Meet Designer Karen Sealy! Coming soon to HGTV is a brand new design show called Summer Home. In each episode Karen heads out to cottage country to transform tired and rundown cottages into charming and functional summer getaways for easy family living. Sold! Summer Design=Good TV, and I can’t wait to see a whole slew of new transformations.
I was first acquainted with Karen’s talents over a year back, when she designed the Chocolate Room for a Hershey’s chocolate campaign, but for you folks who are not yet familiar with her, you can make her acquaintance at the International Home & Garden Show in Mississauga, ON, starting tomorrow. She will be appearing on Sunday, April 3rd, to share smiles (she’s got a good one, eh?) and decor tips.
I, being one who knows no bounds in the world of asking, invited Karen to test-run her design acumen on one of your questions. Without further ado, here’s Karen reworking a small-space condo floor plan for Andrea, an HGTV fan.
From Andrea: “Hi,
I REALLY need your help. I purchased a condo four years ago and I’m finally moving in. My view of the condo has changed since I bought it and I’m not sure I can even make it work.
It’s a 545sq ft. loft style condo with 9ft ceilings. Since the place is so small I had to sell most of my bulky furniture and now I don’t know how to design my condo to make it look good and functional.
I have an enclosure protruding from one wall where my heating is, which stops me from putting my couch against the wall. On the opposite side is a structural pole and stairs leading to my room upstairs. Plus I do not have enough space for a dining table.
Can you help me?”
Karen suggests: Hi Andrea,
Congrats on your new condo. It’s exciting that you are finally able to move in. You’re correct it is a challenging space, both with its small footprint and its tricky floor plan.
Here are some tricks for maximizing small spaces:
- Utilize as much smart storage as possible, this often means custom built-ins which don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Consider local hardwood, with more doors than drawers, or open shelves to keep costs down.
- Use fewer but larger and ideally multifunctional pieces of furniture. For example, in your space an island that offers more counter space, some storage and a place to dine is key.
- Create functional zones by using area rugs to delineate spaces and make an open concept “cozier”.
- Don’t forget to break up linear/boxy spaces with some organic shapes — round coffee table and floor poofs are a nice touch.
In your space I am recommending the following:
- Ideally flip the sliding doors so that the one on the right is the one to open.
- Add a section to maximize seating, (hopefully you can squeeze a narrow sofa table behind, that can also act as a desk). An area rug in this area will help create this lounging zone.
- Create a built-in around the column that will hide this and give you storage for AV components as well as a place to put your TV.
- Add an island. This could be counter or bar height, with an overhang so you can comfortably include some stools for dining.
These improvements will not only make your space functional but will make it welcoming and feel finished. These added touches will also help with resale when you decide to scale up to a larger space.
Best of luck!
Looking forward to Summer Home! Any other thoughts from the community?
Summer Home is premiering on Saturday June 4, 2011 at 1:00pm & Sunday June 5 at 9:00pm