Turning a Calgary Apartment into a Slow Home – Part 2

In the second part of this three-part “From Fast to Slow” segment. John and Matthew break down what is wrong with Jodie from Calgary’s apartment.

  • Brad W

    Just a quick rearrangement of the kitchen to get the ball rolling.

  • Jodie

    Hello Brad,

    Thank you for taking the time to look at my place.

    I never thought of moving the kitchen that direction, it does open it up a lot.

    I’m looking forward to all new ideas


  • http://slowhomestudio.com Matthew North

    Brad W – I think your plan would be very simple to execute. I think the kitchen location is ideal because it changes the orientation towards the living spaces and will make it feel like one big room – in a 470- sq ft unit, this is critical. The column imbedded into the end of the island makes good architectural sense. I am wondering if there is an opportunity to change the location of the bedroom door, get a larger bedroom closet and consolidate the two hall closets into one. I am also very curious to see if any other Slow Homers post a scheme before Monday. I would love to see them!

  • Frances GF

    Hi Jodie,

    Congratulations on your new studio space and reclaiming your bedroom!

    As Matthew suggested I’ve moved your bedroom door and reworked the closets to provide more usable storage.

    The new kitchen is u-shaped with an eating counter. I would think about getting adjustable height dinning chairs, which can be used at both the counter and the dining table.

    A piece of millwork would complete the end of the kitchen and provide a backdrop for a flat screen tv.

    A long console in the dining area gives some additional storage.

    What works for you, and what doesn’t?

  • Jodie

    Hello Again Frances,

    this is so much fun!

    reworking the bedroom door is a key idea, I do find in need an entryway. What about a closet that is accessible from both allowing some flexibility.

    Moving the kitchen around and having an eating counter would be great.

    And the millwork could be full size as I don’t (and won’t) have a TV

    working in a desk is also needed

    So much to think about

  • Terri

    I’ve taken a stab at this redesign. The island/table is not ideal, but I felt that Jodie needed desk space more than entertainment space, so a built-in desk runs from kitchen counter to outside window wall with more shelves under the window.

    The design hinges on moving the bedroom wall down far enough to accommodate a door between the column beside bedroom and the wall itself.

  • Jesse S

    I’ve gotten a lot out of this site and thought it was about time I try to contribute to one of these design segments. I realize this is an intensive redesign due to the kitchen relocation but of the versions I did it appealed to me the most.

    I have made the decision to minimize the kitchen in order to maximize the living/dinning areas, I view this compromise as appropriate in such a small unit. See the attached example for an excellent representation of what I have done but with the addition of a DW and an 18″ drawer base which are both pretty critical I think as they provide the counter space to work as well.

    I quickly discounted the idea of keeping the bed in the living area and instead went with a very small bedroom that doubles as an office space when the murphy bed is closed. Slide the desk chair to the left and drop the bed down in the evening. Entry closet is millwork with a sliding panel that doubles as the bedroom door, not ideal but things are tight in this place! I would do a high rod for hanging coats and lower drawer bank with key landing on top.

    The bookshelf separating the dinning and living areas is open to the dinning side and is of millwork standing 36″ tall with a slab top of some kind. This could provide cookbook storage and pantry/canned good storage for the kitchen and may be built with integrated sliding doors if wanted. There is a small niche of bookshelves at the wall end that face the living area, these are on the end of the floor to ceiling millwork storage that faces the dinning table. The bookshelves facing the living room would be an ideal spot for both books and audio components. The floor to ceiling storage has sliding doors and the interior can be configured in any way desired depending on the storage needs.

    Something that struck me as important in this plan is although in a basement unit this plan provides a window on each space a person would occupy save the bath and kitchen counter. This should provide a lot of natural light for most everyday tasks.

    I just saw the comment that there is no need for a TV, oh well, substitute a nice piece of art for the TV in my plan;)

  • Frances GF

    Hi Jodie,

    I did a few refinements. The TV is gone and in it’s place is a four foot wide desk and a bookcase. Your desk chair can be swung around to face the couch for entertaining.

    The closet closest to the entry has access from both the bedroom and the hall. I haven’t seen this before and am interested in what John and Matthew may have to say on this.

