Erica Young is a Sassy girl with a passion for interior design and organization – her 450 square foot Mong Kok apartment has been entered into Apartment Therapy’s “Smallest Coolest Apartment of 2011” competition, and we’d love to help her bring it home for Hong Kong! Here she tells us about her decoration inspiration and how she uses Airbnb to help her apartment make money for her while she vacations…
What do you like best about living in Mong Kok?
Living in Mong Kok is fantastic because it is so accessible. Not only am I walking distance to great shopping and award-winning dim sum (Tim Ho Wun), but I am close to three MTR lines and countless buses. This makes it quick and easy to get out to Sai Kung on weekends for hiking and home from the island any time day or night for no more than HK$15.
Tell us a bit about your apartment…
The apartment is in an 1970’s walk up with air conditioners hanging off it, so the contrast between inside and out is dramatic. It’s been so much fun to incorporate and repurpose Hong Kong elements to decorate the space. The red plastic pendant lamps are ubiquitous here, as is the woven plaid I use for curtains in the kitchen. The birdcage lamp above the dining table is handmade. Now I’m constantly looking at common Hong Kong items and brainstorming ways I can use them creatively in my home.
What is your top tip on how to design for small spaces?
I am in no way an expert, but I find that chosing furniture that is the appropriate scale for a space makes a huge difference. When every cm counts, pieces that do the job in a smaller footprint are ideal. Not only do they take up less space, but they tend to make the room look larger and less cluttered. For example, I wouldn’t buy a couch with thick arms – instead I would look for one that maximizes the seating area.
What is your favorite part about being a part of Airbnb?
For me it’s a toss up between the interesting people I have the opportunity to meet and the financial freedom it offers me. I’ve hosted a start-up CEO, a volunteer working in Afghanistan, a commercial salmon fisherman, and even a professional swing dancer. When I go on vacation I don’t feel guilty because I’m not paying rent at home while away. It allows me to do a lot of things that would otherwise be out of reach.
What is your go-to store for picking up housewares?
Muji. I used to joke that it was one of the reasons I moved to HK in the first place. Their products are both functional and beautiful and almost always a delight to use. When you consider the quality of the materials and the how timeless the items are, they’re one of the best values in town.
Any suggestions on maximizing closet or organization space in Hong Kong?
A well-edited collection of stuff is a great place to start. If you haven’t used it in the last year, it probably shouldn’t be taking up space in your apartment. That being said, needing storage is inevitable and it helps to buy furniture that can do double duty or that takes advantage of the space you do have (such as high ceilings). My mom drilled it into my head that everything should have a home, so I can be a bit meticulous about that.