Amazing Design Secrets of The Healthiest Home In Hong Kong
Are you ready for a tour of our amazing Eco Health show flat project? In our last few blog posts we’ve highlighted the WELL Building Standard and its seven concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort & Mind, all essential components for human health and wellbeing. Now we want to show you how all these healthy living elements can be incorporated into a practical home living space by showcasing how we combined them all into our Eco Health Show Flat project, which was completed in collaboration with Vivid Living, a boutique property developer.
We want to demonstrate the essentials of designing a dream space with health at the very forefront of the design process and give you some inspiration of how you could integrate them into your own home. This has consistently been our most popular project, on our website, Pintrest and Houzz so we hope you enjoy the tour!
The Project Begins
Liquid Interiors was delighted to collaborate with Vivid Living on this health and eco focused show flat; for us healthy design is an adaptive response to Hong Kong’s living conditions; as human beings we have learned to survive by adapting our environments to suit our needs. Today the majority of us are left with cities that are highly polluted by toxic gases, light, and noise in existing buildings. To survive we need to create healthier living conditions and lifestyles that enrich the body, mind, spirit and environment.
The show flat is 1,200 sq foot and situated in a commercial building in Shueng Wan, as you can see from these photos quite some imagination was needed at the beginning to envisage the finished space!
These photos were taken just at the beginning of the construction phase when all the existing fixtures and fittings were completely stripped back. The space felt dark and gloomy and some of the views weren’t great!
During demolition we require our contractors to track demolition waste and to divert 50% of all waste from landfill to be reused in some way. We also have rigorous standards to make sure that any building and construction materials brought into the flat during the fit out process had low or zero VOC levels, checking the VOC content in all paints, coatings, adhesives, insulation and flooring. Formaldehyde free wood was used and no other items that might give off chemicals in the form of the gas were permitted.
The Design Process
One of the great advantages of being able to design the complete layout of the apartment from scratch was that the space could be arranged to improve the quality of life within the apartment. This was done by considering the light and aspect from each of the windows to make sure they were used to their best advantage.
For example the nicest views from the flat were reserved for the living areas, this was the space that would be used most in daylight hours when the view would be appreciated and light could stream into the room without being blocked by other buildings. The windows with the view of the brick wall were ideal for the bedroom, which was purely to be used for sleeping.
The rendered floor plan below shows the layout of the rooms along with each feature that relates to health, wellness and eco design.
The largest area was taken by the living, dining and kitchen space, next to that is a study room, guest washroom and master bedroom along with master ensuite. This design made best use of the space and light but also gave scope for a huge number of great wellness and eco features to be packed in.
The interior design vision for the look and feel of the flat was for a stylish yet affordable design with clean lines, a minimal, industrial edge and an aesthetic eco-chic feel with natural materials and sustainable elements taking the lead. This rendering (photo above) was presented to the client during the design phase and clearly demonstrates the design vision.
And here’s the same view in the finished show flat! A really warm, natural, stylish and inviting space was created with great feature and ambient lighting, smart, minimal kitchen space, comfortable seating areas and space for eating together and entertaining friends.
The Living & Dining Area
One of the standout features in the living space is the textured wood ceiling that was created from carefully sourced reclaimed wood from China, this creates an incredibly warm and inviting ambience. The wooden flooring continues the natural feel and was sourced from a well-managed forest (PEFC – Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). The windows capture the natural light and the blinds are sheer, shading the room from excessive sunlight when necessary.
An OxyVital air purification system was installed to deliver purified fresh air throughout the whole flat and the air quality is constantly monitored to enable the occupants to make changes if the air quality lowers.
The whole space also has real time energy management and performance built into the home automation system. This adaptive system uses light, humidity and motion sensors to seamlessly control sun shades, lighting and a/c temperature and relays back energy calculations for real time energy monitoring. This not only automatically creates a comfortable living environment but also reduces energy usage.
Energy saving LED lights were used throughout and ceiling fans were installed to enhance energy efficiency and as a healthy alternative to constant air conditioning; they are also found in the bedroom and study.
The bespoke table was created especially for this project and is a lovely communal zone for eating as a family or for entertaining friends.
The television is concealed behind the automated central panel so that it doesn’t dominate the room and in addition a projector screen can be lowered for watching on a big screen. This wall panelling also provides extra storage and a clutter free environment when the TV is not in use.
A calming niche in the living area has been transformed into an area of focus for meditation, mindfulness and spiritual wellbeing and artwork on the walls, collected by the client, encourages a relationship with the creative arts, promotes creativity and has positive health benefits.
