Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Monday, May 31, 2010


This may be just for the ladies…how can you not notice all the design details in every equence of the Sex and the City 2? If you’re looking for interior design trends and inspirational spaces, go see the movie! It’s all in the details…the colors, patterns, textures, lighting, furniture, fashion, artwork everything is so design forward!
As seen in Elle Décor, Photographer: Craig Blankenhorn captured some of the best images from the SATC2.
Sex and the City Movie Set Design – Movie Set Design

Here are my main 5 design take away tips and ideas that can be used for small and large condo spaces:

1. Wallpaper- looking for a wall accent to create big drama in a small space? Wallpaper is the answer. You can add color, pattern, texture, sparkle and create that Wow look! Always consider adding artificial lighting close to the wallpaper for a different look from morning to evening. Texture and pattern rich spaces are IN.

2. Artwork- large & colorful they make a bold statement. When placing art on the wall behind the sofa there should be a dialogue between the size and the color of the two. SJP’s old apartment showcases a wall of art- all different sizes, placed either horizontally or vertically but what’s important is that all fames work together and create a unique art collection that emphasizes the height of the space by being aligned with the width of the headboard.

3. SJP playfulness and fabulous style is inspiring her fashion and furniture choices. When designing your condo, take a look at your wardrobe- find your own style and have fun with it! When shopping for furniture and furnishings we tend to gravitate towards our own personal fashion styles in either colors, patterns, textures or just the overall look.

4. Mix and match- nothing is matchy matchy, it seems that eclectic design is best when rules don’t exist and yet everything goes together- that’s where you have to put all interior design books on the side and have fun designing your space!

5. When on vacation find your design inspiration! get design ideas from every place you visit, from hotel rooms to restaurants, lounges, patios, every single space can show you design tips if you look around you. Make your holiday a true retreat by choosing hotels where you find the interiors that will inspire you to design your own condo. There are so many amazing designed spaces all over the world, so pick a place where you can check out all the details- Yes, it’s all in the details!

Click here to see Elle Decor's Stylish Interiors from "Sex and the City 2".

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Kitchen is a space to nurture health, it is a space to celebrate and entertain, it is an area that can become the heart of your entire open condo space. Kitchens are an integral part of the overall condo space design, so make sure when buying a condo you pay attention to all the finishes and details of the kitchen.

Apparently many of us spend our evenings mostly in the kitchen or at the kitchen bar area- this should be a good enough reason to analyze all finishes and most importantly the functionality of your kitchen.

The days when a kitchen was the size of two rooms are over. Instead today’s kitchens, especially condo kitchens are better conceived and use space efficiently. More than ever the kitchen is the gathering space of the home, but the space has been reconfigured so that the actual functioning part is smaller and the rest of it may be a combined living room/den or dining space.

The layout of your kitchen is one of the most important parts of a condo open space design. Many of our readers are asking this question: “ I have a linear kitchen but no place for a dining table, how can I create a dining area?” This sleek kitchen image from Arclinea solves the problem.

When it comes to small condo spaces, the kitchen is where we go to cook, eat, entertain, and even do homework. It’s a receptacle for all sorts of things.

If you are trying to choose the right layout and design for your condo, look at the kitchen design as the generator of the look of your space. That's where you can start cooking all your design ideas and keep in mind that nothing makes your kitchen more valuable than the appliances. In an open space, the kitchen has too many design elements that cannot be ignored when designing the rest of the condo space.

This Vancouver condo kitchen is indeed the core of the entire open space, you can prepare meals, entertain, great traffic path all around the kitchen, with the right selection of finishes this can be the jewel of the space. The gallery created behind the kitchen cabinetry can be a great space for showcasing art and playing with lighting!

This New York condo kitchen, also a linear design but tucked at right at the end of the open space serves not only as a kitchen and entertaining area, but once you close the cabinets with the moveable wall panels the entire kitchen dissapears and becomes just a background which has a lot of design potential, from mirrored textures, to wood finishes or lacquered textures.

This condo loft space located in Los Angeles has, like any loft, the advantage of heights and perhaps unique interior elements that become the visual attraction of the open space. This kitchen's got nothing to hide- fully open to the rest of the space, can work perfectly with a moveable island that can have multifunctions and serve as a cooking island, breakfast and dining area! Considering the height of the space, when it comes to the height of the upper cabinets, the ceiling is the limit. And while the top cabinets or open shelving are not that handy when preparing meals, they could be designed to set the tone for the look & feel of the entire space. Think of accessories display, lighting, even art!

