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March 15, 2012
By Barbara Lawlor
The popularity of condominiums as a lifestyle option with home buyers of all age groups has brought about a fascinating trend. Condo purchasers who are moving from large homes with separate rooms are learning to adapt to today’s gorgeous open-concept suite designs. Even many first-time buyers are moving from their parents’ home, where they had their own room among many. The switch to a condominium suite takes some adjusting, and a little planning ahead goes a long way in ensuring a comfortable transition.
One of the beauties of modern condominiums, even many of the larger suites and penthouses, is the generous open-concept living/dining area. This space often includes the kitchen and perhaps even a den. When your living and dining spaces are not separated by walls, an effective way of delineating these areas is to use area rugs as a base for the furnishings. Usually the ceilings are 9 feet in height, or even higher, which creates an inviting “great room” feeling. The effect is lovely, especially with natural light streaming in from large windows.
Some designs feature a linear kitchen with just an island separating that area from the living/dining room. Builders are doing wonderful things with furniture-style cabinetry that blends in with the look. These open areas accommodate the way people live today, which is much less formal than previous generations. Young people, in particular, are just as happy eating dinner at a breakfast bar and watching television on their laptops. They pass up large dining and living room furniture for a couple comfy chairs, a loveseat and an ottoman.
Whatever the design, if you are moving from a traditional house, you will need to consider what and how much furniture you will have space for. This is a great time to take a serious look at possessions and weed out what you don’t really need or necessarily even want anymore. Pay close attention to your floorplan and compare it to some of the rooms in your house. Visualize what can go into different sized spaces without crowding, then pare down accordingly.
And when you’re shopping, keep an eye out for multi-purpose furniture. You will find a fabulous selection of items including the Murphy bed, or wall bed, which has come a long way since the days of “I Love Lucy.” Modern units come in many configurations, including some that are integrated into modular cabinetry with storage, wardrobes and even desks.
Take a good look at day beds, too, which can transform a den into a bedroom when you have overnight guests. There is a terrific variety of style available that will fit just about any décor scheme. You might even consider a trundle bed, which encompasses a smaller bed on casters or rollers that can slide under a larger bed during the daytime.
When you’re planning your move, consider things like exercise and office equipment. Your condominium most likely features a fitness facility, which eliminates the need for you to have exercise machines in your suite. Speaking of amenities, party and games rooms offer great spaces for entertaining, which means you don’t need a lot of seating and games tables. And the current trend toward the paperless office means you won’t have to find space for cumbersome filing cabinets.
Design innovation has made modern condo suites live enormously larger than their square feet dictate. When you move from a large home to a more compact condominium suite, it’s a win-win situation. You live in spectacular surroundings that are light and airy, and downsizing your possessions offers a terrific feeling of freedom.
Other Articles by Barbara Lawlor:
Barbara Lawlor is president of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com