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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Designs & Tips for Downsizing to Condo Living

It's been forever since I've posted about a client project, so I thought I should spice things up with one of my favourites that is currently ongoing.

My client's B & G are absolutely, hands down, the cutest retired couple you could ever meet. When we first met, they had just recently purchased a condo that was in the end stages of completion in a brand new property development. This meant they were tackling some major downsizing from a large single family home, to an empty 1100 square foot box. With leaving all of their old furniture behind, they are starting this new chapter in their lives with an entirely new set up. And this folks, is where I stepped in.

Click here to see B & G's finished space!

Over the course of their project I was able to narrow down a few key ingredients that should be addressed before you move in to your smaller home, and not swept under the rug. If you're actually aware of the potential issues, you'll be able to tackle them all with some strategic pre-planning. It's game day, people! Let's jump right in.



The underlying theme beneath every condo design plan is sacrifice. If you're an optimist, you can call it compromise. The limited square footage offers no favors, and often leaves new homeowners baffled {who then end up purchasing really tiny furniture that turns their condo into a dollhouse}. You have to lose a majority of the comforts you're used to in a regular home. The bonus of working with a designer? We guide you with making the right sacrifices, or if we're really good, none at all {end of shameless plug}.


Tip #1 - Stay away from "Condo" Size furniture*.

Sounds a bit silly doesn't it? The biggest misconception my clients have about their condos is that they must have tiny, itsy-bitsy furniture in their 'small space'. Wrong. More often than not, you can actually fit a full size sectional and one {sometimes even two!} occasional chairs in your living space. Many condo foot prints these days are just a more efficient shadow of your former living room, without all the dead space. Spend the extra time planning and utilize every single inch of your space!! This will leave you with a room that feels bigger and more spacious.

*For general sized condos on the Westcoast, ranging from 700-1200 sqft. This Tip will obviously not apply to a New Yorker living in a brick box.

Hmm... which option do you think they chose?!


 Seriously guys, a little thought goes a long way. Hold yourself back from impulse buying and create your furniture plan before you purchase anything. Gone are the days of unused living rooms, messy games rooms, and long hallways that hide away the clutter. Nearly every space in your condo will be in full view. And if you want your condo to feel put-together and cohesive, and less like an Antiques Roadshow, you're really going to have to put some effort into your furniture placement, colour scheme, and clutter control.

Tip # 2 - Create a Mood Board.

This could be a board on Pinterest, a pile of magazines full of sticky notes, or a binder filled with clippings and samples.  If you're not artistically inclined, then head on over to Houzz and peruse their Houzz Tours, a compilation of gorgeous home tours of people who've already figured it all out. It's a great way to focus your vision and help you get the job done. I cannot seem to stress this enough, but having a plan eliminates so much unnecessary anxiety!


Tip #  3 - Find your Colour Palette.

Find a colour palette that inspires you, and everything falls into place. Here on the 'Muse, I have a series called Colour Match, where I pull a colour palette from one gorgeous inspiration photo, and provide you colour matches to Benjamin Moore paint swatches. This allows you to actually have those swatches to shop with as you start pulling your room together.

Another great way to get colour inspiration is perusing Design

Downsizing can be an overwhelming process. The more prep-work you do beforehand, the more seamless your transition will be.

Stay tuned for some photos of B & G's space near the end of February!! Here's a sneak peak of their colour palette:

Stay classy,

1 comment:

  1. I loved looking at this post so much. I hope I have the chance to live on the west coast some day it's so beautiful in Vancouver! Also this made me smile "The underlying theme beneath every condo design plan is sacrifice. If you're an optimist, you can call it compromise." :)


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