Welcome to the JUST the THING website! Portfolio: Making it Work
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This 600 sq.ft. condo had been the college digs for one of the owners before they moved out of the province. Since then, they have continued to use it quite frequently for business trips, vacation stays, and to accommodate visiting family and friends. Unfortunately, it still looked like a student's crash pad. The owners wanted to turn it into an executive suite, with minimal maintenance and maximum efficiency -- without sacrificing ambience. Since all of their collected inspiration photos featured warm wood tones and contemporary styling, it quickly became apparent what the design direction would be. The more difficult task was to determine how to make this compact apartment function optimally for them. First we would make it work, then we would make it pretty.

Our main focus was the kitchen. Planning a new kitchen in a condo is always a challenge, limited as it is by the fixed locations of the stove outlet, venting system, and plumbing. The old kitchen was poorly laid out, with an angled peninsula that jutted into the main living area. Fortunately, the peninsula wall was easily removable, allowing us to totally rethink the space. First, we extended the partition from the hallway to create a 'niche' for the new layout. Lowering the ceiling here to accommodate recessed lighting had the added benefit of visually separating the kitchen from the rest of the main living space, while remaining totally open to it. We maximized upper cabinetry and added deep drawers to the lower cabinets for enhanced accessibility. Replacing a large double sink with a generous single bowl allowed for increased work surfaces. Since the clients don't live here full time, we were able to downsize appliances without any concern. A dishwasher drawer instead of a full-height unit made room for an extra deep storage drawer below it. Replacing a full-sized refrigerator with a 24" wide counter-depth model allowed us to add a shallow pantry, convenient also to the nearby bedroom, laundry closet, and bath.

To keep furniture and clutter to a minimum, built-in storage cabinetry and multi-functional pieces were specified. High on the clients' wishlist was a contemporary electric fireplace, so cabinetry was designed to fit the model they selected and installed in the former sunroom space. A complementary A/V unit sits below the TV. On the opposite wall, near the entry, a pair of simple built-in cabinets flank what appears to be a console table with bench beneath. But pull the table out, flip up a drop-leaf and voila!: you have a dining table that seats four. Rather than purchasing chairs, a pair of storage stools completes the dining area seating when required. Flip the tops of the stools to the tray side, and they perform double duty as a coffee table in the living room area.

The balance of the renovations were planned to create space or the illusion of space. In the living area, we removed remnants of the wall that formerly defined an enclosed sunroom, instantly making the room seem larger. The hall closet was unnecessarily deep, constricting the entryway: cutting it back several inches allowed for a wider hallway without sacrificing storage. In the bath, the tub was replaced by a glass-enclosed shower, and a new floating vanity expands the floor area.

To further enhance the feeling of spaciousness, we deliberately kept the condo's materials and finishes simple. The clients had a sentimental attachment to their living room sofa and chair, so their mossy green was the starting point of the colour scheme. Walls in the main area were painted a similar green -- minimizing the furniture's bulk while imbuing the space with a soothing restful atmosphere. Blond maple cabinetry harmonizes beautifully with the subtle variations in the carbonized bamboo flooring. For a bit of needed punch, we chose chocolate brown for quartz countertops, backsplash, and on into the accent stone tiles in the bathroom. To complete the look, we carried the deep brown onto the bedroom walls, where the backdrop of luxuriant colour elevates the clients' existing furniture.

Transforming chaos to order, this small space is now a model of clean-lined efficiency -- with warmth.

We invite you to continue exploring our site for design inspiration, then contact us to find out how we can provide 'just the thing' for you!

Also in this Portfolio:

VIEW | A 'NY-Style' Apartment
A Case of Scope Creep
VIEW | Jewel Box Condo
VIEW | A Very Personal Home
Entertaining Adults
VIEW | The Art of Compromise
VIEW | Pulling It Together
VIEW | Classic Modernism
Executive Townhouse
To the Next Level
VIEW | Calm, Cool, and Collected
VIEW | Home Sweet Home
VIEW | Going with the Flow
VIEW | Making it Work
Room with a View
Curated Downsize
VIEW | Downtown Pied-a-Terre
Designed to Sell
VIEW | Condo Kitchen

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JUST the THING specialises in makeovers of fine homes -- large and small -- throughout Toronto and the GTA.
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