HOME DOWNSIZING AT ITS FINEST

Download Article Button

by Lynn Fenwick B.I.D.

DOWNSIZING IS A COMMON STEP in most people's lives. Eventually the kids move out and you find that there isn't the need for all of the space that a growing family needs. Then there is dealing with all of that upkeep! Downsizing can be an exciting change, but is also quite difficult to deal with the sudden lack of space you once had. Moving from a large house to a condo leaves most people with the questions – "where do I place all of my belongings that I've accumulated over the years? How do I maximize a smaller space to feel as spacious as my previous house?" We are always trying to think of unique ways to maximize a client's space to its full potential – in both beauty and functionality. This is a constant, but welcomed challenge for us as interior designers.

Our client Mary, had just downsized to a condo. She found out that Fenwick & Company had partially redesigned the space for the previous owner about 10 years ago. Mary loved the unique kitchen and bathrooms that we had designed so she called on us to finish the project and create her dream condo. She began with the request to refresh the rest of the spaces. She also wanted to finish the lower level of the condo, which at the time was just an open space. Finally, she wanted more storage for her special pieces and other belongings throughout the space, but was unsure about where she could add this due to the open nature of the condo.

Downsizing Home

THE GREAT ROOM
Mary wanted a Great Room for entertaining that would have an elegant feeling and give a "wow" factor as soon as people walked in the door. The first thing visible when you walk into her condo are beautiful ginger maple closet doors with stainless steel inserts. In the background is the view of the unique curved kitchen peninsula with the same finishes. We had designed these two elements for the previous owners. Still in great shape, they did not need to be touched, but the rest of the space needed to be cohesive with this design. The existing fireplace in the Great Room was angled with a TV mounted above. We pushed back this wall as much as we could to expand the space, tiled with a gorgeous sand patterned, polished tile to the ceiling and added a contemporary style ribbon fireplace. This in itself made the space feel more luxurious by bringing attention to the volume of the room.

THE DINING AREA
Mary had many pieces of art that she had collected over the years that she wanted to display in this main area. Since the condo is open and narrow, this was a bit of a challenge. Mary's partner Rob had wanted a TV somewhere in the space so that he could watch TV in the morning while eating breakfast, but Mary didn't want to have a TV on the main floor. With that in mind, we designed a unit that would double as both an entertainment unit and a display unit for her pieces of art. This was especially exciting for Alex of Fenwick and Company to design since multi-purpose pieces are her specialty! We used a combination of white lacquered and ginger stained panels to tie into the cabinetry in the kitchen. Each of these panels had different functions. The top half of the unit is open compartments for Mary's pieces of art. We then designed a compartment for Rob's TV with sliding doors front that can conceal the TV when not in use. The rest of the unit is composed of doors and drawers for additional storage. This was a great solution for Mary because the unit itself looks like a work of art, easily hides the TV, and provides her with extra storage without feeling like it's a hindrance on the space. To finish off this space, we added fresh paint, new elegant light fixtures and modern furniture.

Small House Design

SECOND FLOOR LOFT
Mary wanted her main relaxing area to be on the second floor loft. Here we designed another TV unit, but this was designed with more focus on the large TV. We designed a unit that would float above the floor and would contain storage space for books. All of the doors and drawers were touch latch to keep a clean and consistent look throughout the space. We paired this with big comfortable furniture to create the perfect space to relax.

MASTER BEDROOM
In this condo, the entire third floor is dedicated to the master suite. Originally, we had the opportunity to design the ensuite which still looked great. The rest of the area however, needed a facelift. The walk in closet was very small compared to the massive bedroom area. We extended the closet into the bedroom and maximized all of the closet space we gained. We designed new millwork for hanging and added a storage tower in the middle of one wall with drawers and open shelves. We completed this with a gorgeous light fixture, enhancing the glamorous edge to the room. There was only one main challenge in the bedroom area. There was an awkward short closet on the wall under an angled portion of the ceiling. We decided to embrace this and make it into a unique detail. We built out and panelled the whole wall and added a hidden touch-latch door between a set of these panels. We added shelving on the inside of this closet and dedicated it to storage for her shoes! Who wouldn't love that?!

Smaller Home Interior Design

LOWER LEVEL
The lower level was a blank slate so we wanted to optimize this space to make it livable. We added an office, bathroom, recreational room, and laundry room to complete this space. The bathroom was a bit of a challenge due to the ceiling height changes in the space from ductwork. With a lot of planning, we managed to fit everything in perfectly and create a beautiful and fully functional bathroom. To end it off we added a storage cabinet at the base of the stairs for extra coats, gloves, and anything else that couldn't be stored at the front or back doors.

We understand how downsizing can be a huge adjustment in your life. That is why we approach each project knowing it will be as unique as its owners. We embrace the challenges and opportunities that each renovation brings. Along with creating a space that is beautiful and functional, our objective is always to make our clients' renovations as seamless and fun as possible. When you walk in the door of your newly renovated space we want you to feel like you are truly at home.


Return to Published articles

HOME DOWNSIZING
How to maximize a smaller space to feel as spacious as a previous home!
DESIGNER CHECKLIST
The complete design checklist for anyone renovating or building a new home!
DESIGN MYTHBUSTERS
Decorator or designer, what's the difference and how do you know which you need?