People often say, “What can you really tell about a unit from looking at the floor plan?”
While I tend to agree, you have to remember that floor plans are the only alternative with pre-construction.
In the end, it’s more easy to identify things you don’t like than things you do…
Okay, I don’t actually know what the heck this colorful floor plan above is actually for. I just found it on Google and it looks crazy!
About 2-3 times per week, I get a package from one of the new developments throughout Toronto that is filled with details on the project including prices, features, finishes, and floor plans.
The first thing I do is look at the price of the units (I’ll look for the location of the project if I haven’t heard of it already), and calculate the price per square foot in the low, mid, and high price ranges. Then once I have an idea as to the affordability of the project, I’ll decide if I like the floor plans.
Reading a floor plan isn’t rocket science, but you need to be able to picture the actual unit. This is easier said than done for most people, but because I see thousands of condos a year up-close-and-personal, I tend to read these things like braille.
Take this small 1-bedroom unit, for example:
This is a 1-bedroom-plus-den, 2-bathroom unit of about 849 square feet. Right off the bat, I like it on paper because I don’t think there are enough large 1-bedroom units in the city. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see 2-bedroom units around 700 square feet.
1) I’m not a huge fan of dens in general, unless they are very open and feel like an extension of the rest of the room, sort of like how a dining room in a house is an extension of the living room. In the floor plan above, note that you walk through the front door and are right inside your kitchen. To the right, the kitchen tile extends to the threshold of the “den,” but first you must walk through a small section containing the washer/dryer and the hall closet.
2) Don’t let the floor plan fool you – this kitchen is “open concept” and there is no wall there behind the kitchen sink and dishwasher. If there was a wall there, there would be two lines for the wall much like in the den. I’m not just a fan of the open or “pocket” kitchen, I demand it! A closed kitchen kills the vibe in any condo.
3) See the large “X” there? That is a mechanical room, probably containing the hot water tank, furnace, etc. Many people look at the two bathrooms and assume they are both 4-piece and that the “X” is a tub or shower, but this is actually a 2-piece powder-room.
4) I like that the balcony is accessed from the living room and not the bedroom. When you have to go through the bedroom to get to the balcony, you use it less, and it feels invasive for guests.
Let’s take a look at another floor plan:
This is a 1-bedroom-plus-den, 1-bathroom unit of 698 square feet.
1) Look at how small this kitchen is! See where the “1” is—you’d feel so claustorphobic in that corner where there is a cupboard on the other side. At least with the first unit there was space on either sides of the kitchen.
2) I wish there was more flow between the “den” and the living/dining room. If the bathroom were pushed up a bit, the den and the living room would connect, and it would give the unit an overwhelming sense of space. This way, the “den” could act as a dining room or other entertaining space, but still be seen and felt from the living room.
How about this one:
This is a 789 square foot 1-bedroom with a “breakfast nook” or “eat-in-kitchen.”
1) I hate hallways in condos. They are just unused space, and you pay by the square foot. See the arrows going UP and then RIGHT? It feels like that computer game Lemmings from back in the day. Whatever you do—don’t stray off course!
2) More hallway, and once you make the right-hand-turn it’s about six paces past the kitchen. Just too much wasted space!
3) This is the worst feature of this unit -the dreaded galley-kitchen! These are for narrow houses, not condos. That wall is solid and you can’t see the kitchen from the living room.
4) Never fear – we have pantry doors! “Come to our condo, where it’s 1958 all year round!” I think saloon-doors might give this unit a Western touch…
Of the three of these floor plans, the one I like the most (or dislike the least) is #1. I usually prefer “square-plans” and #3 is too mis-shapen for my liking. Floor plan #2 has a cramped kitchen that just isn’t solid, usable space and of course the den that while larger than #1, won’t get much attention.
These floor plans all come from a new development called “The Bayview” which I will review tomorrow…