YourHome.ca, Best Laid Plans by Donna Jean MacKinnon, Nov. 18, 2011
The good news is Audra’s new condo has nine-foot ceilings, a feature that will make the place seem bigger. But there are challenges here, according to interior decorator Sharyn Kastelic. “The windows are narrow and natural light does not penetrate to the front of the suite. Also the living room is like Grand Central station with openings in all four directions,” says Kastelic, owner of Primed by Design Inc. She advises opening up this suite, starting at the front door. Kastelic would remove the entire structure of the hall closet and the wall, opposite the closet (right of sink counter). She would also tear down the wall separating the den and kitchen. Then Audra could install a storage and shelf unit, all along the left side of the den, taking care to line it up with the refrigerator. These innovations will allow light to flow into the den and foyer and improve traffic flow. Audra is lacking storage, so Kastelic advises dividing the new unit into a pantry, a coat closet and cupboards for things like cleaning equipment. This leaves Audra room for a desk, facing the exterior wall, in the niche left by the closet. Audra has the option of building shelves above the desk. Now that the foyer and den are one open-concept space, Kastelic advises unifying it, with the rest of the suite, by foregoing the tile and installing the same (light-stained) hardwood flooring as in the living room. Another trick Audra can use to visually unify her living area is to add classy crown moulding, all around the ceilings. The foyer would also benefit from a sparkling crystal chandelier.
Kastelic wonders, yet again, why a builder would install two sinks in tiny a kitchen when there’s insufficient counter space. Anyway, Audra indicates she intends to install glass doors on the cupboards above the sink — a plan Kastelic endorses.
The dining area will accommodate a 48-inch (122 centimeter) round table and four chairs. A chandelier over the dining table and a large mirror with a punchy decorative frame, on the left wall, will add a note of elegance and also draw in extra light. Audra could set up two narrow shelving units, for knick-knacks, on either side of the window. There’s room for a six-foot sofa against the living room wall and also for two comfortable upholstered chairs with their backs to the sliding doors. Audra can also have an end table, with a lamp, in the right corner and centre a coffee table in front of the seating. Finishing off this set-up with an area rug (6’ x 9’) would define the space and also create a cozy ambience. Track lighting, aimed at a dramatic art work, above the sofa, would also help lighten up this condo. The breakfast bar is a useless affectation, here, simply because there’s not enough room for stools. Instead Kastelic urges Audra to use the 42-inches of space, under the bar, for her television. This will require building out the bar another four inches, to 16 inches. Once this is done, the components can rest in front of the backsplash. This living area is so small, Audra will have no trouble viewing the TV from her sofa, Kastelic says.Due to bad planning, there’s wasted space here — namely the entrance to the bedroom, laundry and bath, and the tiny balcony. “The balcony is really too small to use. Audra has paid good money for that space that would have been better used to enlarge the living room,” Kastelic says.
The bedroom can handle a double or queen-sized bed, with the headboard against the right wall. There’s also space for a pair of small nightstands, with drawers. And that’s it. Kastelic recommends looking for a campaign-style bed, with drawers underneath, and building shelves above this bed.
In order to add architectural interest here, Kastelic suggests colour blocking the living room wall and the exterior den wall (beside the door) with a bold brassy colour or wallpaper with a big jazzy print.
“I’d paint everything else off-white including the door frames and kitchen cabinets,” she says. “Simple Hunter Douglas Luminettes will suffice for the windows and balcony sliders.”
Note: The Furniture Layout Plan on the right was not included with the original article.