The finishing touches are FINALLY in place and we’re feeling completely settled in our Hong Kong home! A few things took a bit longer than we anticipated – the last little things always seem to drag on forever – but we’re finally organized and not coming home to a list of to-do’s. Hooray!
My strategy for our little flat was to utilize as much of our existing furniture as possible (for budget and sustainability reasons) and, if necessary, invest in key pieces that were really necessary to make living in a small space manageable and comfortable. Beyond that, my vision was to create a little Canadian oasis in the middle of Hong Kong that feels cozy and inviting, and is filled with things that we love.
Compared to my original layout, we stayed fairly close to the plan. The main differences are:
- In the bedroom we reoriented the bed so it sits in front of the window. By the time we had the wardrobes in, plus the door, plus a bed frame there just wasn’t enough clearance to walk around with it the way I had originally planned. The downside is this change means we can’t use the two nightstands we shipped over, but we have a ledge behind the bed for our lamps anyway. One of the nightstands is tucked in to the wardrobe for additional storage and we will sell the other.
- By changing the bed location it created a really nice spot for a chair beside the dresser.
- In the living room we swapped the walls the TV / sofa are on. The cable is in the wall between the living room and bedroom, so I had it in my head that the TV had to go there – but we don’t have cable here! We swapped it so when you walk in you see the cozy sofa and art wall above…a nicer focal point.
- When I really got serious about dimensions I realized there was only space for one armchair and only shipped one over.
The entry is tiny and needs to be super functional to be tidy. We needed a place to store shoes and a few jackets, and also a place to dump our work bags (Braden’s backpack and my purse). Our unsophisticated solution was:
- Ikea Pax (14″ deep) wardrobe + shelves – my parents had it in storage + we shipped over
- Ikea Fardal gloss white hinged doors – purchased in HK
- Custom stump stool by Peregrine – already owned + shipped over
The capacity of the Pax unit is excellent and it’s such a relief to have all our shoes in one spot and out of sight. The glossy white doors visually relate to the glossy black kitchen cabinets and make the dark entry as light as possible. Still to do: install battery operated lights in the unit (there’s no electrical access in this area of the flat).
Our kitchen is super small – there’s no way around it! We have a tiny sink (a dinner plate doesn’t even sit flat in the bottom!) with two drawers below, a stove top with two elements with a washer/dryer combo below, and a small fridge and freezer (the freezer is about 5″ high). We do have the upper cabinets – but don’t be fooled – the depth of most is quite shallow due to the electrical panel being concealed in one and the hood fan vent running through the other. We have a ladder to access higher items and have tried to organize our belongings so the things we use more often are low enough that we don’t have to drag in the ladder all the time. Our saving grace is the new kitchen island we added.
- Ikea Stenstorp kitchen island (we painted blue) – purchased and shipped from Canada, as it was cheaper than buying in Hong Kong
- Glossy black Tolix-style stools – purchased in Hong Kong
- Simplehuman trash can – purchased in Hong Kong
We opted for stools with no back so they can tuck under the island as far as possible to keep the circulation path behind wide and clear. The island adds a huge amount of easily accessible storage; the only downside is it’s open so it can get a bit dusty. We just dust things off before we use them if necessary, so no big deal. We would have preferred to have a place to hide the trash can but had no options so we bought a “fancy” trash can that sits out in the open. We chose a small one because that’s what fit in that little space, but we also have a garbage room on our floor so we (read: Braden!) can just run out and put garbage or recycling in there right away. Still to do: install a towel bar on the side of the island (closest to the wall) so we can hang our hand towel and tea towel.
Our TV / seating area is cozy and full of furniture – Braden would say too much! We knew we wanted to have a big comfy sofa to sit on together for TV watching and reading, and much of our existing furniture worked for this space, so we brought it along!
- Stylus sofa-bed – purchased in Canada and shipped over (not many sofa bed options in Hong Kong surprisingly)
- Stone end table from HomeSense – already owned + shipped over
- Rolling Storage Cubes from Home Outfitters – already owned + shipped over
- Delonghi dehumidifier – purchased in Hong Kong
- Antique armchair – already owned and shipped over
- Ikea Besta TV Unit – already owned + shipped over
- TV – already owned + shipped over (and using a converter to plug in)
- Ikea Stockholm cowhide pouf – already owned + shipped over
We love this sweet little spot in our house and also appreciate how functional the storage is. Still to do: purchase a plant for by the TV, look for a long skinny end table for beside the sofa, find a couple of fun throw cushions for the sofa, and replace the window coverings. The big to-do in this room is to hang artwork above the sofa. We have a bunch of pieces to arrange in a grouping, but we need to get a couple photos printed. I really wanted it to be done for this post but I got tired of waiting…so I’ll post a few photos later when that last little project is complete!
If you haven’t sensed the trend yet, I’ll say it again: storage, storage, storage! The only way we were going to make 440 sq ft work was to add considerable storage, and the majority of it is in the bedroom. Our bed hinges up for a huge amount of storage below, especially important for larger items like suitcases, ironing board, etc. We also have lots of clothes that needed a home. So far, our solution is working great.
- Ikea Pax Wardrobe (23″ deep) x3- purchased in Hong Kong
- Ikea Sekken Sliding Doors x 2 – purchased in Hong Kong
- Ikea Vikedal Doors x 1 – purchased in Hong Kong
- Ikea Skubb Storage Bins – purchased in Hong Kong
- Ikea Malm Storage Bed – purchased in Hong Kong
- Mattress – already owned + shipped over
- Lamps from HomeSense – already owned + shipped over
- Eames Molded Plastic Eiffel Base Chair – already owned + shipped over
- Dresser from The Cross – already owned + shipped over
- Mirror from HomeSense – already owned + shipped over
We are feeling so settled in this room, especially now that the mirror and art is up. There is more than enough storage, so things we don’t need to access that often are tucked up on the top shelves of the Pax units in bins that we can easily pull down. Still to do: print a couple photos to display on the bedroom dresser and replace the old window coverings. Thankfully, the ones from the previous tenant are black-out lined so we’re not in a huge rush.
Luckily our bathroom has a reasonable amount of built-in storage. We have shelves behind a sliding mirror above the sink that holds a lot of our day to day items and there’s a cabinet below the sink to store larger items and back-stock (we brought over a LOT of our favourite sunscreen). Still to do: purchase a shower caddie to consolidate our shower products and tidy of the shower window ledge.
Our patio has a view of the mountains and no matter what time – day or night – it’s stinkin’ hot. Braden has a habit of going out at least once a day, looking around for less than a minute, coming back inside and saying, “Wow, it’s hot out there!” Hahaha! We still haven’t gotten used to it yet. It’s not a very big space, and we wouldn’t use it to sit out and relax or eat so there’s not much out there.
- Weber BBQ – already owned + shipped over
- Metal 5′ Ladder – purchased in Hong Kong
We found Braden’s favourite smokies at the grocery store and we’re ready to start grilling! Still to do: find propane and figure out whether any adapters are required to attach it to our North America BBQ.
I hope this little home tour helped to make you feel like you’re right here with us and is the next best thing to stopping in and having a drink with us in person!
Update: we’ve since moved out of these digs into a slightly larger 590 sq ft 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom flat, which you can read about here.