Part 2 – 1130 sqft condo, Vancouver

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

  • Steve


    Like you, John, I thought the guest wing was pretty good as is, too. But I so disliked the master suite (entry, closet, and bath!) that I wondered if they could be switched up to better effect.

    I also tried to use a central fireplace wall (with book or display shelves) to ground the living space opposite the windows and to ease the flow from the entry into the living room and around to the study/guest bedroom. I arranged the guest bath, laundry, and closets behind it. Pulling the kitchen wall back also opened the dining area to the living room more, though I’m still not content with the kitchen arrangment. Any thoughts?

  • BradW

    John – You must still be in a good mood from visiting with Louis – I thought you were uncharacteristically soft on this condo – what about traffic flow through the living room, light in the living room, etc… I agree with one thing – it would be a fun a renovation project and I do have a question – in condo renovation what is the likelihood that you can move the entry door? My experience is that not much can be done with the infrastructure in a condo…

    Steve – I like the relocated master and opening it to the terrace but it would not have been my priority with this suite – if moving the fireplace is an option (and I think this is the key to improving this unit) I would have been more inclined to put it on the north wall of the living room and route traffic flow along its east and south perimeter – your kitchen is fine, aside from the shallow cabinet over the fridge, but I would be inclined to remove the north wall…

  • John Y

    The guest wing is, overall, pretty good, I agree. The master suite, though, is a mess — especially the ensuite and closet. And I really dislike the rotunda thing — I’d dislike it even if it didn’t mess up the master suite geometries.

    Having a look at Steve’s redesign, one thing of note is that I suspect the “storage closet” off the terrace is, in actuality, a machine closet. So you’d have to find someplace for the HVAC and water heater.

  • John Y

    Also, thanks to John for getting the iTunes feed working again; I can watch on my commute in and comment on my coffee break now.

  • Terri

    I thought of putting the master suite on the right side too (to allow access to that terrace), but I guess I liked the laundry/bath arrangement as it was so I didn’t tinker with it. On looking at your solution, it seems the laundry got put into a less convenient location and the bath uses a little more space than it could. However, I do like the way you’ve expanded that entry horizontally on the plan, giving more space for movement.

    John Y,
    On the west coast here we generally have electric baseboard heaters or hot water baseboard heat in condo complexes. Since the hot water tank isn’t shown in this condo, I’m guessing the building is heated by a central hot water system. I’ve never seen a hot water tank put outside the unit, even in a closet, so I’m guessing that it wouldn’t be to code to do so.

  • Louis Pereira

    Steve – It’s a clever redesign of the condo, especially the Front Entry and how you extended the entrance laterally to the left, as Terri pointed out…(Terri has a very discernable eye). I’m thrown however, that you’ve kept the dome ceiling, when it is this ‘feature’ (in my own opinion), that is clearly the crux of the problem. It still appears as if efficiency of space is still compromised by leaving it there.

  • Elizabeth


    Nice idea moving the master suite closer to the terrace. I still feel that keeping the north wall on the kitchen necessitates traffic flow directly through the centre of the living room, which isn’t ideal.

    Like the entrance too!

  • Steve

    Thanks, all, for the comments. Regarding the round hallway, my first instinct is to square it (like Elizabeth’s plan yesterday). But I also thought that this little “joint” in the hallway was nicely done. I don’t know what a “cucula” (sp?) might be, but I imagine a lowered ceiling disc, very shallow dome, or round tray that helps to define this space. As you pass through, you’re aligned with the long diagonal, so unlike Wright’s multiple 90-degree turns (which I also appreciate). This is much gentler, if a bit formal for today’s casual tastes.

    But if the formality of the entrance hall and adjacent bedroom wing was carried throughout the plan and interior design – perhaps in a neo-classical or postmodern style – I think it would feel integrated and not at all like a “feature.” Whether classical forms fit our Simple dictum is another discussion. :)

  • Terri

    Louis, Re: my “discerning eye.” I don’t know if that’s true, but thanks for the compliment anyway. :) In this case I was interested to see how Steve changed the bedrooms’ positions around (since I’d thought of it but went no further by trying). I saw something I hadn’t thought of–the wider entry.

    Re: the “cupola.” I hadn’t thought much about its selling purpose (as you noted yesterday, Louis, and I responded to on yesterday’s post). But as far as “intersections” go, it does offer a little bit of interest, and as Steve says, it might be integrated and not a feature if other post-modern elements were incorporated. The plan doesn’t seem to suggest other such elements (such as a pillar between living and kitchen or something), so possibly it was a “tacked-on” idea just to fit in with the tastes of the day.

    Are you a fan of Michael Graves’s work? I’m curious what you were suggesting with your link to his website.

  • Louis Pereira

    Terri | Steve – I suppose my ‘functional modernism’ side was showing (blush) as i went on a rant about the ‘cupola’.

    I guess i’ll come out of the Modernist closet and say that I’m not a big fan of Post Modernism and its ‘…unapologetically diverse aesthetics, where form is adopted for its own sake’…(wiki’s definition), which happens to describe the domed ceiling and its ancillary effects perfectly in this case.

    I reason then that post modernism’s gewgaws are to John’s distaste for corner fireplaces and 45 deg. angles. I can appreciate post-modernist works when deftly executed (see Aldo Rossi), but i somehow doubt the person who came up with this condo layout, unapologetic or not, actually knew the difference.

    es lebe die Ludwig Mies Van de Rohe!!! (hehe)

  • Steve

    My personal disposition leans strongly toward modernist clarity and simplicity. But many people found Miesian modernism sterile and impossible to live with, eg. his Farnworth house (which I love), or the sterotypical ’80s all-white New York hi-rise apartments with a single cala lilly on the glass coffee table (remember those?).

    There’s something to be said for the postmodernist argument for complexity, contradiction, fun, and even humour (e.g. Graves) in architecture. Yes, it’s self-consciously put on, but it’s also intellectually interesting and, some argue, more humane. It offers a richness of texture and association that many people find more comfortable than modernism, at least in its starkest expressions.

    There is, of course, a via media between sterile and over-wrought, between “a machine for living in” and a postmodernist fun house. And Louis, you’re definitely right that this developer did not find it! I think your designs — and lot of the good work we see on this site — point in the right direction.

    So, I’m of two minds: Long live Mies / May he rest in peace!