THE URBAN LIVING ROOM
Creating space where there was none
To create a more spacious and more homy feeling in this tiny 1970's urban condo.
The 1970's was not they heyday of home construction. Downtown residential buildings were designed to fit as many as possible on one plot of land at the expense of interior space.
Storage space will always be a problem in a small home. In the entry hall, we took a chunk of the coat closet to create a pantry for kitchen overstock.
The boring, plain doors were given a new lease by adding some simple trim work and giving it a "shoji" screen look.
This home's living/dining room combination features three large windows that allow light and air to permeate the space. They are also the first line of defense in helping to make any small space feel larger.
Using top-down/bottom-up window shades helps to assure privacy in this urban first floor condo.
A wood-burning fireplace says nothing if it doesn't scream "homey".
Throughout the space, I used muted colours and soft, comfortable textures to capitalize on the large windows and making the overall space feel larger than it really is.
The Befores and Afters
Like every other one of its era, this typical early 1970's townhouse feaured all the telltale signs of a dated kitchen, including medium oak cabinets, builder's grade paint, counter tops and flooring, and all the characterless walls and mouldings.
Because of its proximity to the main access door, the counter space on the kitchen side of the wall had become a catch-all, making it totally impractical for any other use.
This kitchen was tired and outdated, but more importantly, it was dark, cluttered and inefficient, and the appliances were outdated. The space certainly did not inspire creativity.
By opening the wall and creating an eat-at counter and workspace, the efficiency of the kitchen is dramatically improved. The new counter houses both the dishwasher and waste/recycling centre, plus an area for trays and baking sheets.
Transformed into a bright, spacious space with a much more efficient layout that includes adding counter space to the right of the stove.
The counter space at the entrance to the kitchen was always a catch-all and the wall separating the entry door from the kitchen kept the space feeling crammed and blocked sunlight from permeating the space.
With the wall removed, the counter becomes a breakfast bar (and the dishwasher is relocated freeing up cabinet space). Overall, the kitchen is now much more easily accessible from the entry hall.
The corner counter space was rarely used, and had become a repository for appliances and kitchen accessories.
A bank of drawers, a better access to lower cupboards and removing the corner unit allowed an almost unused corner of this kitchen to become the main food preparation area.
Fully-accessible bathroom design
BRIEF: To create a wheelchair-accessible bathroom in a newly-built basement room.
It was important that this room not appear institutional or old-fashioned.
It was imperative to use fittings and fixtures that were easy to use for both the owner and caregiver.
Features of this room include a curbless shower, allowing the wheelchair to be rolled in unobstructed and a sink that allows the user to access while sitting.
Other features include a penny tile floor to reduce any possibilities of slipping, motion detector lighting, a "touch-tap" faucet and luxurious Carrera marble.
PROPOSED INTEGRATED WHEELCHAIR RAMP
(Currently under construction) The design incorporates a stair access within a wheelchair ramp.
The elegant circular design is less intrusive on the landscape and incorporates beautifully into the newly-built home.
An assymtrically-placed fireplace was installed in the early 1980's, quite out of sync with this "international style" home.
Accessories ike the stereo system and a wine rack made the overall look appear dishevelled.
(Clockwise) (1) The original fireplace, (2) wires detail, (3) Proposed design, (4) Costruction drawing.
LEFT: The final product, integrating all the elements including, a shelving bay for the stereo system and a wine rack.
The fireplace insert is the original, brought up-to-date by painting the brass trim with a heat-resistant matte black paint.
HAIR SALON, HELL'S KITCHEN, NYC