Visual trickery

A few subtle, clever modifications have created a feeling of space and openness in this small apartment
Overall view of the kitchen, white benchtops, wooden cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, brown
Overall view of the kitchen, white benchtops, wooden cabinetry and slide out table, polished marble flooring, stainless steel storage unite, fridge, faucetry, sink and appliances, Kitchen Designer: Leong Yinghow (Singapore), AS2017 Home & Apartment.

In cities today, land is often at a premium; as a consequence, apartments tend to be small. Using one or two innovative design tricks allows a good designer to get the best possible value out of the available space.

Designer Leong Yinghow was asked to renovate the kitchen of a very compact apartment. The tiny, U-shaped kitchen was enclosed and separated from the main living area, which was also small.

"To make the most of both the kitchen and living room, visual trickery was called for," says Yinghow.

The designer removed the walls separating the kitchen from the living area, making both spaces appear larger.

Close-up view of the wooden feature wall, Kitchen architecture, cabinetry, ceiling, flooring, furniture, hardwood, interior design, lobby, wood, brown
Close-up view of the wooden feature wall, Kitchen Designer: Leong Yinghow (Singapore), AS2017 Home & Apartment.

"We then used a screen divider to block part of the kitchen so it was not in direct view of the front entrance. To ensure the screen does not dominate the space, it has a window in it," he says.

At 8ft high, the ceilings in the apartment are quite low. To make them look higher, the screen is made from vertical slats of wood.

Because the kitchen is now part of the living area, the space is freed up to be used for a variety of activities. A retractable dining table has been especially designed to give the room extra flexibility. When folded into the island countertop it occupies only 3ft of space. However, a ball-bearing mechanism allows it to be pulled out to become a 6ft-long table for up to eight guests.

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets run the full length of one wall in the kitchen and living area providing storage for a variety of items including up to eight dining chairs.

The living area & table ceiling, floor, interior design, lighting, living room, real estate, room, brown, orange
The living area & table

"In this way, the space becomes very flexible. The owners can have the table fully opened up and ready for a dinner party for eight. Or the table and chairs can be completely away, freeing up the space for a more casual party. Then, the island counter in the kitchen acts as a buffet where food and drinks can be served," says the designer.

Other elements of the design also make the space look larger. A roller door conceals small appliances so the kitchen never looks cluttered, and long, narrow cabinets set higher than usual above the sink make the kitchen look wider. Drawers in the kitchen are extra-wide for the same reason, side cabinets are cantilevered off the wall and island counter is on legs to create a lighter look.

"Cabinetry is in a light-colored veneer with the grain carefully laid on the horizontal to widen the space," says Yinghow.

Aug 23, 2004

Credit list

Quarter-cut oak with polyurethane finish; clear lacquer
DeDietrich Domino induction cooktop
Existing cream marble
Fisher & Paykel
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