    Terri, good to see your work again. I can really see the centre island as an at home work area.

    Jesse S, way to think out of the box with a one-sided kitchen.

  • Jodie

    so many great idea’s!

    You have rearranged the space in a way that has never crossed my mind, it is exultant. The bedroom storage and murphy bed are a clean use of the room. I am interested to here thoughts on the kitchen. I like it because I am not a big cook and the kitchen is not taking up too much space. What about sliding doors in front of the kitchen to close the door when not in use?

    I also like the front door with the sliding door into the bedroom. Because the space is small currently I have taken the closet and bedroom door off. But the sliding door allows me to slide the door to open the closet when company comes and close the bedroom door. Although they would be looking at an office if the door was open.

    Useful and precise storage is key

    Thank you

  • Jodie

    Extending the line at the end of the hall gives the living room some more definition and an entrance into the living/eating space.

    Plus you put the bed in the direction I like to sleep in, funny how that makes the room feel relaxing

  • Jodie

    thank you for redesigning with my comments in mind.

    This is an eye opening experience

  • Jodie

    I can’t wait until Monday’s show!

    and to go out and VOTE Canada

  • Jesse S

    In response to the question regarding a sliding door to hide the kitchen, it would be pretty easy.

    I would pull the fridge out 6 inches so it would be on the same plane as a long sliding panel that matched the kitchen cabinetry. This panel would rest along the wall in the hall when open and when closed butt up against the edge of a fridge with integrated custom panels such as a Bosch or Sub Zero thus taking on the look of a solid wall yet still providing access to the fridge for a quick drink or snack. I’ve never seen this before but I think it would be very cool, the wall/fridge could be matching millwork to the rest of the apartment, stainless steel or could be a huge art mural that when closed completes the image. The fact that you have that long hall to accommodate the length of panel needed is what really makes it all possible. The fridge would disappear even more than in my kitchen (see image) because it would be monolithic without the oven or the sliding glass doors to delineate it’s location.

  • Jesse S

    I figure I might as well post my first try at the design, before I really started spending Jodie’s money:) I like the other one much better though.

  • Terri

    Hi Frances GF,
    I’m glad you modified your plan the way you did, as I’d thought a desk was a good option in that location beside the kitchen. Your plan mirrored my initial idea, but I wanted to participate, so…
    So glad we’re doing some design exercises again! :D

  • Terry Chicago

    Jodie & All,

    I’ve been a fan of the site and Slow Home Project since my friend Steve introduced me to the site. Until now, I’ve never posted. However, I thought I’d finally give it a try.

    In my design, I tried to open the main living area up to one larger room since the total square footage was quite small. I also wanted to maximize available storage. Additionally, I wanted to see if I could make a larger entry that didn’t feel so much like a hallway.

    Looking forward to comments.


    Terry in Chicago

  • Terry Chicago


    I struggled a bit with the table as an island in my plan as well. Like you mention, however, I agree it works best. I think it could serve dual purposes as dining and additional work space if needed.

  • Terri

    Hi Terry,
    Since John and Matthew have pointed out that your entry is great, I’m feeling a little redundant saying the same thing. You’ve integrated the closets very nicely (both inside and outside the bedroom).

  • Oscar B. Morales

    Hello Jodie and all,

    This is my first graphic contribution to this site, and I’ve had a great time looking at the graphics already presented and I would like to share mine, although a little late!!!

    I was careful to follow Jodie’s instructions as to trying to respect heater location, columns and not moving the bathroom. There would be some reformatting of the heaters to be done on my plan, but it is minimal and I don’t feel that it should be a great problem.

    The living area is small but could feel larger at the expense of not putting the first bank of built-ins in the storage pantry as you enter the kitchen and moving the door to the bedroom with it. It would be a client choice.

    Although there seems to be a lot of circulation, it is combined with part of the living space, the flexible space and circulation leading to the kitchen.

    The kitchen should be plenty big; I read a comment that Jodie is “not a big cook”. Also I feel a dish washer is not necessary in this case.

    Well hope to get feedback and in particular Jodie’s comments.


