YourHome.ca, Best Laid Plans by Donna Jean MacKinnon, Aug. 1, 2009
Tim’s 615-square-foot condo in Liberty Village is a great starter home, according to interior decorator Sharyn Kastelic. “It’s a cute little place, with an impressive balcony. Tim and his partner are going to have fun decorating and exploring the neighbourhood,” says Kastelic, proprietor of Primed By Design Inc.
Tim plans to build a closet facing the washer-dryer. Kastelic endorses this initiative and advises Tim to line up the new closet with the wall dividing the laundry and kitchen. The closet will define a foyer, create a narrow passage leading to the kitchen and provide much-needed storage. She would also build shelving on the back of the closet, facing the bathroom.
“The addition of this closet also forms a nook for a computer desk between it and the bathroom and leaves the bathroom wall free for art,” Kastelic says.
She observes that the end of the new closet also provides a wall suitable for a tall poster or vertical textile hanging. There’s also an opportunity for art or shelves on the closet wall outside the bedroom.
Before tackling the kitchen, Kastelic encourages Tim to remove all swing doors and replace them with bi-folds. She also urges Tim to do without a bedroom door in order to gain a bit more space and increase the visual flow in the suite.
The kitchen is outfitted with stainless steel appliances. It also appears to have ample overhead cabinets. Kastelic recommends under-cabinet lighting and mirrored tiles for the backsplash. She also advises sacrificing one sink for more counter space.
Kastelic believes the best way to make the kitchen area functional is to construct an island, with a cabinet underneath (one-metre or 39-inches wide), and a 12-inch (30 centimetre) overlap at each end – making the island five-feet long (1.5-metres).
“Orient the island so the cabinet door faces the appliances and one overlap is at the foyer end and the other one opposite,” Kastelic says. “Then Tim can have a stool at each end, for dining a deux.”
Once the island is in place, Tim will end up with a short “wall” for a sofa. Kastelic advises purchasing a sofa with a back just under one-metre (39 inches) tall, and placing it against the island, so it faces a low media cabinet and plasma TV on the bedroom wall. Kastelic would forego a traditional coffee table for a pair of cubes that are useful for eating, extra seating and resting feet. This leaves Tim with just enough room, in the upper left corner, to organize a reading nook comprised of a lounge chair, a round occasional table and a floor lamp. The bedroom can accommodate a queen-sized bed, flanked by a pair of small night tables and wall sconces for reading. There’s also space for a narrow dresser, opposite the bed.
Kastelic suggests a lush carpet with light taupe, grey and cream shades, to “cozy up” and brighten the living room. She also recommends painting the media wall “Silhouette” (Benjamin Moore: Af-655), a warm dark brown, and colour-blocking the rest of the condo walls in lighter tones of taupy-brown. She also advises light upholstery (a shade taken from the rug) and accessorizing it with cushions in the same palette.
This unit faces east, which means all the windows will need sun-screen roller shades for filtering the morning sun. The bedroom could also use lightweight drapes for privacy.
Because proper lighting is essential in a small space, Kastelic encourages Tim to consult experts about installation of track lighting down the middle of the main living space.
Kastelic sees enough room on the spacious balcony for dining and lounging. She recommends building, against the right privacy wall, a long, low bench with a seat that lifts up for storage. She would finish off the bench with pretty seat and back cushions and also set up a coffee table and two chairs.
Note: The Furniture Layout Plan on the right was not included with the original article.