SOLVING THE CONDO SPACE CRUNCH CRISIS
SMART SOLUTIONS FOR CONDO DWELLER STORAGE BLUES
Condo dwellers may have more frustration with storage problems than people in houses, because of the limited modifications permitted by condo associations and the fact that additions aren’t possible.
People own only the space inside the structure, with a finite amount of square footage. How to deal with what they have is largely a matter of moving their “stuff” around in a meaningful way.
The 950-square-foot, one- bedroom condo, located on a scenic golf course, was an “interim move” for this active couple. It was to be temporary (amazingly, already three years!) until they constructed their dream cottage up north. Facing a projected two more years there, they knew something had to give – their utilization of very tight space had to be rethought.
The initial appeal of this space was a sunny solarium (A) with a great view.
The kitchen (B), which could accommodate one rather slender person at a time, was not a priority, since they usually dined out or ate on the run.
The dining room (C) housed an unused computer desk, and functioned as access to the kitchen.
Unfortunately, the seldom-used living room (D) had no windows.
The compartmentalized bathroom (E) was tight even for one person.
A regular golfer and racquet ball player, he wanted his equipment handy and ready to go, without having it on display. She had taken over the solarium for her sewing hobby. Their habit was to watch TV in the good-sized bedroom. This was the most used room in the apartment. The perceived problems were lack of storage space, limitations of furniture arrangement and poor lighting.
The first step was to identify why the living room was underutilized (no natural light), and which room was the most inviting (clearly, the solarium). It was agreed to condense the sewing machine and supplies into a sewing cabinet, and that the dining room (C) would be the ideal spot for it. The unit could be moved when they build, returning the space to dining for resale.
This change freed up the solarium, moving the main living toward the sun, an opportunity to live with plants. By removing the wall (F) dividing the solarium and living room, the living room suddenly inherited those desirable windows.
The former living room (D) has a table (G) for dining, games and projects. A low wall to define the entry provides an opportunity for a built-in buffet ledge, with drawers below for linens, games and cards.
The massive TV/storage unit (H) moved into the bedroom, and doors were made to cover the deep shelves for clothing storage; linens are stored on its lower shelves.
In the place this cabinetry occupied in the living room, closets were built (I) for golf clubs and other sports equipment (ready to go), books, periodicals, an ironing board and extra sewing equipment. Shallow shelves line the inside of the doors.
Slight modifications significantly improved the bathroom (E). By swinging the door outward into the hall, we made space for a half-round wallmounted hamper, and we installed two more recessed medicine cabinets next to the existing one. We removed the door dividing the bathroom spaces. The vanity was replaced with a 36-inch-high kitchen cabinet with a deeper sink off to one side and a bank of serious drawers on the other. Halogen lighting and more mirrors brightened this former cave.
All the electric was upgraded, using 4-plex outlets where possible, and generous use of recessed light fixtures on dimmers illuminates once-dark rooms.
MARCIA LYON is a professional remodelling designer and freelance writer, producing projects in the Toronto area and major cities in the U.S. Reach her at 416-201-8867. E-mail Marcia@creatingspaces.net, or visit www.creatingspaces.net