When designing a condominium suite, the number one priority is to design for the end-user, to strike that perfect balance in making the space both functional and stylish. In the end, functionality ultimately wins, because if the layout doesn’t work, then fashionable means nothing. Condos today should be treated more like the houses we grew up in – they should be designed to fit our lifestyles in order to be a proper home.
A good example are the projects we design for Streetcar Developments, a developer that prides itself on building lofts and townhomes that cater to the end-user by offering flexible, efficient layouts and contemporary modern design. At Streetcar’s The Taylor in Leslieville and at The Carnaby at Queen West and Gladstone, we go to great lengths from the planning stage to ensure each suite is designed for everyday living.
A great example is light switch placement on walls and how frustrating it can be, once moved in, to discover a light switch is directly in the way of hanging art or mirror space. We work with electrical engineers from the beginning making sure the placement of switches maximizes usable wall space. This is a small detail, but it’s an example that understanding ‘how people actually live’ is key in condo design.
Our design work starts from the very conception of a project, integrating the electrical, plumbing, grilles and ductwork to allow for more compact, streamlined bulkheads. Electrical outlets need to be hidden behind the bed width to conceal side table lamp wires, and outlets should be located behind where the sofa might be located. Ultimately, we see ourselves as champions for the end-users during the planning and building process, helping to make suites more efficient and flexible and life a little less frustrating for the modern urban dweller.
There have also been many significant changes over the last decade impacting condo design, from size, to purchaser, to lifestyle and technology. While the size of most condo suites has decreased, they’ve become much more efficient.
People don’t live in hallways, they never have. Hallways chop up space and take up valuable square-footage. Our layout designs are open concept, where the entire family can interact with each other; whether cooking in the kitchen, entertaining or watching TV. Most people tend to only use the kitchen and family room as their primary living and activity space. We observed that trend and extended this concept into our layout designs, by integrating kitchens with living spaces, and adding usable walkthrough dens instead of dead hallways.
At Seven Haus we have architectural and design teams working on development projects side by side, creating suite layouts by future pacing how people will interact with the space and where furniture and wall art might be placed – that’s how make space more user-friendly.
Once we ensure these behind-the-scenes details are executed we can get to the fun stuff – the décor. There are a few easy tips for purchasers to personalize their space and make their condo suite feel like their home:
- Choose interesting furniture. This can really customize your home and maximize character. Re-upholstering a vintage classic and featuring it in your living room, or putting an antique piece front and centre adds interest and celebrates its one of kind beauty.
- Play with your feature walls – the large walls in the living room or behind the master bed. My advice is to always go big on feature walls. Hanging an over-sized art piece you love or using bold patterned wallpapers and murals can really help claim your space as your own.
- Incorporate different textiles or materials by mixing eclectic accessories and unique finishes. There are many local artisans creating unusual pieces in wood, concrete, resins, metal and stones, and layering your suite interior with these visual interest pieces is a simple way to personalize and create an elegantly composed environment.
Ultimately, we realize condo purchasers react simply to the gut feeling they get when walking into a suite, but having the best bones to start with like Streetcar’s open concept layouts with extended ceilings, large windows, high end finishes and all the little details taken care of for you, sets you off on the right foot from the beginning, helping you envision a home within that space. That has always been our guiding philosophy in every project we design: If we can see ourselves living there, you will also.
Are you ready to update your condo? Take a look at eieihome’s directory of interior design and decor professionals.