  • Jodie

    Hello Oscar

    What a wild addition to add to the great designs already posted, thank you for adding your graphic. I really like the window in the bedroom wall that matched up to the exterior window.

    You have also taken into consideration a lot of what we talked about on the messages of part 1. Look at all the storage and flexibility you have incorporated.

    Ill admit I could never give up having a dishwasher.
    My stove, yes I would give up. My mother uses a 2 burner cook top and a larger toast oven every Sunday for dinner with 6 to 9 people, I’ve thought about the same.

    The wall at the front entry is this a half wall?

    Thank you for your contribution

  • Jodie

    Hi Terry Chicago,

    I enjoy many things about your design. the front entrance, currently it is not well defined and has a tendency to float through out the hallway.

    Having the desk extend from the kitchen means desk space but added counter space if needed while cooking. Or a sideboard for company

    Would you have the desk the same height as the counter top? This would be taller than a traditional desk but could have the same cabinet drawers and/or doors as the kitchen.

    And the table – do you see this as a higher height table or traditional height?

    Thank you for posting

  • Jesse S.

    I’m very curious to hear from those of you who used a software program to produce your floor plans which one you used and if you would recommend it. Thanks!

    Oscar, nice work, your plan really adds some interesting ideas to the mix.

  • hobby designer

    Close off the studio/bedroom door and make a closet (however sliding closet to access closet still on both sides of each wall. Put all kitchen appliances against main window wall and have cabinetry go over fridge to eliminate wasted storage space. Purchase smaller dishwasher to fit under present sink/change sink to half deep to allow for diswasher/other side sink to be larger sink to reduce appliances and introduce more counter space. Introduce another storage unit/murphy bed along main bedroom wall to create a full square space. L shaped furniture on wheels. Change closet into a island storage unit to be used as a work table. New bedroom door with frosted pocket window door. Pocket door in bathroom with frosted window to allow more light.

  • Oscar B. Morales

    Hello Jodie,

    Yes, in my mind the wall at the entry is to be no higher than six feet, although five feet and half would work. I see this wall as place to display your textiles or art work, with a shelf or narrow table below the art work to put your keys and cell phone as you come into your space. from the living area it also serves as a buffer to make things cozier in the living area as well, again to display art work. I am not crazy about half walls but that would be a client choice.

    If you could live with a two burner cook top, then I would extend the counter towards the flexible space, and install the dish washer to the left and perpendicular to the sink.

    I know that the space is tight, but it works. It needs a little more input from you as the user but I am certain that you could make it work to your needs.

    See attached


  • Oscar B. Morales

    Hello Jesse,

    I like the hand drafted graphics that you have included, if I had my drafting table available I might even do these sketches by hand. I feel that is more personal and feels less technical, and quicker; however I will share how I did my recent posts.

    I recently figure out a way to input graphics, following is how I’ve done it.

    1- Click on the Image – Save as JPEG or Bitmap in to your computer

    2- Bring into your graphics editor and erase areas that you don’t need, making sure that you don’t erase the areas that cannot be moved in the design, I use Corel Photo paint, and Windows Paint works as well.

    3- Import into your CAD program, I prefer DataCad (11, 12, or 13) also so can use VIZIO; I am sure that there are other programs.

    4- To scale it, I used DataCad to adjust the scale. In Jodie’s plan that she provided, there were several dimensions that I was able to use as a go by to get to the approximate scale.

    5- I make changes as necessary in DataCad.

    6- Save changes as a PDF as if to print at 1/4” or 3/8”. In Adobe Acrobat (Adobe Acrobat Pro 8 in my case) I open the saved PDF file and then save out as a JPEG. With the following settings; File Settings to Maximum, Conversion resolution to 300 pixels / inch.

    7- Load into Disqus, for us to enjoy and comment.

    Hope this helps, and would like to also hear from others to see hoe they produce their work.


  • Steve

    Hi Jesse,

    If you’re looking to produce a floorplan with your computer, but don’t necessarily want to download a brand new program, I’d recommend giving Microsoft Paint a try.

    Here’s a YouTube video tutorial on how to use Paint to create your own Slow Home Design Project!