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