Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Every year I look forward to the furniture show in Milan! Really great design ideas from furniture, to lighting, to kitchens and this year it was special! Why? Because I finally got to see some furniture & kitchen solutions for small spaces.

You see… all furniture trade shows showcase exquisite pieces of furniture but many of them could not even fit through the narrow corridors of many of the condo units built in North America.

However, this year I was impressed by the Kitchen show especially by one company who introduced a really tiny & compact kitchen.

It was a show stopper- could barely take pictures :) as it was always crowded around it.

What I like about this kitchen called Ecocompatta from Veneta Cucine  is not only that is compact but it's also sustainable and good looking :)

It comes in either white or black, but the idea will probably be soon incorporated in different other finishes in some of the very small condos. The concept is that in an open space, the kitchen can literally be hidden and can look more like a piece of furniture rather than a utilitarian space.

Ecocompatta is basically a kitchen module. The main body consists of a work plan with stove and sink and above the dish rack, shelves and remote hood. The complete two sliding doors are designed to house freezer, refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and steam oven, sliding drawers and cabinets and a system for recycling waste.

The principle of sustainability is also expressed through the use of antibacterial materials.

The supporting structure of the kitchen, formed by two elements wired inside to allow the passage of cables, is made of antibacterial laminate, as well as the bottoms of the drawers, the partition walls and the shelves.

The damper is available in the manual and the motorized, operated with a special remote control and once closed the kitchen can blend in your overall living/dining space.

The frame which accommodates the appliances, industrial patents of Venetian cuisine, allows the use of models of appliances already on the market.

The hood, integrated in the central part so as to not be visible, has a flow rate of 800 cubic meters / hour and is operated by remote control.

Few other kitchen manufacturers showcased interesting compact kitchens hidden by large sliding doors. I noticed 2 major trends in the kitchen vignettes showcased in Milan.

- one of kitchens fully integrated-  where appliances and even countertops are hidden behind sliding and retractable doors that basically make the kitchen look like a piece of furniture and so very easy to be integrated within the overall look of your condo space.

Here's a nice example of how kitchen becomes connected with the dining and/or living space adjacent to it. This layout is very common in condo plans and the open space becomes visually more of a living space yet with all functions of kitchen/dining/living.

- 2nd trend is the one represented by large and open kitchens where you see most of everything you have in the kitchen from glasses, plates, herbs- it's almost like a living kitchen.
I think this trend will also be embraced by some developments in the design of larger condo spaces or for a house with a contemporary and lofty look.
It is more of a messy look(as some would call it) but it sure has its charm and the casual look gives more of an understated look very suitable for families who want to prepare meals and enjoy the good food and the good wine with friends around the kitchen island.

One other feature that caught my eye is the cabinet doors finished to resemble a cement or concrete look, continued also on the countertop and backsplash.

A very neutral and cohesive look that basically makes the kitchen visually disappear, but then you can always add a bar counter in a vibrant finish and think of all the small accessories- if they are all within the same color palette the overall look could be pretty cool!!
So if you're renovating your old condo or a new house you have recently purchased think of incorporating some of the latest kitchen trends, I believe they are here to stay!