15/03/10 – Toronto – Analysis

  • James Murray Scott

    Looking at the interior of each plan is very important. And I’m glad that The Slow Home site will provide more buyers with the tools to evaluate these properties and hopefully help them to avoid a very costly and unsuitable purchase.

    Sitting in my in-law’s yesterday overlooking Toronto I was reflecting on the site and some construction that has been taking place for the past few years. Here are the links: http://www.nxtcondos.com/ http://www.windermerebythelake.com/

    I was amazed by the fact that there is a series of townhouses that will soon be in the shadow of two new condo towers. The problem is that on the web-sites neither of them mentioned that a few of the units would have the luxury of darkness for much of the day or the pleasure of walking out your front door each morning to the view of a tower looming over your head. And the view of the lake from your front window, if you look really, really hard, just between those two buildings and you might catch a glimpse of those wonderful antique sailboats.

    To paraphrase “The Philadelphia Story”, “My, she was yare. Everything a lake view home should be…until she develops dry rot.”

    I suppose what I’m getting at is that much more time needs to be spent addressing the external influences as well.

  • MollyK

    Hello SlowHomers,
    I went back to LA lofts/apts and we’ve come a long way baby with respect to the SlowHome website. I was looking for units with different square footages to compare the kitchen layouts. BUT unless the Slowhomer indicated the square footage there wasn’t an easy way to find it from the post. However, by the time we got to Toronto the square footage was automatically given which makes “thumbing” through the posts much easier. I think that says alot about how this website is evolving!
    Without the square footage at the ready I went hunting in LA anyway. I reviewed kitchens in LA lofts/apartments and found a variety of layouts. This seems to be at odds with the findings in Toronto lofts/apts…on today’s blog, John and Matthew pointed out that the one-wall kitchen layout dominated the floor plans regardless of square footage.
    I’ll have a look at a few lofts/apt buildings I’ve tagged in Dallas and see if there is a pattern. Then I’ll report what I find.

  • Terri

    John and Matthew,
    I enjoyed your detailed analysis of these TO condos. I wanted to interject when you said that you didn’t see the straight-line kitchen in LA units, because the loft unit I chose in LA(The Lofts at Hollywood & Vine) did have a straight kitchen, something I felt detracted from what otherwise seemed like a pretty nice loft plan.

    When we were looking at the over-2500SF homes last week, I got to thinking that we could almost come up with a guideline as to the minimum SF for each room of the house, depending upon total square footage, because so often the plans didn’t change that much from the under-2500SF except that major rooms expanded (especially, it seemed, master suites and their ensuites) or instead of a larger living/dining, we got two moderate or even undersized spaces for living and dining. Maybe with further research we’d find that within a certain price range we can expect X number of rooms in a condo, etc. Those “dens” that in the days before the personal computer were usually just storage closets (I used to live in such an apt.), are obviously marketed as such because the developer is aiming at a particular price bracket.

    I know we don’t want the price to enter into our test, but it seems that it can’t be entirely ignored either. The most economical single family homes tend to be faster, because they are further from the city’s core. If you can afford it though, you might redevelop a lot within the city limits and automatically create a slower home.

  • Jodi J

    - I opted to compare the outdoor environment scores to the size of units and overall Slowhome test fairing for the Toronto condos

    -Looked for correlations between size and overall score TO outdoor score

    -Would have imagined that the largest units, and also the higher scoring units, would have a better outdoor environmental score

    -A few interesting trends:
    o The two largest units looked at  1700 sq ft and 2000 sq ft respectively had the highest outdoor environment scores (as predicted)
    o Where it becomes interesting is that the next largest sizes generally faired at the lowest end of the outdoor scale (bottom 4 of the list)
    o The middle range of the outdoor performance scale was populated primarily by the smallest of the units looked at, with the tiniest unit (400 sq ft) fairing better than it’s 500, 600, 800, etc counterparts

