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.

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!