Part 1 – 1130 sqft condo, Vancouver

1130 sqft condo, Vancouver (PDF)
1130 sqft condo, Vancouver (JPEG)

  • James Scott

    Without exuberance how would one enjoy life?!

    With the sizing of the master bedroom window as an example you can see the influence of the 70′s and 80′s style.


    1) too much going on regarding storage. The second bedroom closet really doesn’t benefit from being walk-in. The master bath/closet configuration is too open to the bedroom and not really very efficient.

    2) the circulation for the front entry to the kitchen could be better, quite the trip. On the other hand they did try to get some light into that space.

    3) location of the fire place and the balcony reduce the usable space of the living and dining rooms considerably. this unit would feel much smaller than it actually is.

    One could only hope that this property was built prior to all of the problems Vancouver had with condo construction in the past 20 years.

  • BradW

    I am sure there are many things wrong here – on first impression the location of the fireplace appears to restrict flow into the master bedroom and prevents opening up the kitchen and the south light into the living room should one desire.

  • JimG

    I’m not sure if I like that balcony thing stuck into the interior or not. It is sheltered well this way so it can be used in inclement weather, but it sure chews up the interior. It is the kitchen that I have the most problem with. What little counterspace there is is broke up into even smaller sections by poor placement of the stove.

  • Anonymous

    John, You showed just the right amount of exhuberance with Louis–just as any of us could have shown in the same situation.

    As for the condo, I think that what you called a linen closet is actually supposed to be a coat closet, though being around the corner from the entry makes it so out of the way as to not seem like one! I guess that’s my first thing wrong–the lack of an entry closet that’s convenient to the door. It seems that if that closet’s back angled wall were changed to a ninety-degree corner, the closet could then be accessed from the hall/entry, albeit a smaller space and not that much closer.

    My second cricism is the way the middle of the living room must be used as a traffic zone to get to the kitchen. The master bedroom access as part of this traffic is also awkward. (I really don’t like the master bedroom door coming off the living room–especially beside a focal point!)

    That focal point, the fireplace, is in a terrible location. The living room seating would presumably face it, yet space must be provided for traffic to go through, which negates the coziness of the sitting area. Although it provides some privacy between the kitchen and living room, it also blocks off that necessary southern light.

    The separate water closet in the master bathroom seems like an unnecessary allotment of space for a condo this size. And that tiny cupboard beside it juts out into the entry area behind it. If this part of the plan were configured differently without the separate water closet, maybe another way into the bedroom could have been provided (I might have to try a sketch to see about this claim…).

    On the positive side, the dining area would be a bright and pleasant place to sit (if not a little cramped because people must walk through two sides to get to the kitchen or balcony). The placement of the main bathroom and laundry seem well enough away from the main living area yet still conveniently accessible.

  • Terri

    Above comments are mine.

  • James Scott

    So, what are the merits to having the toilet in its own space? If its to make the bathroom more functional to more people why have more than one bathroom in the first place, just keep the two ares separate. I’m sure in most relationships if both needed the loo, one would politely wait or use another bathroom if available.

    I do recall this argument came up once before, whether here or maybe Fine Homebuilding, not sure. It would be interesting to read other impressions.

  • Steve

    My first 30 seconds in this place were pretty good – a corner suite with an OK entry, guest wing, and long diagonal view. But my initial impression faded. This plan squanders it’s best asset, which is light/air from two sides. The full kitchen wall blocks light from the south to the living room, and there’s only 5′ clearance from the fireplace to the terrace wall for light to enter from the dining corner. This living room will feel dark.

    The “terrace” provides little help. I’ve seen several semi-enclosed balconies in Vancouver low-rises, but they really don’t provide enough cover to be more usable, just darker. This outdoor closet serves no identifiable purpose except that it makes for (useless) symmetry, and the terrace door opens the wrong way.
    The master bedroom presents several problems, starting with the entry off the corner of the living room and a door that conflicts with the closet access. The closet appears to be a walk-in, but allowing space for the door to swing into it eliminates most of the hanging space. As to James’ point, the ensuite bath is too small for two people anyway, so the double sink and separate toilet room are superfluous.

    And what’s with the sharp corner poking into the living room from the front hall and the cabinet behind the guest toilet?

    Overall, in terms of Simple, Light and Open, I give it a C-. It could be so much better with an open kitchen and re-worked primary bedroom suite. I may have some time this evening …

  • Elizabeth


    Started on this one a little.

    Moved the fireplace which was blocking the kitchen in. Seating around it would have been impossible as groceries and all other kitchen traffic had to cut through the centre of living room.

