Ten minutes with… Victoria Allan
Going against Hong Kong conventions, Victoria Allan, founder of Habitat Property, firstly bought up all the various components of an original 1960s waterfront Tong Lau in Kennedy Town before transforming it into 8 New York loft-style apartments. Victoria saw the potential of the aged Tung Fat Building building with its interesting floor-space and engaged Australian firm KPDO Architects to realise her vision of a calming and restful luxury living environment.
Now completed and available to rent, LOFT spoke to Victoria about her highs and lows of the incredible transformation.
How did you begin tackling the daunting task of completely transforming this 9-storey building?
It became obvious early on that it was best to break the building down into smaller more manageable steps in order to work with the relevant government departments as well as our own team of designers, APs, contractors, engineers etc.
In particular, I was keen to maintain the original features to preserve a piece of Hong Kong heritage while also injecting contemporary design into the open plan living space. We kept the original terrazzo staircase and also the original name of the building in Chinese characters still remains.
What is different about this development compared to other residential towers that are prevalent across the city?
What I was looking to offer was an alternative living space to that offered by high-rise apartment blocks. This particular development of the Tung Fat Building saw me convert a heritage building into a more contemporary design focused space. Most large cities offer a range of styles of housing in which to live, and I think this is something HK lacks.
What’s the concept behind the interior design?
I wanted it to be simple and elegant, yet with a strong design style. I worked with KPDO on the interiors specifically as they understood my creative vision. As I was planning to rent the units out, I didn’t want the space to be over bearing from the design perspective, I wanted tenants to be able to move into the space and add their own personality through furniture and art.
Can you describe this development in three words?
Heritage, design, calm
What’s your favorite feature of the apartments?
I love the open plan living space and its connection to the outside. We dropped the windows to allow us to view the sea from the breakfast table, while sitting down.
What was your original attraction towards this building?
The building is a very typical Tung Lau building and it had a charming curve on the building that we retained as well as original terrazzo features.
What do you think is so exciting about Kennedy Town?
Kennedy town is a fantastic neighborhood with a strong community feel. There are still many original retailers and local restaurants as well as a mix of new more western style restaurants and bars. Its proximity to the water also gives it a unique feel.
If you could do it all again, is there anything you would change about this project?
The project took longer than we had originally expected but I am really happy with the way it has turned out and was lucky that I worked with a great team of people to make this possible.