Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


If every piece of furniture in your condo is multifunctional, you could live in a 500 sq.ft condo one bedroom and feel like you live in a 2 bedroom unit! because you can have everything you need for a comfortable condo life style.

Many people are choosing not to have formal dining furniture if they don’t entertain at home, so why not creating a comfortable seating area instead of having a dining area and be able to convert the coffee table to a dining table. This is the main advantage of open spaces!

This is what the Lift coffee/dining table does- The hydraulic lift table allows this sleek glass option to transform from coffee table height to dining height at the touch of a lever. A small space friendly option, it provides the owner flexibility without the need for multiple pieces. Not a big fan of stainless steel and glass? There are plenty of solutions, like the wood veneer option from the picture on the right side.

One reader sent her questions regarding her condo space design, one of the most frequent dilemmas is “ the den should be a spare bedroom for guests, however I don’t want the den to have the appearance of a bedroom”.

The solution is: make your den look like a seating/ conversation area, or a family room where you could have a comfortable sofa bed, a coffee table or upholstered ottomans, a shelving unit and the tv, that pull out sofa can become your second bed but Only for when guests come over.

And the trick is to tie in that seating/conversation area furniture with your living room furniture so your living area will appear much larger and the overall open space will have a more cohesive look

When it comes to shelving units, some condo owners prefer to have flexibility and create and recreate their shelving unit based on many factors. Asolo shelving unit- A total of three pieces can be combined for this unit, and can also be used individually.

Using floating box dividers the shelving space can be completely customized to suite the needs of each individual and further allows the unit to be double sided (could function as a room divider). Asolo is available exclusively at casalife.

If you think about it, many of us don’t spend enough time at home during the day, so the question “what do I need more space for?” is one of the most common among young couples or singles who spend most of their day out and about.
However, when at home we all want to be able to spend time alone as well as entertain family and friends and have all the space for extra bedding, blankets, dinnerware that are only used when we have guests staying over night.

Multifunctional furniture can make a small space feel like a castle!

“We want to show people that once you apply a little ingenuity and know-how, the den is full of options and possibilities.” says Rob Whitfield, owner of casalife.

At every interior design show, there are few companies who catch the visitors like honey catches bees. As designers, we try to understand what people need and come up with design concepts that translate into products that make their life easier. This is how few of us had the opportunity to design multifunctional pieces of furniture that will answer some of the questions one might have about multifunctional furniture in small condos.

What if you have a credenza that has a wine storage incorporated in it, shelving and drawers for storage and can also accomodate a desk unit? From prototype to the final product!

casalife designers cleverly transform a den into sexy computer rooms and sleek home offices that integrate second bedrooms and offer surprising storage options.
“We want to assist people, offering them the chance to become an educated and confident consumer and give them complete reassurance about the best way maximize their space” says Rob Whitfield.

Watch City TV presentation of all custom furniture designs right here!
(all images courtesy of casalife)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The first thing I noticed while travelling in Europe is the abundance of COLOR! From fashion to furniture to lighting and interiors, the infusion of color is so strong it can’t be ignored.

For some people adding paint color to their condo interiors is a real adventure. 

Some designers have been trained to believe in the safe palette of beige on beige with beige accents, and while this combination could create very classic tone on tone interiors, some of us would like to spice it up.

The safest way to add colors in a condo small space is to insert accents of the same color but maybe in different tones, like in this image.

A punch of color is always going to give you a dynamic interior as your eyes will travel from one accessory to another and quickly understand the story behind the design concept.

Another way to add color is to use a focal wall, the wall that should be noticed first upon entering the room.

There are many tools that can help you visualize colors before actually painting, one example if the personal color viewer from Benjamin Moore, click here…

Another great tool is from ICI paints, click here to find out how it works…

Before you start choosing colors, you need to define what color means to you and what is the general feel you are trying to create for a room, make sure to review the 5 tips for choosing paint colors for your condo. Don’t forget that the same color used in two identical condo units with different orientations will look different in the day light!

Thank you for sending your questions about how to choose paint colors! The answers to each question will be detailed in our condo design report (email us at to receive your free copy!).
For now keep in mind these 2 very important factors to consider when selecting paint colors for your condo:

1. Small spaces can be painted in dark colors or light colors! You have to keep in mind that dark walls need light color accessories, artwork and especially lighting placed in front of them though.

2. Find your own source of inspiration, go through interior design magazines and find an image that has the color you’re looking for and use it. You don’t have to use the design concept from that image, just the fact that a color resonates with you is a good enough reason for adding it to your personal living space.

Have you ever wondered what the meaning of color is and what does the color say about you? Color choices represent our emotional side, whether you realize it or not...

Red… is a stimulating color with the strongest emotional response. Different tones of red can have a different impact on your emotions, luscious red is exciting, deep brick reds like terracotta bring warmth and could be an understated classic look, cherry red is romantic and energetic. Red may increase passion, but also aggression, anger, and restlessness.

Orange… brings enthusiasm into a room, orange is fun and youthful. Darker tones of orange like brick orange bring warmth and could be paired with earth tones, lighter tones of orange can be whimsical and it conveys a sense of quickness mind and body. Orange can stimulate your appetite, so knowing which color is the best choice for your kitchen is very important!

Yellow…don’t you always think of sunshine when thinking of yellow? Bright, optimistic and upbeat are the vibrant tones of yellow. There are softer yellows that can be comforting and easy on the eyes, and go well when creating subtle color combinations. Yellow generally combats gloom and fatigue and enhances communication, learning and changes your mood in a second.

