If you think Ikea is even kind of cool…

As the price of Ottawa’s real estate rises, the spaces in which we inhabbit are shrinking.  Nations in Europe and around the world, have of course been living in limited spaces for decades.  It is no wonder that we are now looking to these places for inspiration to make our small spaces feel a little more roomy.  Shoeboxdwelling.com is a fantastic website that was created by design journalist, Natalia Repolovsky, to help people see the efficientcy in their small spaces, rather than the limitations.   Below are few things that I think are pretty awesome, but for many more ideas check out her website high-lighted above.  Seriously, check it out.  Some of the stuff is amazing.


We, urban folks, love our bikes. And because the space is scarce in city apartments, we try to store them vertically, which means making holes in our walls. Well, not anymore. This brilliant bike stand from Public allows vertical storage without the nasty wall mutilation part. It has the easiest installation process imaginable. Just lean the stand against the wall, and gravity does the rest. The piece provides convenient storage for one or two bikes and works with the most bike shapes and sizes. Genius!

Mono dishwasher, designed by Daniel Simonini, is smaller than your average dish rack. Yet it can hold 4 plates, 4 glasses (or cups), and a set of flatware. Inspired by sea sponges, the piece has a smooth exterior and slick design that can agree with any space. But the best feature, in my opinion, is the fact that the pressurized water, used for cleaning the dishes, is also employed to power the device’s battery making it carbon-neutral. Perfect for an eco-friendly urban apartment.

Our seating furniture is a notorious clutter magnet. Its demoralizing coziness compels us to pile more and more things closer to our bums, so we don’t need to bother getting up. Design firm Quinze and Milan and backpack manufacturer Eastpak took this desire quite literally and created the Backpack Sofa, a transformable piece of furniture with unlimited storage possibilities. The number of pockets and compartments is impressive and will allow storing books, DVDs, periodicals, iPads, and all other toys and spoils you like to keep close to you. Beautiful and at the same time dangerous idea…

Here is an example of extreme space-saving from Valencia based designer Daniel Gantes. His La Cool Vie Bohème dining table is reduced to its raw function. The piece is nothing more than a foldable pine wood stand that holds all your necessary dining paraphernalia –  plates, wine bottle, glasses, napkins, even a flowerpot. Envisioned as a mobile dining solution for someone who lives on a shoestring budget, the table will be just as useful to those who live in a shoebox space…

I am happy to announce that another cool iPhone alarm clock is here to tempt us. Called c/dock, this sleek new toy needs our help to be produced. Here is how the designer describes it on Kickstarter: ‘A handsome thick piece of solid walnut with either a brushed aluminum or glossy resin face plate with a six foot long black usb cable. The ultimate mix of modern design and convenience.’ The idea is simple – you slide your phone into the fully enclosed sleeve to dock and charge it, while it is running your favorite alarm app. And when you are awake, you can use it as a photo display or as a media player. Sweet!

It seems that there are two basic types of aircons on the market today – ugly and hideous. Aside from that – all of them play real havoc with your electric bill and negatively impact the environment. This impressive concept from designer Rami Santala is envisioned to address both problems. Visually stunning piece, called Foliage, is small enough to fit on a windowsill and smart enough to detect sunlight and use it to power the device. Inspired by houseplants, Foliage transforms the shape of its ‘leaves’ to harvest more light. Another reason why this idea makes perfect sense is that we mostly need air-conditioning during the summer, when the sunlight is abundant. So, there you have it – the air that is clean and cool in all senses of the word.

When it comes to bathroom storage we, small space inhabitants, are not spoiled with the abundance of choice. Which is why this collection from Royo Group is so exciting. The Keops Evolution series feature functional drawers and shelves around the bathtub itself. This elegant solution allows for much needed product/towel storage while taking virtually no extra space. It also provides for easy access to your beauty spoils. Thoughtful… The bathtub finishes are available in white acrylic and walnut and the furniture part can be chosen to be white or black.

Source: shoeboxdwelling.com

For more information on real estate in general, or for a free report on the 6 things you should avoid when buying home, please send me an email or give me a quick call at 613-614-0412.  Thanks for reading.


If you think your place is small….

