News Home & Design 'Mini Treehouse Residence' Maximizes Small Footprint With a Lofted Bedroom This small apartment makes use of a treehouse-like loft in order to expand a panoramic view of nature. 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 Updated January 28, 2021 04:32PM EST Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast 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 Share Twitter Pinterest Email NCDA News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Over the years, we've seen a number of intriguing and thoughtfully designed small spaces from Hong Kong, a small but densely populated island metropolis. Thanks to its mountainous geography there isn't a lot of space to build – so when things are built, they are generally built up (and up and up), rather than out. That means that small living spaces are generally the rule, rather than the exception here. Unless you are rolling in cash and can afford to buy something bigger, given the astronimical housing prices. In any case, some of these clever space-maximizing design schemes rely on some hi-tech "transformer" furniture solutions, while others are more low-tech in nature. In the residential neighborhood of Ho Ma Tin, located in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong, architect Nelson Chow of NCDA chose some simple design moves in revamping an existing one-bedroom apartment into his own Mini Treehouse Residence. We get a lovely tour of Chow's 355-square-foot (33-square-meter) home via Never Too Small: One of the big inspirations for the treehouse theme was the fact that Chow's apartment overlooks a forested hillside, despite the building's location in the heart of the city. To take advantage of this, Chow decided to demolish the partition that separated the bedroom from the living room, and inserted a 43-square-foot (4-square-meter) loft instead, creating a more panoramic view of the greenery outside. Never Too Small As Chow explains: "I work a lot, so I wanted my home to be a place of relaxation. For the few hours that I spend at home, I wanted calmness and to be connected with nature. So I demolished it all and focused on one main feature … a treehouse. [...] I’ve always liked the idea of a treehouse. There’s something so magical and dreamy about climbing up to it." Chow's redesign keeps the kitchen in its original state, which includes what looks like a brass-clad countertop and backsplash, and wooden cabinetry that has been finished with a muted gold color. Never Too Small To keep the counters all at one stratum, the refrigerator has been separated into two parts – one mini-fridge and one mini-freezer – installed underneath the counter and behind golden cabinet doors. This design move creates a much cleaner look in a compact space. Never Too Small Beside the open kitchen is the living room, which features a simple couch and coffee table, and a free-standing television that Chow moves around, depending on the angle where one is watching it from. There are touches of gold here to link the living room back to the kitchen, such as the golden framework under the coffee table, and the elegant Tom Dixon pendant lamp. Never Too Small Building on the warm, brass colors, Chow chose a deep blue color for the walls, going against the conventional wisdom that one should choose a lighter color for small spaces, as this tends to give the illusion of a bigger space. Here, Chow says that "[Choosing the color] depends on what kind of situation you are in. If you're trying to frame the view of the outside so that the outside takes precedence, as opposed to the inside, [a darker wall color] actually helps you connect yourself to the outside." The dining room is located directly underneath the loft. The ceiling (also the underside of the loft) is not particularly high at only 6 feet (1.8 meters), but it's high enough for Chow's 5-foot-8-inch frame, and allows him to host small dinner parties. Never Too Small Off to the side is a closet with sliding doors that have been painted the same dark blue, and at the back of the space sits a mid-century wooden credenza. Never Too Small The sleeping loft is accessed by the ladder at the back of the dining room, and measures 4 feet in height, which gives Chow just enough space to sit up. NCDA It's a cozy, warm space, thanks to the extensive use of pine wood. There's another television here for nighttime film-watching. Never Too Small The bathroom is quite gorgeous too, and has not been changed much from its original condition. Never Too Small To maximize space, it features a shower with a rainfall shower head and glass door, and narrow, ledge-like shelves for storing toiletries. Never Too Small Thanks to the clever idea of eliminating the closed bedroom and instead elevating it up into the air, this small apartment has been expanded in terms of interior space, as well as its exterior view to the outside. It goes to show that even if a space is small, the careful selection of tasteful finishes and accessories can make it feel much bigger and more decadent than even a larger space might be.