    - The above trends in outdoor score and square footage indicate two shifts:
    o The largest units are able to devote the most amount of square footage to quality exterior space
    o The smallest units, due to sheer limitations in square footage, cannot provide the quality exterior space that a very large unit can
    o The middle range units in size (1200-1600 sq ft) appear to trade off exterior space in an effort to make the jump in interior square footage size

    - There appears to be no correlation between overall score on the Slow Home test and the quality of exterior space when it comes to this particular housing type

  • MollyK

    I went to Dallas and looked at 7 loft/apt sites, and overall there was a nice variety of kitchen layouts. There were less one-wall kitchens and a better mix of L, U, and galley (one-wall with island) designs.
    I even went back to Toronto and went through the posts for loft/apts just to satisfy my curiosity. I think John and Matthew are right that most of the floorplans incorporate the one-wall kitchen design. I really don’t know what that indicates since I’m sure there were plenty of loft/apartment buildings left undiscovered by the Slowhomers.

  • Margo

    I stuck to the Toronto Lofts for my analysis.

    I observed that there is no correlation between slow home score and unit sizes — which, as John said, isn’t rocket science. But considering that this is one of the primary factors that informs a buy, this seems to be pretty significant. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that there is no correlation between unit price and slow home score (I just bet!). In essence, if we agree that slow home score is a measure of home quality, then it’s not the size that counts, rather, the much more subtle details of layout, light, location, etc. I guess this means that home buyers really do need to spend more time doing research before they make that important purchace, and the notion that ‘bigger is better’, is misleading.

  • Matt KB


    Slow Home Analysis: 600sq.ft Toronto Loft’s

    In the slow home data there are three loft projects of nearly identical square footage that received the same score on the slowhome test (16). Since there are only 5 sections (context, outdoor living, kitchens, dining and study) with discrepancies in how the points were scored in the test, and in most case only one would differ from the other two, I’m going to explore if there are any consistent elements that would be required among the three plan that dictate a score of 16 at this scale. For the purpose of this analysis I’m going to focus on the primary functional spaces.

    According to the chart, not surprisingly, there seems to be no consistent strategies for attaining a score of 16 within a 600 sq. ft. loft. although some space have similar characteristics there is always at least one discrepancy between the three solutions. Also important to note is how each unit was scored. Currently they are all a score of 16 and reflect the opinions of the individuals who scored each unit. Personally I would not have scored the units this way. That being said each score is still valid as the opinions of the people who filled them out make them valid.

  • Wayne

    For the purposes of analysis, I decided to look at a cross section of floorplans between 600 and 700 sqft. In total, I looked at six floorplans ranging from the smallest at 618 sqft and the largest being 680 sqft. Interestingly, the increase in size of the floorplans did not correlate with an improved Slowhome score. The smaller units actually seemed to have better Slowhome scores than the larger units. When I actually looked at each floorplan individually, the most apparent observation was that the Slowhomes with the highest scores all had the best flow between spaces. The Slowhomes with the lowest scores all had horrible traffic flow; they all appeared to be a checklist of rooms that were not necessarily connected.
    If you compare the 500 ST unit, which is 618 sqft and received a Slowhome score of 17 to the Ironworks unit, which is 640 sqft and received a Slowhome score of 8, you can really start to see the importance of traffic flow between spaces. The 500 ST plan, although simple, utilizes the simplicity to great advantage to create individual space. The Ironworks plan is equally simple, yet the layout and relationship between spaces is never fully realized. There is no obvious connection between any of the spaces and essentially creates a box with a bunch of other boxes within it.
    The difference seen between these two units is similar in the other units that I looked at. If the Slowhome score was high, there was a logical relationship between spaces to flow from space to space. If the Slowhome score was low, there was no logic to the flow between spaces, but more of a series of checks: kitchen-check, bedroom-check, bathroom-check, living space-check. All of the major components needed for a house were present, just not in respect to one another. The Slowhome scores that end up in the middle were all from plans that almost pulled it off and they lost points where the flow between spaces did not quite work.
    Here is the List of Floorplans I compared:
    500 ST: http://www.500stclair.com/img/pdf/16-20%20Chadwick%201A.pdf
    618 sqft, Slowhome score of 17

