Laugh at the question if you want to, but believe it or not, a lot of Torontonians will be forced to answer this question in the next decade.
Condos are being built smaller and smaller, for a variety of reasons which is a topic for another day.
And while I’m fascinated by these 800-something square-foot three-bedroom condos, I’d like to focus on 1-bedroom condos today.
What is the smallest space in which you could live? And what would that look like?
Do you know the size of the average jail cell in the United States?
48 square feet.
That’s a 6 x 8, single-person cell.
Throughout the country, there exist some luxurious 6 x 9, single person cells.
But there also exist 6 x 12, two-person cells.
Of course, there are also open gymnasiums with hundreds of bunk beds in prisons with over-crowding, but that doesn’t really play into our real estate analogy.
I suppose the thought here is: how much larger do you expect your condo to be, than this:
Okay, I cheated a little.
That’s actually a spacious two-person cell.
And considering I just spent ten minutes Googling prison cells, that’s one of the nicest prison cells you will ever find!
In any event, I think we’re a ways from creating 50 square foot condos, and we’re also a ways from living in drawers:
But with the way condos in Toronto are shrinking, there simply must be a limit, or a “bottom line,” for most people.
Whether it’s a look, a feel, or simply a number of square feet, what is the bottom line for you?
I don’t believe I have ever sold a condo of less than 400 square feet.
In fact, I think the smallest unit I’ve ever sold is probably around 450 square feet.
On Monday night, I have a client bidding (I know, every condo has “bids” now…) on a 480 square foot unit that feels palatial, when compared to the actual number of square feet. And that’s important to note: small spaces can feel a lot smaller, or larger, depending on the layout.
There is a number at which a true 1-bedroom condo ceases to be possible, and that’s probably somewhere south of 400 square feet.
I’ve been looking at a handful of condos, some existing, some planned, and examining units that are less than 400 square feet.
I want those of you who read floor plans like Braille to tell me which spaces work, and which don’t.
And I want the rest of you, who may or may not have any idea how to read a floor plan, to give me your honest opinion about these spaces.
Let’s look at five condos, in descending order of square footage:
Condo #5 – “The Britt” – Bay & Wellesley
Here’s a typical sub-400 square foot unit for you.
This is at “The Britt,” which is a pre-construction development by Lanterra Developments, located at Bay & Wellesley.
The issue I have with this floor plan (and we’re assuming I like any floor plan below 400 sqft), is the long foyer.
There’s no measurements here, but it looks like of the 396 square feet in this unit, a good 50-60 square feet is tied up in a useless hallway.
I don’t know if I trust the “furnishings” in any of these floor plans.
Keep in mind, a king-sized bed is 8 x 7 with a modest bed-frame, so when you see the floor plans including beds, chairs, night stands, et al, they’re probably tiny.
Note that the chair on the left almost touches the kitchen counter, and that 4-person-table-with-chairs, that looks like a smushed mushroom, is only moderately larger than one of the living room chairs. I’d have a hard time believing you can actually fit a 4-person table and four chairs.
Condo #4 – “Nicholas Residences” – 75 St. Nicholas Street
Only one square foot smaller than the first floor plan, this unit at 75 St. Nicholas Street does not have the big hallway that I didn’t like.
It does, however, have something potentially worse.
That giant black circle is deal-breaker.
A pillar is bad enough in your typical floor-plan, but in a 395 square foot condo, which is hard enough to furnish as is, it completely kills the space.
Condo #3 – “Massey Tower” – 197 Yonge Street
Built atop the Canadian Bank of Commerce building, circa 1905, this massive 60-storey, 699-unit building will tower atop the heritage site like the birds that crapped on the old structure for a decde. If you think I’m kidding, I’m not. It was so bad, the buidling became known as “the bird poop building.”
This is the best layout so far, although you have to admit – it’s only because the furniture outlines make the space work.
The issue I have here is the awkward angle.
These towers are designed to look aesthetically pleasing from the outside, and that comes before the interior layouts. Otherwise, every single condo in the city would be a perfect square.
The result, is that diagonal slanted window.
and as you can see from what is probably a double-bed, or less, there’s one inch of space between the bed-frame and the window.
It should also be noted in all of these layouts, that there’s virtually no room to store your clothing. That closet behind the washer-dryer is all the space in the condo.
Downsize your condo, downsize your wardrobe…
Condo #2 – “365 Church Condos” – Church & Granby
Completed only a few months ago, this Menkes Developments condominium is a mere 21-storeys; which basically makes it “low-rise” in 2018.
Only one square foot smaller than the previous floor plan above, this is a far better layout.
This unit is square, which makes all the difference.
However, there’s that damn pillar again! Not the large black circle which you’d wish was an end table once you move in.
I would estimate that’s four feet from the end of the pillar to the window, which completely kills about 30-40 square feet of your 377 square foot condo.
Condo #1 – “Wellesley On The Park” – 11 Wellesley Street
300 square feet, folks.
We’re reached the bottom of the barrel.
Did you ever think you’d see a 300 square foot condo?
This 60-storey, 739 unit condominium by Lanterra Developments is scheduled for compeltion later this year, and there are a whole lot of 300-something-square-foot units!
It’s incredible because during my search, I found a lot of units that were 350-400 square feet, but there aren’t that many below 350.
Art Shoppe Condos has a lot in the low-300’s, but I figured this one was far more interesting.
The living/dining/kitchen is 11’6″ by 12’4″, and that’s basically your condo. 142 square feet.
Once again, the diagonal-slanted wall makes the space really awkward.
Condo #(-1): “Karma Condos” – Yonge & College
Because I did.
After I found the 300 square foot unit at Wellesley on the Park, I thought I was finished.
But alas, karma struck.
Karma Condos, that is, and their miserable 277 square foot unit.
I do believe that’s the smallest condo available for sale in the city, but please, oh please, let me know if you find one smaller…
So what do you think, folks?
Do any of these tickle your fancy?
Could you live in 277 square feet?
What about 395 square feet?
I welcome your thoughts…