A married couple and child are the residents in this renovation of a 21-year-old condominium unit. The plan concentrates the lavatory, bath, toilet, and kitchen—all plumbing areas—in the middle, and broadly divides the unit into two parts. The view continually expands from entrance to inner quarters for a glowing feel of spaciousness in the living room that connects to the private garden outdoors.
Elevated floors to the left and right of the entrance double the limited floor space. Existing plasterboard was removed from the ceiling to expose the concrete slab, while the space beneath the elevated floors is at ground level for outdoor shoes and storage of outdoor equipment, including a stroller. Adequate height is secured for the floors at an elevation mid-way of the window heights. Thus, the windows can provide natural light and air circulation to both the raised level and ground level. The elevated floors are essentially lofts for sleeping quarters and walled high to form hand railings and shield the spaces from view upon entry to the unit for better privacy. The child’s loft has gentle stairs for safe ascent and descent with recesses under the risers that function as bookshelves. The parents’ loft is reached by going up a few ladder rungs. A bench and desk face the window for optional use as a den. When the child grows up, the lofts can be exchanged, and the desk becomes available for studying.
At central position to everything, the kitchen commands an island counter approachable from both the entrance side and living room side. The island allows several people to move around and work together on meal preparation. The dish cabinets in front of the counter rise higher than the counter top, which is thus not directly visible from the living room. The hallway is raised to provide a path underneath for plumbing, while the living room is lowered for as much ceiling height as possible to provide an open feel.
In an effort to keep renovation costs reasonable, the bath and toilet across from the kitchen kept their existing layout. Their walls are coated floor-to-ceiling with a magnet-friendly chalkboard finish, which permits handwritten messages, date and time reminders, and posting notices with magnets.
The dining and living areas can be used in a continuous fashion with the deck in the private garden. The railing between the original balcony and garden was removed for more openness from deck to garden. The living and dining areas consequently feel larger than their physical sizes. Except for the bath and toilet, the renovation work transformed three separate rooms into one large space. In addition, the two lofts with storage underneath, the varied floor heights, and waist-height counters were designed to render partitions of the space, to block views for privacy, and to broaden visual perception. As a result, family members can find their own comfortable place in the home.
Architect: Key Operation Inc. Architects