    Shelves flanking the FP lengthens the wall opposite the front entrance, providing a focal point on arrival. Fooled with the W/D and 2nd bathroom, but still didn’t quite fit in a front closet. There’s room, but that funny diagonal alley is a bit odd.

    In Master, couldn’t figure out where to the bed (public hallway wall or kitchen wall?) so put up a divider. Not crazy about entrance from living room, but didn’t solve that one.

    Took off terrace door to dining room, and made the terrace windows in to a door instead.

  • Grace

    Nice, Elizabeth! Is there room between the master bath and closet at the entry to have the door to the master suite there instead of at the living room?

    Also could the kitchen counter run under the window, so that the peninsula into the dining area could be eliminated and the dining area would have more space?

  • Terri

    You’ve improved the layout a lot by moving the fireplace and allowing access to the kitchen at the east side of kitchen. Even though the bedroom is still off the living room, there’s less need to parade through it to get to the kitchen.
    Grace makes a good point regarding the kitchen counter. Maybe an eating bar is a little redundant in a home this size?

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks Terri and Grace!

    Yup, I did intend to have the kitchen counter run under the window. To accomplish that, I also meant to slide the fridge over to the right-hand side of the same wall. I’ll try to be more thorough next time, but let’s just say it’s no coincidence that the program “Paint” has “pain” in the name!

    I did want to keep the kitchen peninsula to shield the view from the living room to the kitchen a bit. I know that makes the dining room smaller, but that’s kind of set with the notch in the exterior wall.

    Grace, I think moving the bedroom door between the closet and bath could work but that means entering the bedroom right at the front entrance. Not ideal. I was hoping to incorporate a turned entrance so that it would be less conspicuous, but I was was trying also to maintain most of the existing structure. I just didn’t find the right spot, but I’ll keep thinking…

    Thanks a lot for your comments.

  • Belle

    Elizabeth I like your redesign a lot. Moving the fireplace improves the living room. Removing the swing out door from the dining room to the balcony is an improvement too as it gives more space there. I also like the placement of the closets/bathroom/laundry that you have done. I must say I find this apartment more spacious that the ones you see built today and with the resign of the living room makes it much more attractive.

  • Terri


    I’ve attempted an entry to master bedroom from the centre of the condo. It’s not ideal, as the closet protrudes into main bedroom area, but I didn’t want to make it shorter.

    The living room and kitchen have been expanded. Millwork divider behind the stove is to hide ductwork and allow a partition. Matching millwork around the rest of the living room to give some continuity.
    The right side of plan is changed little except to move the bathroom door so that an entry closet might be incorporated on that side.

  • Louis Pereira

    If “Exuberance is beauty” (William Blake) and “Beauty is truth – truth, beauty – that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know (John Keats)

    …ah but enough about me!

    I stared at this WWWTH plan way too long…

    At first glance I tried to rationalize the overall layout arrangement and it appeared as though it was organized sensibly, i.e. separate private rooms flanking the main living spaces and the more utilitarian spaces allocated along the corridor and side units. Even the placement of rooms responded to the floor plate’s orientation taking advantage of the morning light and the west afternoon sun.

    I think what bothers me most is all the small things; the detailed and gimmicky attempt to introduce angled walls near the entry – not to mention the ‘cupola’ ceiling – as though this trick would wield some kind of magic charm over the starry-eyed buyer and the deception would coerce them into handing over a whole wack of cash to the realtor without seeing the rest of the condo.

    From there the cause-and-effect pattern just ripples outward, generating a useless front entry closet, the awkwardly shaped and oversized W/C in the Ensuite and the hapless Master Bedroom walk-in closet.

    The placement of the fireplace is laughable. The distance from the Entry to the Kitchen is absurd.

    Anyway I’m attempting to submit this under the wire so I’m interested to hear John’s thoughts tomorrow as I’m sure it will be at length…


    Thanks again everyone for the wonderful comments over the weekend. I was humbled, but most of all appreciative.

  • Louis Pereira

    Terri | Elizabeth

    The revised plans are a great start to improving the overall layout. I also admire how you each resolved the master bedroom similarly by having a bank of closets near the ensuite, thereby creating a ‘walk-thru’ as opposed to a ‘walk-in’ condition…

  • Elizabeth


    You got the elusive front closet in. Beautiful!

  • Grace

    Very nice, Elizabeth and Terri. You’ve nailed it!

  • Terri

    What you say about the developer or designer “tricking” the buyer by putting that cupola-shaped central hall front and centre is valid. I suppose it helps to direct the attention forward, since the entry is so deficient. Of course, once you stand in that centrepiece you can look across at the terrace or the fireplace (it must be on that wall to grab attention upon entering the living room from the hallway). How long would it take to realize you’re on your own with getting across the obstacle course that the living room offers?