Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Small Condo Spaces

Let’s clarify one thing from the start- there is nothing wrong with small spaces. In fact, there are many large condo spaces that lack human scale and there are plenty of small spaces that make the best use of space. Floor space as square footage is not the only factor that is taken into consideration when trying to make the best use of any space.

It is the 3 dimensional aspects that buyers should consider. I have met with lots of clients who requested my advice prior to buying a condo and after going to several sales centres we sat down to discuss each floor plan. The only thing that they were considering is the square footage and price per sq.ft. While this is probably one of the most important factors to consider when making your investment, there are several other factors that need to be addressed prior to. Because when it comes to small spaces, everything needs to be functional.

With a smart design approach, a very small bedroom can be intimate and restful and a small kitchen can produce great meals.

Form follows function- as famous American architect Louis Henri Sullivan stated in the early 1900s (his actual words: “form ever follows function”). And this is especially true when you apply it to working with small spaces. If you first focus on how you want to use each room, other considerations such as layout, furniture, lighting, colors fall easily into place.

Simply put, once you establish the function everything else will follow. Just to give few examples- if you enjoy cooking than kitchen is not just a place to prepare a quick meal it could become the focal point of the entire space. Most small places are open concept, so the kitchen can be that spot where you can cook, entertain, where you can watch tv while cooking, have few drinks with friends- in other words choose a layout that has one of the best kitchen layouts. If cooking is a hobby, state of the art appliances and trendy & functional finishes are necessary- think stain free countertop, easy to clean kitchen doors and backsplash, plenty of storage for all gadgets and utensils.

Think about your lifestyle for a second: do you spend a lot of time at home, if so which room will you spend most of your time in? Do you entertain at home? Are great views mandatory for your lifestyle? Is your sleep affected by the city noises? (consider streets traffic and light pollution and even the proximity to the garbage chute and elevator lobby on your floor).

If you live in a 550 sq.ft. condo and you think it's a small space, think again :)
Here is one great example of a very small space design based on function- 344sq.ft.

Mr. Chang, an architect, can impose 24 different layouts that on his 344-square-foot apartment, which he renovated last year. What appears to be an open-plan studio actually contains many rooms, because of sliding wall units, fold-down tables and chairs, and the habitual kinesis of a resident in a small space. As Mr. Chang put it, “I glide around.” Using shifting wall units suspended from steel tracks bolted into the ceiling, the apartment becomes all manner of spaces — kitchen, library, laundry room, dressing room, a lounge with a hammock, an enclosed dining area and a wet bar.

Check out Virginia Gardiner’s article published in The New York Times.
24 Rooms Tucked Into One

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