Part 1 – Cummings Bristol Residence, British Columbia

Part 1 – Cummings Bristol Residence, British Columbia (PDF)

Part 1 – Cummings Bristol Residence, British Columbia (JPEG)
Part 1 – Cummings Bristol Residence, British Columbia (Full Symbol Library)

Cummings Bristol Residence – Demolition Plan (JPEG)

  • Brad W

    By moving the laundry area into the old storage space I was able to gain space for the new modern kitchen.

    I did not move the bathroom or bedrooms instead opting to spend renovation dollars on luxurious tile, cabinets and fixtures for the kitchen and bath, new flooring throughout the space and custom millwork in the den/guest room. New furniture and artwork (including photographic works by the client) complete the space.


  • Doug Roberts

    Hi John

    Have you considered including your recommended demolition plan in the posted JPG to give viewers a cleaner starting point for their designs?

  • John Brown

    Excellent idea. It will be posted momentarily. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Brad W

    Another option. This time based on John’s demolition plan.

    I used the previous storage space to locate the bathroom. This works as an ensuite and a guest bath as a result of the walk-thru shower.

    The laundry is a stackable system incorporated into the kitchen cabinets.

    The kitchen dominates the open plan living space to the point where furniture placement is an issue. I imagine an minimalist aesthetic with a sleek sofa and a statement chair such as a Wegner Ox chair or an Eames Lounge chair. The TV could be housed in a custom cabinet or a large retractable screen and projection system could be installed on the ceiling. New semi-opaque window blinds provide privacy at night while filtering light during the day.

    The office/guest room is normally open to the main living space but can be closed off using a movable glass partition.

    Comparing my initial plan with this one, it should come as no surprise that this new plan is more costly to implement as more infrastructure changes are required. The orientation of the kitchen, the larger bathroom and additional architectural wow factor may justify the additional expense.


  • Elva

    Is there any limitions in an apartment condo reno that the existing infrastructure would impose on a renovation; particularily wrt plumbing? Would not the plumbing fistures have to tied into the existing drains? I know that in a home some fixtures need air stacks or vents to function properly. Is this not the case in an apartment also?

  • Volker

    I rearranged the layou and added a corridor to access the masterbedroom. Since this couple is living on their own they can leave the sliding door open and this way get some natural light all along the corridor. So when you enter the appartment, you have light from the front (living/dining and from the side – cutting down the length of either corridor. The kitchen moved closer to the entrance to try to open the former long main corridor. The kitchen and the bathroom are supposed to form a little “island” surrounded by light – perhaps almost looking like a little piece of furniture. The is turned into an office a private study, some place to work on the comp, read books… and if friends stay for the night being able to be turned into a bedroom by unfolding the bed being hidden in the bookshelf.


  • Trent

    in reference to Elva’s comment about existing plumbing. Our renovation company has completed a few condo projects and moving plumbing is often a big problem depending on the type of floor structure. We often need to work around the existing plumbing layout as there are vents, etc from the units below coming thru the unit we are renovating. Also moving existing plumbing thru core slabs isn’t easy to do.

    In the case of this excerise maybe it is more a matter of looking at what would be the ideal layout and then drop back from there if site conditions prevented certain options.

  • Brad W

    Trent, Elva – In my initial design, I disregarded John’s demolition plan in favour of keeping as many existing plumbing connections for just the reasons you cite.

    Can condo boards restrict what can and cannot be done in a renovation?

    Also, in a design exercise such as this, how much should you consider practical considerations like site conditions or cost?

  • Grace

    I like your first design for that reason, Brad W. It’s very efficient.

  • John Brown

    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

    The issue of plumbing options is a very good one and in a real project they can be very difficult to move in a multi family situation.

    To keep things interesting for this design exercise I though it was a good idea to open up the options and let the kitchen and bathroom be placed anywhere in the plan. This could happen in the real world but it is unlikely.

  • John Brown


    Also good questions about the reality of doing work like this. In my experience condo boards vary widely in terms of their interest, level of control, and attitude towards renovations. When we are helping someone buy a unit that is intended for renovations a careful review of the condo docs is an essential part of the decision process as one board might be easier to work with than another.

