Embrace your space, no matter the challenges
We’ve all been witness to the ongoing condo boom in Toronto, and now this popular housing class is moving into the suburbs. Every time you turn around, it seems, another large, new condo building appears. However, not all of us are owners of these modern builds, with their soaring ceilings and large windows. Many condo-dwellers reside in buildings that are 20 to 30 years old. They don’t have 10-ft. ceilings, or open concept floorplans with integrated kitchens. Instead, many of these older spaces lack some of the architectural features of today’s builds and, in fact, often pose design challenges for us.
One such condo came our way last year. Our client had resided in her large, uptown Toronto unit for more than 20 years. She loved her home, but knew it was time for an update. The condo itself was spacious, more than 2,000 sq. ft., with a large wrap-around terrace. But there were significant challenges that arose when it came to a design. Though the footprint was large, it was oddly shaped, creating issues for space planning. It had a beautiful amount of natural light in some areas, and others – such as the entrance – felt dark and cavernous. The greater challenge, though, was the multitude of dated glass block walls, which could not be removed.
We addressed the issues one by one, and when it came time to the issue of the glass walls, we embraced this initially overwhelming feature, and garnered inspiration from the pattern and texture of the glass block. By introducing more pattern and texture to the space, the glass block began to feel more at home and a little more current.
We also had to work with the lighting within the space. Relocating or adding lighting in a condo can often be an impossible task, but there are ways to address this, as well, when you get creative and work with a good electrician.
We went one step further to help our client embrace her new space, and refurbished many of her personal belongings. From artwork to furniture to small mementos collected over the years that meant so much to her, all the items that were transitioning to the “new” condo received a face-lift of their own. Artwork was reframed to reflect a more contemporary look; furniture was upholstered; and family heirlooms received a place of honour. Where possible, we upcycled, as opposed to buying new. This enabled us to create a completely new and upscale environment that still felt like home.
In the end, this condo received a new lease on life. It transitioned from being an outdated space to a large, bright, airy and welcoming home for our client. It not only reflects our client’s personality and living style, but it has now become a condo with its own great features that can compete in the world of the new condo builds.
Linda Mazur is an award-winning, nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.
With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.