YourHome.ca, Best Laid Plans by Donna Jean MacKinnon, May 21, 2010
John’s 732-square-foot condominium is on the second storey in a stacked townhouse complex. A 50-ish bachelor, John describes himself as a “decor-challenged” person with traditional taste.
He has a few issues to contend with before his new condo is comfortable, according to certified interior decorator Sharyn Kastelic.
“My major beef is the kitchen. I’m appalled by the location of the washer and dryer,” says Kastelic, owner of Primed By Design Inc. “The builder could just as easily put the laundry in the storage room where the smell of bleach will not mingle with cooking aromas.”
The inaccessible counter corners constitute a waste of space. If the refrigerator and washer and dryer were reversed, John would have an extra 30 inches of counter. And he would gain even more space if he removed one sink.
Kastelic also advises ripping out the breakfast bar, as there’s no room for stools.
Dimness will be another problem. The walls dip in and out and the one living room window will not provide enough natural light for the kitchen, corridor and designated dining area.
Kastelic suggests using the alcove for dining and installing a padded bench for two under the window. A 42-inch-round glass table and a pair of low back (not to block the light) chairs facing the window would work best. Kastelic would centre a chandelier above the table and, on the closet wall, hang a tall mirror so that it bounces around some light.
The small foyer closet (under four feet wide) will hardly take a couple of winter coats, according to Kastelic.
“Nothing can be done about this, but John can dress up the entrance with a classy overhead fixture and that’s about it,” she says.
A 78-inch-long sofa will fit against the right wall. There’s also space for a club chair, with its back to the kitchen, and an end table between the sofa and chair. John can complete this grouping with a small coffee table.
“Over the sofa, I’d like to see four framed architectural pictures – two over two,” Kastelic says. “I’d also install recessed or track lighting to highlight the art.”
This leaves the left wall for a media unit or, better yet, a pop-up TV cabinet operated by remote control. When the TV is emerged in this style of wooden unit, the cabinet looks like a buffet and is very handy for serving food and drinks.
Kastelic observes there is a rule-of-thumb for the size of a television, based on the ideal viewing distance from your sofa to screen (see www.cnet.com/hdtv-viewing-distance). In John’s case, he can handle approximately 50 inches, measured on the diagonal. John plans to use the second bedroom as an office and has a huge nine-foot-wide sectional unit destined for this room. A piece that size is unrealistic in that space, according to Kastelic. She urges John to invest in custom-built shelves and cabinets.
“I’d choose a black laminate and create a seven-foot-long work surface, supported at each end by a filing cabinet. I’d also buy a snazzy black ergonomic work chair,” she says.
The left wall will accommodate bookcases — but no higher than 40 inches so they don’t block the precious light. Kastelic suggests lowering the wall between the office and living room by 18 inches. This will allow air and light to flow, freely, and create an illusion of spaciousness.
The master bedroom will take a queen-sized bed, with the headboard against the exterior wall, and one night table on the closet side. There’s just enough space to park a large plant or small boudoir chair in the upper right corner.
If John wants to add a classy touch, Kastelic recommends a trip to a decorating centre for crown moulding. This even comes in plastic and can be pre-painted and then glued to the wall. John could also add trim to his doors to create “paneling” and, if his walls are higher than eight feet, install wainscoting.
John has chosen oyster wall-to-wall carpeting and light kitchen cabinets — both good choices. The kitchen would also benefit from a mirrored or reflective glass backsplash, according to Kastelic.
She suggests painting all the walls Soft White (Para Paint-P1831-4) or Malpeque, a buff beige (Para Paint P2615-4).
Kastelic also recommends a navy velvet sofa, a look that is masculine and traditional. She would keep to a navy and white scheme throughout the condo and dress up the windows with valances, in a navy and white print.
“I’d also use beige and dashes of rusty orange for accessories, linens and cushions. And have white wooden shades on the windows or, alternatively, Sunglow roller shades in a linen texture,” Kastelic says.
Lastly, she urges John to change all closet doors to space-saving bi-folds.
Note: The Furniture Layout Plan on the right was not included with the original article.