    In terms of working like this in a design school I think that there can be a range of relationships to the real. On one hand you don’t want to restrict things so much that there is really one possible solution because that restricts the discussion and the learning opportunities. On the other hand disregarding all reality reduces the value of the exercise as a model for someone looking to apply these ideas to a project of their own.

    On balance, I think that the project brief should guide things. This time I specifically said that we could relocate the plumbing anywhere. In an earlier exercise I gave two possible locations. I will try to develop the projects in a way that keeps up the variety while maintaining a strong foothold in the real world.

  • John Brown

    I think your first plan is quite strong – particularly because it keeps the original bathroom and bedrooms unchanged. I also like the way the view from the entry is opened up as well as the location for the laundry.

  • John Brown


    This is an interesting variation on Brad’s plan. Creating a corridor at the back of the unit makes the master bedroom very private while still allowing the bathroom to work for both quests and as an ensuite.

    I also like the way you opened up the relationship between the living area and the study. My only concern is how you would furnish the living room area.

  • Elva

    Thanks for the response. I raised the question as this is a likely senario in my furture. I plan to downsize my residence and responsibilities. This means moving. probably to a condo. I have found the projects and discussions enlightening and I am looking forward to the rest of this week.

  • Adam G

    I’m glad someone asked about the plumbing fixtures, because they were puzzling me a bit too.

    I suppose the best way to look at these examples is as an intellectual exercise. If this were the real world, I’d want a lot of questions answered (and probably make a site visit) before I started sketching anything out. However that does mean I start focusing on details early on without looking at the bigger picture, which in some cases may be a mistake. It’s interesting to see how things can play out.

    I didn’t do the whole thing, but I did concentrate on the second bedroom/library. I keep a lot of books myself, so shelf space is at a premium. I wondered if a fold-out bed inset in the wall might not be a better solution; after all, it’s not as if the sofa’s a vital part of the space. It’s only really there so someone can sleep on it.

    The fold-out is marked with a cross representing the space it occupies when open. I’m assuming that the desk/office occupies the same space, and would be moved out of the way when the bed is in use. You could then arrange shelves pretty much as you pleased. The main problem here (to my mind) is that the double is a little large; a single gives more space, but probably isn’t a preferable guest bed size.


  • Brenda

    This is a messy first plan for me. Very fun to think about.

    I thought about Elva’s comments and tried to maintain the location of the kitchen sink and bathroom drains, toilet etc. I felt the clients would like the private entrance to the master through the den, they could close the doors to the living space (oops, imagine another sliding door there, and open the den doors and feel like the master extended the full depth of the suite – but still offered two access points to the bathroom. My w/d location in the master closet would mean you would never have to carry laundry (I would love that)

    There may be too many sliding shoji style doors but I think they are cool.

  • Brenda

    oh the plan


  • Anne

    I really enjoy looking at all the possibilities of changing the condo around. However, having lived in a similar place, I would like to point out that something as ugly as a storage room is essential (suitcases, sporting equipment). Also, being two professionals, there might be the need for more closet space in the master bedroom.

  • John Brown

    I like the idea of the fold down murphy bed for the study. When we have done them in the past we typically located them in the center of the wall with bookshelves on both sides so that there is equal access to both sides of the bed. I would recommend the double bed instead of the single.

  • John Brown

    Congratulations on the first plan. It has some very good elements.

    I think your idea of having the master open into the guest room is an interesting one. It is similar in intent to Volker’s plan that made a connection between the living space and the guest room. One of the challenges that I think still needs to be considered further is the bathroom door that opens onto the living space.

  • John Brown

    Good point about the storage. It is a topic that we discuss with our clients all the time. The trade off is really a personal one and I find opinions split pretty much right down the middle.

    For me, I would prefer to have more living space and 1) be creative with finding other less disruptive forms of storage 2) eliminate all that is unnecessary 3) consider some kind of off site storage if required. But.. I also don’t have a lot of stuff.