in the small island city of Hong Kong, home to some of the world's most expensive real estate — which means that ordinary Hong Kongers typically make do with smaller and more affordable living spaces. In looking for a place to call his own, architect Norman Ung, co-founder of Design Eight Five Two (previously), bought a tiny one-bedroom apartment in an older 1980s building located in the district of Shatin. Design Eight Five Two Interestingly, Hong Kong's building regulations at the time exempted bay windows with a depth of fewer than 19.6 inches from being counted as a saleable area. This means while there were 417 square feet total here, there were only 266 square feet of usable space. The apartment has three large windows offering good views out — two of them are bay windows — and plenty of natural light. But the original layout's bay windows weren't really functional, so the usable floor space was considerably reduced. Flat 8 was in need of a major overhaul, as Ung explained: "The design sought to create the same comfort and space to which people are accustomed in larger more spacious homes. The apartment is more akin to the image of the bachelor pad — compact, prominently located, functional in fit out but methodic and easy to maintain. The result is a superior quality and high valued home space that integrates the very best aspects of small space interior design with a part of Hong Kong history." To address the awkward layout and increase the apartment's overall functionality, Ung completely redesigned the space by taking down some walls to open up the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, while also adding a multifunctional platform that is now level with the bottom of the windows. Design Eight Five Two Built out of neutral-toned ash wood, the platform conceals a number of storage spaces underneath, as well as storage drawers hidden in the steps leading up. Right beside those steps, there is a comfy couch area carved out of the platform's volume. Design Eight Five Two In the center of the platform, there's also a table that rises up on hydraulic mechanisms, creating a convenient place to eat a meal or work. Design Eight Five Two Running alongside the platform, there is a zone demarcated by more ash wood cabinetry, used for storing things neatly and keeping clutter out of sight. There's a workspace nestled in here too — complete with space-saving integrated lighting and built-in shelving on the side, and even a small window to gaze out of. Design Eight Five Two At the very end of this side zone is a cozy reading nook, formed out of the protruding window space. Design Eight Five Two The apartment's open-plan also includes a sleeping space off to the side, tucked in against one of the home's sizable windows. Design Eight Five Two Nearer to the entrance, we have more roll-out storage cabinets that are concealed in the wall. Perfect for hiding shoes and bags out of view, the cabinets are easily pulled out thanks to the large wooden handles, one of which functions as a place to stash mail. Design Eight Five Two Nearby is the small kitchen, which is hidden behind a space-saving sliding door made of ash wood. The color palette here is a minimal white and dark grey, to keep things clean and visually simple. Design Eight Five Two By opening things up, and inserting in a multipurpose platform, Ung's redesign creates a feeling of spaciousness, and the more upscale impression of floor-to-ceiling windows, rather than the cramped cubbies of the existing bay windows. In the end, a pared-down yet airy and fully functional living space emerges out of what may have initially seemed too small a space to live in. To see more, visit Design Eight Five Two.