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.


Awesome New Project – Cathedral Hill

Cathedral Hill will lay claim to some of the best views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills that Ottawa has to offer.  Its ideal location will alow its residents to walk to Parliament Hill and everything else downtown Ottawa has to offer.

What: A 12 storey office building, a 21 storey residential tower and a minimum of 8 high-end town homes

Where:  The corner of Bronson and Queen – Christ Church Anglican Cathedral

Who: Windmill Developments, the lead partner in the joint venture along with ONE Development, is Canada’s premier developer of sustainable communities, having completed projects such as Dockside Green and the Currents (located at Holland and Wellington above the Great Canadian Theatre Company) to a LEED Platinum standard.  Cathedral Hill will continue that commitment to sustainability with a design that provides superior energy performance, water conservation, enhanced comfort and a healthier indoor environment.

When: Launching Mid-September (I would estimate completion to be end of 2014 and into 2015)

For more information or to be registered for the launch of Cathedral Hill, send me an email with you contact information to tyler@bennettpros.com.

Why Little Italy?

     Quickly emerging as one of Ottawa’s hottest neighbourhoods, Little Italy is seeing fantastic growth.  Since 2000, home values in Little Italy have increased 154%.  This neighbourhood has had significant improvements made to its infrastructure in that ten-year period with the addition of three high-rise business towers, the reconstruction of the sewage system and a face lift to the streets and store fronts.  With an abundance of trendy shops, yoga studios, restaurants and immediate access to public transportation, Little Italy is quickly becoming the place to live in Ottawa’s down core.  Closer to the Byward Market and Parliament Hill than Westboro, arguably Ottawa’s most desirable neighbourhood, Little Italy’s location allows for its residence to walk to both of these major attractions and that’s exactly what people want.  When I meet my clients, most want the same thing, the ability to walk down town, without having to live in the hustle and bustle.  They are also demanding high-end luxury finishes that are only offered in very few homes in the area.   Enter SOHO Champagne.

       I know I write a lot about the SOHO product, it’s because I think it’s the best in town. SOHO Champagne is one of a kind.  Located in Ottawa’s Little Italy, this condominium will offer hotel inspired design, amenities and living.  With 15,000 sqft of amenities, this place is a resort.  Need to relax?  Head to the gym, hot tub, pool, steam room, sauna, wine room or the state of the art 24 person theatre.  Going to be home late from a road trip and want some clean sheet?  Call the 24hrs concierge and he can make that happen.   If you have ever wanted to live in a five-star hotel, now is the chance.

     Apparently a lot people do want to live in a hotel.  The launch of SOHO Champagne was the most anticipated condo launch of 2011. On June 2, the owner, Bruce Greenberg, held a Friends and Family Night.  Invitees who were hand selected by the owner himself scooped up 25 units of their own, mostly two bedroom units.  June 4 was the launch to the public.  On this day, the prices of the units were reduced by 2%.  When the doors opened at 12:00pm, over 200 people were already waiting.  The first person arrived at 11:30pm the night before.  When the doors closed at 4:00pm, 230 reservations had been made for 150 units, and not one two bedroom remained, confirming the hype, that SOHO Champagne is going to be the address in 2014.  When complete, this project will only increase demand for this area, making now a great time to buy in.  Let’s take a look at what we can expect moving forward.

      Greg Blok, Senior Investment Specialist with the Bennett Real Estate Professionals, writes in his article, “A Case for Urbanization”, “The Ottawa housing market has increased in value by 7% per year since 2002.  This 9 year period is slightly higher than the 50 year annual average increase of 6.33%.  In the condo market, in 2002, a new condo was priced on average at $250/per square foot, meaning a 1,000 sqft condo was $250,000, whereas today new condos are priced at $460/sqft meaning a 1,000 sqft unit is $460,000.  That means the 9 year annual increase in condo price is 9.3%.

     That means that condos have really only outpaced the complete housing market by 2.3% annually.  This is not a very significant outpacing, in dollar terms, it means an extra $5750 per year.  That does not seem that significant, but considering the fact that most condos take 3 years to build, that is now a $17,250 increase, a much more significant figure. 

     If you were buying a condo today, based upon the pattern over the past 9 years, the condo you buy today at $460,000 would be worth $588,340 upon completion in 3 years.  That appreciate is quite impressive.”  For the full article click here.