    Conservatory Group: http://www.conservatorygroup.com/widesuites_WS623.html
    623 sqft, Slowhome score of 15
    Ironworks: http://www.torontolofts.ca/ironworks_floor_plan01.html
    640 sqft, Slowhome score of 8
    James Cooper Mansion: http://www.tridel.com/jamescoopermansion/p1/1dd_suite.php
    660 sqft, Slowhome score of 14
    Liberty: http://www.liveinliberty.com/park/images/plans/Liberty%20On%20The%20Park%20-%20Elemental.pdf
    635 sqft, Slowhome score of 17
    London: http://www.londoncondos.ca/flash/floorplans/floorplans2/1d.pdf
    680 sqft, Slowhome score 8

  • Sarah W


    Here is my analysis; I looked at bedrooms across different sizes and Slow Home scores (a low and a high score from each of 400 – 1000 sq ft). The results depended largely on whether the unit was on a corner. I apologize for the quality of the jpeg (I couldn’t upload a pdf!).

    Sarah W.

  • Dominique



    I chose to look for trends in the highest scoring Toronto Lofts. I chose to analysis slow lofts scoring 18 points or higher. What was interesting to note, as was been mentioned above, is that there is no relationship between size and score. The one of the highest scoring lofts with nineteen points was 557 square, while a loft three times it’s size (1690 square feet) also scored well earning 18 points.
    A common trend that was very evident was that all the units had a open concept Kitchen-dining-living sequence (in that order). All the Kitchen’s had an island. Perhaps this trend is obvious but, I couldn’t help but wonder if the open Kitchen – dining – living room sequence has a direct relationship with Lofts or if this is a popular preference amongst slow homers. How do we differentiate popular taste from good design? Do we need to?

  • Mid America Mom

    SarahW- I found that floorplan you were missing. It had an extra space in there. http://www.torontolofts.ca/loft154f_fallingbrook209.html


    HI folks- maybe it is just me but how do you see the actual scoring of each test question in toronto? I tried clicking on the actual item in the google map in two places and all I get is the floorplan.

    Mid America Mom

  • Vickie

    Hello Slowhomers!

    I was interested in looking at the similarities in the low scored lofts ( <10 )

    Some common points were:
    - Units having only west facing windows, or excessive amount of west facing windows
    - The shape of the unit was created as a ‘filler’ space (i.e. the corner section of an L shaped condo block)
    - colliding geometry
    - lack of natural light
    - due to the small square footage – difficulty in keeping good circulation and
    - unable to fit both the living room and the dining room

    I was also interested in the similarities within a condo block – to see if only the specific unit scored low, or if all units in the block are designed in the same way.
    In some instances, the style of the building (colliding geometry) is what defined some of the problems. So taking a quick look at other units within the same building, as the size increased, circulation was better, although the same problems mentioned above were still present.

  • Lacey Peter


    I’ve made and attached two graphs visualizing the correlation (or lack there-of) between Home size, total square footage, and the resulting SlowHome score.
    I feel that it’s necessary to aid these types of analytical data with visuals that people can use to draw their own conclusions from, and possibly see something that I perhaps do not.
    From what I can see, the variation of scores is obviously tied to the number of houses scored in that category (based on square footage). Because we had so many in the 600 & 700 Sq. Ft. category, the data can possibly begin to tell us something of that square footage and resulting scores in the same category. I think that even though we’ve SlowHome tested a very high number of homes to date, it’s important that we try to continue to gather enough data for each categorical guideline we set. I.E. We should be looking at the same number of houses for each square footage category, as well as house style, and then further analysis of the scores’ details can be reviewed within the confines of the test with more accuracy.
    I would also like to note that each home should also be tested by a specific number of people, so that the test’s scores can be averaged for each home, taking the median test score, and/or score by question. This would help to begin to define the constant more accurately, and therefore the analysis of these findings can begin to give us information that is more likely true.

    Though this may not speak to specifics of correlations, I think that in order to properly assess our ‘findings’ these measures could be taken into account as a ‘first step’ towards more accurate information.

    Thank you,