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Turn a Cookie-Cutter Condo into a Modern Home with Personality!
Living in compact condo spaces doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Architect Derek Lai from PROP Architect gave us a tour of one of his condo projects in Toronto Queen Wes, featuring clever design solutions to address some of the most common challenges condo owners face.
Adding style and modifying your cookie-cutter condo into a unique space.
When the buyer purchased this two-bedroom two bathroom condo from Tridel a few years ago, he negotiated a clause in the purchase agreement to omit some builder finishes. That allowed him to customize some details after he moved in. He wanted to personalize part of the condo as a live-work space for everyday uses. The architect looked for efficiencies to make the space more functional, particularly storage where it’s often a challenge with compact condo spaces.
Prevent over-designing. Stick to your budget.
The advantage of buying pre-construction gave the buyer plenty of time to lay out the space to the way he wanted. Although he was budget conscious, he also wanted to keep in mind of the resale value in the future. The first step to prevent overdesigning is to have a budget in mind. Scope creep can drive up the cost. The next thing you know, you might have spent more than what you can capture when you sell your condo. During the preliminary budget review, you should include everything on your wish list for feasibility consideration. When the project cost estimate comes back, you can bring down the budget from there. Bringing down the budget can mean substituting the types of finishes or buying readily available furniture instead of designing custom-built units.
Put your wish list and design budget together.
The level of customization often depends on how the original condo space is laid out. Open-concept dining and kitchen allow for custom-built island with a dining table. The kitchen is usually the more expensive part of the space when it comes to renovating. For avid cooks, kitchen workspace planning will be a priority.
Addressing the design problems of typical condo kitchens.
There are 3 types of kitchen layouts we most commonly see: the U-shaped, the island, and the galley kitchen. For example, the U-shaped kitchens have corners that make it a problem for storage. Special hardware can be integrated to maximize space efficiency in those areas.
How to turn a bedroom into a live-work space.
In the video, Derrick turned one of the bedrooms into a multi-purpose space. The room serves as an office by day and a guest bedroom with a built-in murphy bed at other times.
How to make the dining and living space look bigger.
If your condo has an extensive living or dining wall, a feature wall can often make the space feel larger. Derrick added wood paneling along the dining wall as a feature to delineate the space.
How to add and choose lighting for a space.
With open-concept designs in modern living spaces, eating, cooking, and entertaining often occurs all in one space. Lighting design includes customizing the type of light fixtures that offer various levels of lighting, aesthetics, function, and flexibility.
Let the light in.
If your condo is a corner unit, you can consider cutting out an opening on the bedroom wall with a glass lite to let in natural light from the bedroom into the living space.
Remember, the key to turning a cookie-cutter condo into a modern home with personality is to infuse your unique tastes, experiences, and preferences into every design decision. Take your time, be creative, and enjoy the process of creating a space that truly reflects who you are.