       Let’s say that on the day of the SOHO Champagne launch, you secured a J model, a two bedroom unit, on the 12th floor .  I have selected this floor plan as an example because I believe that this particular unit will outperform the other two bedroom floor plan.  Its over 40ft of wall to wall/floor to ceiling windows will not only make this unit highly desirable in this building but city-wide.  You would have also secured the 2% discount mentioned above.  Your unit was held at $447,000 and if the unit is released it will be sold for $459,000. You would have made $12,000 in one day by purchasing this unit, not to mention the potential growth mentioned above. 

     Little Italy is a fantastic spot for Gen Y, the Baby Boomers and everybody in between.  With all of the new development happening over the next three to five years, expect property values to rise quickly.  For a complete list of all of the available real estate in Little Italy, feel free to give me a call or send me a quick email.

Sold – 95 Beech Unit 210

Just listed and not on the MLS.  This is a very rare, gorgeous and completely renovated corner end unit located in the Heart of Little Italy! Unit 210, a one bedroom, one bathroom, open concept loft, includes 11ft ceilings, exposed brick and duct work, expansive windows which allow plenty of natural light, gas fireplace and so much more. Call me today  to book your private showing!! Won’t last long!!  For more information click here.

Gotham – Batman Might Be Your Neighbour

Ok, so I know Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman was forced to leave Wayne Manor and move into a sweet down town condo while he rebuilds after that devastating fire. I don’t think Bruce  will be making the move to our humble city any time soon,  however that doesn’t mean a place fit for a hero can’t be built for the rest of us.  Enter Gotham.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts Ottawa’s condo market is booming.  Gotham by Lamb Development Corp, will soon too be joining the party.  Gotham will be located on the Southwest corner of Lyon and Gloucester and will offer 17 storeys of  1, 1.5 and 2 bedroom luxury condominiums .  To be invited to the exclusive launch or to stay up to date on all other developments follow me on Twitter @TheTylerLaird or send me a quick email.  Thanks for reading.

Just Listed – 429 Somerset Street West Unit 107 – Reduced $254,500

Gas prices getting you down?  Who needs a car when you can walk to all downtown Ottawa has to offer! This walk up condo is perfect for a couple or young professional. Live near all the excitement! Walk to work, festivals, fine dining, great coffee shops and so much more. Won’t last long!  Call me for more information or to schedule a showing. www.107-429somerset.com

It’s SOHO Yo!

The condo market in Ottawa is with out a doubt booming and there are ton of options. Some examples are 101 Richmond, 111 West and Qwest by Aschroft, 131 Holland and HOM by Domicile, Tribeca and Claridge Plaza by of course Claridge, the Merit by Charlesfort, Central Phases 1, 2 and 3 by Urban Capital and of course, my personal favourites, SOHO Parkway, SOHO Lisgar and SOHO Champagne.

For over 50 years, Mastercraft Starwood has developed, constructed, acquired and managed over 10,000 homes, townhouses, condominiums and hotels throughout Canada with a market value over $1.5 Billion. Mastercraft Starwood is the developer of Toronto’s finest boutique hotel, The SoHo Metropolitan Hotel, and Toronto’s first five-star hotel, The Hazelton Hotel.

Having developed in Ottawa in the past, Mastercraft Starwood in 2009 gave Ottawa their first taste of the “SOHO” brand with SOHO Parkway and like a drug we were hooked. With sleek modern architecture by Rod Lahey, hotel inspired amenities and standard finishes that crushed even the competitors top upgrades, it was a no brainer.  No one else was offering, Quatz counter tops, integrated appliances by AEG, Miela and Leibher, floor to ceiling windows, and marble bathrooms fit for the Las Vegas strip all in the same unit.  So when doors opened on opening night it was pandemonium.  Eager home buyers looking to get a piece of the action had been in line for hours and by the time the doors closed that evening, almost every unit had been spoken for.

Things were not much different in the spring of last year, when SOHO Lisgar was launched.  All of the dejected customers who were unable to get their hands on hotel inspired living in westboro, now had a second chance here to finally get one.  Again, SOHO Lisgar had the same high quality materials and standards demanded by their boutique hotel clientele – well heeled jet setters, movie and rock stars, and C-level executives (CEOs, CFOs, COOs) – who want living spaces equivalent to the comfort of their expensive homes. SOHO Lisgar was pretty much sold out by days end.  Demand is still so great that SOHO Lisgar has just released four more floors, which bring back all of the original floor plans from the initial launch date that were sold out.

So whats next for the SOHO brand?  SOHO Champagne and SOHO Italia, coming soon.  For more information on SOHO or to be registered for the exclusive launch of SOHO Champagne where only a 125 people will be invited and where the first 25 purchasers will receive an iPad 2, send me an email or give me a quick call.  Thanks for reading.  Have a great day!