Green…is relaxing, soothing, comforting. Green brings a feeling of being in the nature if in soothing earth tones, while darker tones bring a more conservative, traditional look to a room. The color of harmony and control it exudes prosperity and well being. Depending on the tone chosen, you can create a cool fresh mint look so perfect for refreshing and restorative spaces like a bedroom!

Blue… describes loyalty and honesty, the tones of blue sky and blue water denote integrity. Used in bedrooms in a cool blue gray, baby blue or aqua tone will surely create a peaceful, restful and calming interior. Blue hues lower blood pressure, respiration bringing a sense of peace and serenity. Make sure you choose the right tone though! The darker tones could make people’s complexion look grey under certain lighting.

Purple...calls to mind luxury, spirituality, somberness, royalty. Rich tones of purples and violet can be used in rooms with an elegant feel, paired wonderfully with crystals and soft textures, while light tones of lilac and lavender can be romantic and soothing, depending on what colors and textures is combined with.

Any of these colors can be combined with tones of white, black, charcoal, nutty brown and sandy beige tones and can create that special feeling that draws us home wherever we are…

Here’s what retail color experts say about choosing color, watch this video.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Being in Denmark for few days is a real treat for an interior designer! Everything amazed me- from furniture design, home accessories, lighting and fashion design not to mention strolling through some of the oldest streets of Denmark. When it comes to furniture selection, look no further.

I’m sure you’ve seen Danish furniture designs everywhere whether it was an original or a copy. The simple but elegant style that became fashionable in the 1950s has made a comeback.

Denmark is renowned for its outstanding designs. Most people have encountered Danish Design at some time or other, whether it’s Erik Magnussen’s Stelton thermos flask, Arne Jacobsen’s Ant Chair or Hans J. Wegner’s The Chair.

Its pure clean wavy lines, mostly evolved from ergonomics reasons have made Danish furniture so distinguishable.

One good reason why Danish Design is very popular is the workmanship of the products. They always seem to outlast other products in design, detail , and last a very long time. In other words they are a very good value for the money spent as well.

Aside from furniture, watches design and Crystal & Porcelain have made quite an impact on the product design market. Holmegaard crystal and Royal Copenhagen porcelain are household names, known for their beauty and craftsmanship.

And let’s not forget about the famous game Lego- Lego Group is a Danish family-owned company based in Billund, Billund Municipality, Denmark, and best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys.

So... when shopping for furniture, home accessories or lighting for your condo, always consider these 3 simple rules:

1. Buy quality even if you can only afford one item.

2. Buy quality.

3. Buy quality.

I’m so glad I was there! Did you know this Danish furniture store BoConcept had just for a few months the longest sofa in the world? It was topped by Norwegians shortly after though. Watch this!

Friday, April 2, 2010


I do not know about you, but traveling to Europe is one of my favorite trips. To me Europe and North America are so different from many points of view and yet somewhat similar, but one of the things I love the most when traveling to Europe is the buzz of Old central historical areas with truly amazing old architecture, interior design and of course fashion design.
London, Paris, Rome, Prague and many other old European cities have such a charming way of combining old and new and creating a synergetic timeless designs.

Most of my residential clients think they do not know what is their personal design style, but after having our first meeting and discussing their interior design needs and wants, they discover their unique eclectic style.

Personally I think this is a design style that we all evolve two at some point in life, we collect so many beautiful pieces of art, accessories, lighting, furniture etc that are not always matching and that's because when we find a piece of art that we absolutely love, there is an emotional connection, we have two have it because we love it so much, it send us a message and it creates emotion.

Artwork for our living spaces space is not something we buy because it matches the walls color, as the matter of fact some time we match the wall colors to our art collections.
Everytime I am in Europe my main goal is to find all the new buildings that were built in the past year as well as catch up with the latest buzz in fashion design, hotel design and everything else related to interior design and architecture.

I spend my time equally looking for the latest shoes, clothing and accessories trends as well as in light fixtures and furniture design.

If you love the blend of old and new, you may find the eclectic look quite attractive as it adds personality to our spaces and makes them one of cheek.

After walking in London all day, I have so many design ideas that could be used for any space, but especially condo units. Here are the main trends currently popular in European design.

1.When it comes to selecting a style, the word is "MIX" - mix old and new, light and dark, shiny and matte, white, black and color And do it in a way so it does not Confuse someone who walks into the space. What do I mean by that? When you walk into a space for the first time (let's say a small or a large condo space) your eyes will be drawn to the most 3 to 5 important pieces in the room. It could be the color of a wall, a piece of furniture and a light fixture, usually there are few stronger elements that will attract your eye. If each of these pieces are part of the same design language, style, colors, textures, finishes, they will look like they work together and they will bring the rest of the room's elements together, so the entire space will look and feel consistent.

2. LESS IS MORE. We all like to collect items because they represent memories we do not want to let go, however at times it is helpful two let go of some of our past and make space for more present and future. No, you do not have two throw out furniture and artwork, but carefully go through everything present in the room, from books, accessories two throw pillows, slip covers and furniture and select those necessary items. You can easily change old picture frames, throw pillows covers and even reupholster armchair one if you wish two keep them.

3. PERSONALIZE YOUR SPACE. Add something that relates only to you, your life, memories and everything of value to you. You have to agree that life changes people, we change how we dress, how we talk, where we work, but our core remains the same, we constantly keep and add to our core values. Make it a habit that every year you go to the most beautiful memories of the year that just ended and capture it one way or another-It could be a series of photographs that you will frame and place in your home office, or maybe just a New paint color that reminds you of your best holiday you took last year. It does not matter what it is, just pick something and use it in your personal décor of your own space called "home".

For a taste of condo apartments design in London, watch the below movie and get a feel for that infusion of european flair that works for either a penthouse interior design or a small space.

On my way to Denmark...stay tuned!