Hello!

For anyone who has been checking out my blog, I am moving my blog to Wordpress. Wordpress is way more interactive, allowing you to leave comments and subscribe (even if you don’t have a Wordpress account). I will be working on improving the appearance of the new livinlittle soon.

So follow me over to livinlittle.wordpress.com.

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About a week ago, the pre-sale for Tridecca’s New Westminster Development, “258”, sold out in under one hour. Probably because, sure, it was the most affordable new concrete highrise in the lower mainland with two bedroom floor plans starting at $238, 900. But, Pilothouse Marketing also launched an innovative, and successful, pre-sale experience— to scale digitally projected floor plans which included sights, smells and sounds.

Wow. Read more here.

Goodbye single family ranchers! Hello high density!

The Cambie corridor will never look like this again. It’s the end of an era. I must admit, the first time I drove down Cambie street and saw what seemed like endless for sale and development proposal signs I was shocked and a little worried. So are some residents of the area as this CBC news story reported. However, reading this story, it is not the demise of the ranchers that alarm me, it is the troubling disconnect between investors (foreign or not) and City planners. I also very much disagree with one resident’s comment about “beauty rapidly disappearing”. These ranchers are not beautiful and the outdated car-focused urban model which they represent does not create beautiful cities.

The City of Vancouver does have a very comprehensive plan for the Cambie corridor which is available to read online here. They have a lot of great ideas and I’m very excited to see how this plan will progress. I am happy to see that developing walking, cycling and transit options along Cambie are key components of their plan. I think the extent to which they realize these transit goals will make or break the new Cambie corridor development. My concerns with the plan are the following:

Read More

A massive change in Vancouver density is happening with the development of the Cambie corridor.

The attic, Sergei

The attic, Sergei

The attic, hallway

The attic, hallway

Enjoyable living space is about much more than domestic interiors. Interior space coexists with exterior space. Our enjoyment of interior space is impacted by sunlight, air quality, noise, our view, our street, our location. How we feel about our domestic space is influenced by our sense of privacy, security and our sense of belonging in our neighborhoods. The extent to which our practical, economic and social needs are met are crucial to any living space.

Growing urban density and smaller living spaces really heighten the importance of these tangible and intangible influences. Functional design for small spaces, therefore, needs to carefully consider interiors, but also how small spaces interact with each other and their urban environment. This is something I’m very interested in learning more about.

Related to this subject, I came across a great interview with Jan Gehl, a Danish architect, author and urban consultant.

I particularly like what he has to say about relating cities to a smaller, human scale. The mention of the “Vancouver model” of urban design certainly caught my attention. He credits Vancouver with considering the ground level interaction of buildings with people but suggests a need for this to be refined. He explains that Vancouver has a “lazy” solution for density by always building upwards. To allow for sunlight and variety he suggests ways that equal density could be achieved in other, albeit more complicated, designs.

Really interesting. I’d like to read his books.

Sadly, the amazing examples of space solutions in studio lofts that I have posted so far are not from Vancouver. New York definitely has the upper hand when it comes to smartly designed and beautiful and old small spaces. What does Vancouver have to offer?

While I would not define this as a small space (its 680 sq ft which would be HUGE for us) this was one of my favorite listed on this real estate site, Vancity Lofts. For me, the spectacular architectural features of this loft, the exposed brick, the wood beams and windows and the wider than usual layout, made it stand out from the rest. Unlike the harsh views of other downtown apartments, this has a little glimpse of some greenery as it overlooks a rooftop garden and the building looks like it has a shared rooftop patio/garden as well. Importantly, this is a studio but it has great potential to become a “one-bedroom” by adding a built-in storage/bed solution.

They already have a bed and storage set up in that corner. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if they were combined into a little storage/”bedroom”?

See more photos here!

Still, at 680 sq ft I feel like this is cheating…I will have to continue my search for well designed small spaces with equally impressive architectural features in Vancouver…

This image is from another major source of small space inspiration, Dwell Magazine. The form of the long, skinny studio with only one natural light source is challenging. These designers have densified the kitchen, bathroom, storage and sleeping space while keeping a flow of natural light and openness. Simplified and unified design materials throughout the space emphasize this effect. Cleverly adjusting the vertical space allows easier access to the loft bed.



Another view towards the end wall. I really like how they’ve combined the eating area with prep space, which was something I was envisioning in my own designs.
See full slideshow here.

This image is from another major source of small space inspiration, Dwell Magazine. The form of the long, skinny studio with only one natural light source is challenging. These designers have densified the kitchen, bathroom, storage and sleeping space while keeping a flow of natural light and openness. Simplified and unified design materials throughout the space emphasize this effect. Cleverly adjusting the vertical space allows easier access to the loft bed.

Another view towards the end wall. I really like how they’ve combined the eating area with prep space, which was something I was envisioning in my own designs.

See full slideshow here.

Storage/Bedrooms

So far, in my thinking about small spaces (considering that I define less than 400 sq ft as small, less than 350 sq ft as really small and less than 100 sq ft as too small) I’ve decided on a few important design criteria. Let me restate these in case they got lost amongst my way-too-long first posts: storage, functionality, comfort, openness/flow and flexibility/multi-use.

As I’ve also explained, a bed poses a particular challenge to small spaces. To meet my above criteria (having storage clean, neat and out of sight; having an enclosed “bedroom” to make a small space liveable for two people or, in the case of one person, having a bed that can be stored out of sight when not in use; having a maximum of open floor space; having a flexible, shape-shifting space) I’ve had to get creative with the design of the bed space.

That is why I’ve posted some drawings of beds built into a closet or pulling out of a raised closet/couch. While my hand-drawings might look a little crazy or naive they are inspired by real design solutions for small spaces. The following examples were found at this great blog, Little Diggs.

Here, for example, is what the architect describes as a “house within a house”. With the bed on top and workspace, couch, bathroom and storage built inwards, the cube efficiently contains living functions to maximize the openness of the surrounding space.

This is probably my favorite. This built “service core” contains the kitchen, bathroom, walk-in closet, and sleeping loft. I love how each stair is a drawer!

I’ll be scouting out more amazing storage/bed solutions to share soon.