Having a dual use for the space is a key component in this design so this area is designated to be used for exercise; in the corridor there is also a permanent pull up bar for chin ups.
The sofa was chosen for its relaxed vibe and to create an area of comfort, also having large soft areas helps to absorb sound that can reverberate from hard surfaces. All the windows were double glazed to reduce or eliminate noise pollution and to better control the air quality within the space.
The open plan design of the kitchen makes the living and dining areas feel visually larger and more spacious and the kitchen island also acts as a social gathering space. As with the whole property a lot of thought went into designing the kitchen for healthy living, this includes a steamer oven but no microwave to encourage healthy food preparation and a built in carbon water filter to provide purified water and to save space by not having to store water bottles.
Green materials were chosen such as the seamless Technistone kitchen surface, which is made from a blend of high quality quartz and natural raw and recycled materials manufactured with the most recent technologies of mixing and pressing. The surface is bacterial resistant and doesn’t give off any gases such as radon which can be a VOC off-gassed by natural stone surfaces.
The built in cabinets conceal all manner of practical adaptations including a custom juicing station for a Vitamix blender and juicer that can be concealed when not in use. There is also a space set aside for efficient and practical recycling to make this process as easy as possible. Beside the kitchen is a self-watering herb garden and peace lilies that clean the air and provide a biophilic influence.
Sleep quality is a huge priority in bedrooms where a restful environment and peaceful space is essential for winding down to sleep. To help with this the bedroom was orientated to provide the maximum privacy and to shield from light pollution; double glazed windows block the noise from outside for less disturbed sleep.
Circadian lighting is also a vital element that relates to our sleep patterns. Studies have shown that use of dynamic circadian lighting can improve health, wellbeing and human performance, with many studies showing benefits for children. Changing light is the primary trigger for keeping our circadian rhythms on track. You know that good lighting makes you feel better and a sunny day is so much nicer than a grey day. You may know how unpleasant circadian disruption feels; you just probably called it jet lag.
A smart home system was installed to have two settings. In the morning the automatic roller blinds lift and the cool lighting turns on to energize, simulating dawn.
For the evening setting the roller blinds are lowered with 100% black out and the lights dim progressively to a warm and restful color temperature replicating the body’s response to a natural sunset.
The mattress is made from natural latex, which is non-toxic and hypoallergenic and the bedding is 300-thread count 100% organic cotton bed linen to help regulate temperature and minimize allergens.
To promote a clutter free environment extra storage was provided in the floor and the wardrobes were installed with sliding door cabinets on both sides of the bed. The wardrobes also served as sound buffers to the walls on either side. Purified fresh air is circulated to ensure the highest air quality during the sleep cycle.
The bathroom again has a very natural feel with soft warm tones from the wood and a soft grey wall tiles.
Priorities in the bathroom were to save energy and reduce water usage therefore low flow digital faucets and showerhead have his and her settings that can programme temperature settings for increased efficiency and comfort. The wood composite floorboards are an eco material made from recycled plastic and wood chips.
Circadian lighting was installed in all accent areas with a daylight setting with a cool, energizing color temperature and a warm color temperature evening setting.
The solid bamboo cabinet is made from a rapidly renewable material and reflexology rocks have been built into the floor.
The guest washroom has a double flush Toto Neorest toilet with self-washing and self-flushing facility.
The utility room that can be accessed through the guest washroom holds ducting for the air purification system and a Drymaster dehumidification installation that works to reduce humidity to between 30% and 50%, creating a more comfortable environment throughout the flat.
The Study Room
The study area has all the advantages of the rest of the flat with purified air conditioning system and ceiling fan. Sitting at a desk for long hours in incredibly bad for us and so there is an automatic adjustable height work desk for standing work.
When paired with a treadmill this means that working can be combined with light exercise, avoiding the negative health implications of sitting for long periods.
At the end of this project we conducted a complete air flush of the flat, a process that is designed to improve the air quality before occupation, the flush forces fresh air through the building to remove VOC’s and pollutants that may have inadvertently entered the space during the refurbishment.
We loved that we got the opportunity to start to merge two of the largest growing industries; sustainability with health and wellness and that we are part of a movement to start changing the health outcomes of city living. The cumulative effect of all of the special features we put into this particular home is that it will improve the health of anyone who lives there, optimizing wellbeing and encouraging the healthiest of lifestyles.
We hope you’ve enjoyed having a good look around this ground breaking property and seeing all the practical features that can be incorporated to promote health and environmental issues and that it’s inspired you to make some changes in your own home. This project won us the Best of Category Award for Best Green/Sustainable Design from the A&D Awards presented by Perspective Magazine, of which we are still enormously proud.