When Tega Homes released the floor plans for their Centropolis Condos at the corner of Kent and Gladstone, I saw that they were selling units under 300 square feet.  To be honest, I didn’t really know who would buy one.  It turns out, that a more than a few people did.  Out of the 44 units close to 300 square feet, only three remain.  So it got me thinking,  how does one go about living with such little space?  After a quick Google search, I found this guy in Seattle.  Steve Sauer, an airplane interiors engineer for Boeing, who has converted a 182 square foot basement into a functional apartment for two.  What I find most interesting is that Steve isn’t just occupying the space , he is truly living in it.  Taking inspiration from dwellings in Scandinavia and Japan, places where space is dear, he writes, “I wanted to compress my home to squirt me back out to the community.  That was one of the philosophical reasons.  I want to be able to shop daily, not store a lot and eat really well.”  I encourage you to click here to read the entire story. It is fascinating.

Pretty Fly Furniture

So now that you have your unreal loft, it’s time to fill it.  If you don’t already know about Restoration Hardware, take a second and browse their online store (they do have a store in Toronto).  They specialize in very unique, vintage inspired everything for your home.  Obviously they have a ton of couches, chairs, tables and book shelves, however they also carry art work, lighting, hooks, cabinet knobs, photography, paint and the list goes on and on.  They have recently designed a line called Aviator, a collection intended to  look very much like World War II fighter plane parts. If you are looking for something to take your space to the next level, scroll down to get a little taste of what Restoration Hardware has to offer.  These eleven photos really do not do this place any justice.

A Loft Affair

Nothing says understated elegance like a stunning loft.  With Ottawa’s condo market booming, there are still only a handful of true loft buildings in this city.  There are projects though claiming to be “lofts” but don’t be fooled.  These are what I refer to as “soft lofts”.  Most soft lofts usually do have 9′-10′ ceilings however that industrial feel we love so much in these spaces are no where to be found.  Below are some examples of Ottawa’s “true lofts” that are or have been recently for sale.  They range in price from the mid $300,000’s – $1.1 million.  Enjoy!

124 Guigues Ave

179 George Street

95 Beech Street

45 Spencer Street

589 Rideau Street

108 Third Ave

320 Mcleod Street

320 Mcleod Street

Not Your Grandma’s Wallpaper

If white walls aren’t exactly your thing, check out these wall coverings by Giovanni Pagani. Pagani is an Italian architect and designer who engages in many fields: product and furniture design, interior decoration and architecture to name a few. In collaboration with Italian firm Wall&Deco, he has designed some dramatic wallpaper murals that will easily add a wow factor to any room!

The coolest home ever – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

In 1935 the Kaufman’s, a prominent, well to do family in Pittsburgh, enlisted the help of famed architect  Frank Lloyd Wright to help design a new summer home.  The Kaufman’s wanted to be able to see the falls from their summer home, but had no idea that they would soon be a part of them.  With only two hours left in his deadline, Frank Lloyd Wright, sits down at his table and calmly begins the design.  As his team watches in absolute disbelief, Wright completes the entire design for the home in plans and sections on blank pieces of paper in one sitting.  In 1938 and for $155,000 (including $8,000 architect’s fees, and $4,500 for installed walnut furnishings) Fallingwater, a masterpiece of twentieth century architecture is complete.  One with the landscape, Fallingwater doesn’t even appear to be on solid ground, but looks to sit atop the 30′ wide waterfall.

For more photos and the complete story, visit www.fallingwater.org

Lansdowne Park will finally get a new look!

Ottawa City Council  approved once and for all to move a head with plans to gentrify one of Ottawa’s biggest eye sores, Lansdowne Park. This has received mixed reviews amongst city councillors and community members a like.  Most who are opposed to the project are concerned about the obvious costs that the city will have to bare and the inevitable increase in traffic to the already very busy Old Ottawa South and Glebe communities. It is clear that something has to be done with the 16 hectares of concrete next to arguably Ottawa’s greatest attraction, the Rideau Canal, but it is this best solution?  Let me know what you think.

Below is an outline of what will be done over the next three years:

  • a controversial relocation of the historic Horticulture Building slightly to the east-side of the property
  • Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre will be renovated
  • new retail buildings will be constructed just north of the stadium.
  • an urban park will be constructed on the east side of the property
  • condos, townhomes, offices and a cinema will be built on the northwest side.
  • an office tower, where the Ottawa Art Gallery will be relocated, will be constructed beside the stadium, near the Bank St. bridge.
  • the Ottawa Farmers Market will have a home in the Horticulture Building