It was a big ask for a small space.
Andy Knight and Michelle Tennant wanted their central Hong Kong apartment to have a full kitchen, sizable bathtub, home theatre, gym, and ample room for storage (and, of course, space their cats to stretch their tails).
There was just one problem: their apartment happened to be in central Hong Kong.
In one of the most expensive real estate markets on the planet, the couple were relegated to a unit that barely exceeded 300 square feet in size.
If they pinched every penny, maybe they’d have gained another 30 or 50 square feet of living space on the market (or a small walk-in closet).
So instead, with the money they’d socked away, they approached LAAB, a local architecture firm, to see what could be done about their diminutive suite.
The firm drafted about 40 layouts before perfecting the final one. For the architects, the three-dimensional space before them wasn’t the only thing to think about, explains Otto Ng, LAAB’s co-founder.
“We engaged the fourth-dimension element, which is time,” he says. “For example, the bathtub space is also a sofa space; it could also become a movie theatre space, as well as a guest bedroom space,” Ng notes.
Virtually everything in this micro-unit does something else. Surfaces glide, fold, lift, drop, and rotate. There’s a pneumatic storage system tucked beneath the floor. Wooden slats that can span the width of the tub bear the weight of a mattress.
“A lot of functions happen in a small space at different times of the day,” says Ng.
Special attention was paid to feline functions, too.
LAAB incorporated an elevated catwalk, ladder, and cat cave into the unit, as well as a stowaway litter box in the bathroom and pull-out cat food trays in the kitchen cabinetry.
Tennant was impressed. “It was obvious that they had done their research and spent a lot of time with cats, and the cats really love it.”
Humans also feel at home, adds Knight. “We actually had a friend come over and cook in our kitchen, because it’s better than his kitchen, and his apartment’s much bigger than his,” he says.
“We thought that with the right design, with the right thinking, that small place could be as comfortable or more so than somewhere much bigger,” says Knight.
Check out a few more images of the home Knight and Tennant share with their three cats, Banoffee, Dumdum and Tuxedo.