Interior Design Tips : Condo Customization by Yvonne Potter

Having designed for a lot of Ottawa condominium buyers, I have noticed certain aspects of the interior design that developers seem to overlook. Here are my top 3 tips you should review and consider when buying a brand new condominium :

1] Lighting.  Please, please, please review what the developer is offering. I have noticed that all-too-often only the minimum lighting is installed. For example, bedrooms often come with no lighting....not even a junction box to add a fixture later. Make sure you have enough recessed lighting in hall ways, the bathrooms, kitchen and living room so that you can perform required tasks in these rooms such as make up application, food prep and reading.  In an ideal world, the best scenario is to have 3 [or even 4] levels of light including ambient, task, and accent in order to create a functional and versatile space.
 

Using three levels of light [ambient, task and accent]  help make a space functional and inviting, such as this living room and ensuite..

Using three levels of light [ambient, task and accent]  help make a space functional and inviting, such as this living room and ensuite..

A simple design with great task lighting used in this modern bedroom.

A simple design with great task lighting used in this modern bedroom.

2] Electrical, Cable, Data Outlets. Again, in my experience, this is an area where attention to detail is very low. But in the developers' defense, how do they know that you want you television above your fireplace with no cables showing ?  The importance of this step can't be overstated.  If all your electrical needs are designed and planned in advance, all cabling can be concealed from sight. Who wouldn't want that?

A beautiful clean-looking living room with no visible cables.  I wonder where the Xbox and DVD are hidden? Maybe they are hidden behind one of those wood panels.

A beautiful clean-looking living room with no visible cables.  I wonder where the Xbox and DVD are hidden? Maybe they are hidden behind one of those wood panels.

3] Kitchen Cabinet Configuration.  Although you might not want to upgrade to a custom kitchen, you will be able to choose drawers vs. doors. Make sure you take an inventory of your kitchen items and decide if you need the height afforded by a door cabinet [e.g. soup pots, olive oil bottles] or do you prefer the accessibility of pot drawers?  Does a tall single pantry make sense, or an upper and lower cabinet with counter in between ?  Having elevation drawings done will help to visualize what works best for you. 

Also think about grounding your kitchen by using light colors for upper cabinets and dark colors for lowers. 

This kitchen is nicely grounded by using dark colors for the lower cabinets.

This kitchen is nicely grounded by using dark colors for the lower cabinets.

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