Are you building a new kitchen or perhaps renovating one?

At his upstate New York home, known as the e-House, architect Michael McDonough is conducting an ongoing experiment in ecological awareness. In this video Michael takes us on a tour of his kitchen, the heart of any family home. Watch the intelligent kitchen- the e-house.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010


If you still have doubts about being able to build green, it's time to read this!

The Gimnasio Ecológico Lumen is an outdoor gym made of natural products. Branches and roughly cut wood make up the frame of most of the machines, and weights are improvised from recycled containers. The gym, based in Valdespino de Somoza, was built in 2005 and includes parts salvaged from bicycles and boats. Here are some of the ideas our gym creator had...

“I made this work of totally artisan form: nothing electrical nor mechanic. My tools were the hammer, the axe, the large drills, the mountain range and the tip, in addition to my humble knowledge as professor of Physical education. “

This peculiar gymnasium, that was born of the nature, will return to her, Mother NATURE.

Want to see all pieces of equipment? Click here for a full presentation.

And...there is always another way. This gym would be a perfect fit for all green condos!

PEOPLE'S POWER GYM - the first green microgym!

"Much of our gym is already retrofitted to send electricity back to the building, and yours can be too!"

The Green Microgym provides a comfortable and effective workout space that also strives to be self-sustaining. They have developed an environment wherein we can reduce our total carbon emissions by 60% while still maintaining a first-rate, state-of-the-art gym facility that provides our members with a great workout experience. Big results. Small footprint.

"The most unique thing about our gym is that the actual energy of the members helps power the building"


Monday, May 3, 2010


Like people have different personalities, so do spaces. Some people are open and communicative, some are more reserved and wait to be discovered. Some like bright paint colors, some like neutral tones. Some love entertaining at home, some prefer to keep their home space personal. Some love to change the colors every year, some can enjoy the same design for several years. Some like neat spaces, some don’t care where things are as long as they can find them. And believe it or not, as designers we can sometimes walk into a space and define the person that lives there!

So why not define yourself first.

How are you most of the time? Are you a social butterfly or are you more private?

One is not better than the other, more desirable or less desirable, they are just simply different.

Homes are tremendously personal spaces.

Working on your living space is similar to working on yourself, you always have to fine tune it, but as long as the base elements are there the rest is easy.
If there is one most important factor that every person should consider when decorating their space is that Interior spaces have a direct impact on creating emotions. And emotions are the generator of our actions!

Here are few questions that will help you first understand your current space or your desired space, write this down:

1- What are the main 3 physical features you would like to see in your space- it could be the size of the space- large or small, the orientation, the location, the height, the openess. Or if you already moved in, write down what do you see first when walking into your space? Is it the sun light, the ceiling height etc.

2- What style would you like for your space? You could say “My style is modern interiors informed by a classic perspective” or “I like understated, calm, natural interiors that help ease the stress of a busy day” or “I like rooms that are elegant, streamlined, eclectic and soulful” or “I like dynamic spaces that lift you up and energize you”.

3- When it comes to furniture, describe what you would like to have in your favorite room. Write down what do you need and why and what do you want and why.

4- How do you define colors? Choose a category: cold or warm, pale or bright, safe or bold. Experimenting with color can make a world of difference in your condo.

5- What would you choose when it comes to selecting what stays and what goes?

Old or new or a mix? And most importantly explain “why”. Are you a taker or a giver- what do I mean by that? Do you like to keep everything you receive or do you keep only what you need?

There are probably more rules when designing than when cooking! Believe it or not, these two are so similar. It is so important to identify the oil and the water in your design because they will never blend! And actually there are many elements that could be considered water or oil. There are colors that don't always look good together, there are different types of artificial lighting that should not be combined, there are textures that don't feel good when placed in the same space.

The space you live in contains more than your belongings, it also contains energy and emotions. If you are unhappy in your space, one explanation is that the energy inside is blocked.

Learn to let go of past and embrace the present and the future. Start with who you are today when designing your condo space, just taking the design done in your neighbors’ condo may not do much for your space but most importantly may not do anything for your soul.

Don't forget- your Condo Space is all about You!

…and, what a great take on “The three ways that good design makes you happy” by Don Norman, watch it here:

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