Kennedy Town in the west end of Hong Kong Island is experiencing a renaissance of late, with garages and 'tong laus' stacked next to hip brunch joints and bars. Located on New Praya and above new Mexican style eatery Chinos, the revitalised Tung Fat Building provides a breath of fresh air amid Hong Kong's usually cramped living spaces.
Victoria Allan, Founder and Managing Director of Habitat Propert
y had chanced upon the building nine years ago. "It looked very run-down even back then. There were no lifts and there was this weird musty smell," she recalls. Needless to say, buying up all 16 flats one after the other was a long and arduous process, with renovations to the building beginning only around four years ago.
The first thing that Allan and Australian-based KPDO Architects
, who was enlisted for this project, set out to do was to knock down the wall which had previously separated the two apartments on each floor and transforming it into a single unit. A spanking new lift was also installed for those who might find the thought of having to climb six flights of stairs after a long work day unbearable.
Accommodating up to four people, each unit ranges from 960 to 1,320 square feet in size and comprises two bedrooms - a bigger one which comes with its own bathroom and a smaller guest room that can double up as a study. The main bathroom is located next to the main entrance. With only a column – “one of the many parts of Tung Fat Building that we wanted to preserve” Allan is quick to emphasise – acting as a divide between the living and dining rooms, the open-plan layout gives the impression that the space is bigger than it is.
A neutral palette is utilised throughout the expansive space, with brass joinery handles and handpicked artworks taking the style creds up a notch. Iron window frames ubiquitous in Hong Kong’s infamous 'tong laus’ were demolished to make way for elegantly curved glass windows through which one could enjoy sweeping views of the Victoria Harbour.
Those who love the outdoors will delight in the top floor loft, where a flight of internal stairs lead to an airy terrace equipped with an electric grill and patio furniture for summer (and winter) soirees.
The reverence to heritage extends to the exterior, with Tung Fat Building's original nameplate being emblazoned above the entrance in Chinese script.