News Home & Design Small Apartment Renovation Makes Space for Woman (and Two Cats) The apartment now looks and feels larger, with more natural light. 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 Published March 7, 2022 03:00PM EST Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Twitter University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our fact checking process littleMORE Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive It's a question that we've asked here on Treehugger many times: When it comes to small living spaces, how small is too small? The answer is: It depends. In a co-living situation where amenities are shared, living spaces can shrink down quite a bit. Personal preferences also make a difference, and how small it can comfortably get also depends on where you live; in cities like Paris and New York where space usually comes at a premium, people can be more tolerant—and creative—with maximizing whatever limited space they may have. Hemmed in by its mountainous geography, the metropolis of Hong Kong fits into this latter category. People here are used to living in smaller spaces than your average North American, with tall residential buildings often rising up vertically to make the most out of the limited amount of land available for building on. Apartments are typically smaller, and with an expensive local real estate market, people often opt to buy an older, less expensive apartment to renovate. That's exactly what local interior design studio littleMORE did for one client and her two pet cats, in this overhaul of a small 460-square-foot (43-square-meter) apartment located in the Hung Hom district of Kowloon, Hong Kong. As part of a housing estate complex that was built over 30 years ago on a site that previously served as dockyards, the renovated Whampoa Garden apartment features a number of simple but effective space-saving design ideas. To start, designers Ada Wong and Eric Liu had the walls that were dividing up the apartment demolished. Without these walls closing off the bedroom and office, which are now combined into one open space, the apartment now looks and feels larger because one's sightlines are no longer blocked, and more natural light can come in to illuminate the interior. littleMORE The sleeping space has been elevated onto a platform, and further delineated by an open shelving unit, thus suggesting spatially that this space is a bit different than the adjacent office space. There are underfloor cabinets embedded into the platform, thus augmenting storage options. littleMORE A soothing palette of green tones, warm wooden surfaces, and textured finishes help to promote a sense of calm and relaxation in the home. As the designers explain: "The elevated platform helps to define the sleeping area and provide ample of storage space. With the low bookshelf separating the work area, it allows the owner to be more focused on work. Various shades of green emerge subtly in different corners of the bedroom: textured wallpaper, leather headboard, back of display niches, desk lamp, and the plants echo each other. The serene space helps to soothe the mind and body." littleMORE The work area itself is defined by an L-shaped desk that seems to float above the floor, thus making it seem like there is less clutter and more floor. The open shelving above helps to reinforce that impression. littleMORE On the other side of the apartment, we have the living room, which sits in an oddly shaped area that is now moderated by the installation of a custom-designed, low-profile triangular piece of furniture that wraps around to soften the wall that juts out. littleMORE A low bench with storage has now been integrated under the living room window, providing a place for the client to sit, read, and sip morning coffee. littleMORE This low bench is also a great place for the two cats to lounge around on, or to hop up onto the cat furniture that is mounted on the wall. littleMORE The dining area is tucked into the space that leads into the kitchen and is populated by a dining table, two chairs, and a bench, which is less unwieldy than a full set of four chairs. Instead of having a solid wall and door to separate the kitchen off, there is a sliding glass door that still allows light to pass through while preventing kitchen noise and odors from going out. littleMORE As expected for a Hong Kong apartment, the kitchen is quite compact but fully functional, with the washing machine integrated underneath the counter. The designers say: "The aqua coloured handmade tiles juxtapose with the off-white spray painted kitchen cabinets [and] helps to add layers and depth to the compact kitchen. The subtle colour variation on the tiles also add a splash of fun visual elements." littleMORE The bathroom is nicely designed to make the most out of its compact footprint, and also includes a private place under the sink for the cats to do their business. littleMORE It's not easy to live in a small space with two pets, but here it seems like the cats were not forgotten in this thoughtfully designed renovation that maximizes space and natural illumination. To see more, visit littleMORE.