A comfortably renovated, 20-year-old condominium unit is home for a married couple and their child. The “before” plan afforded three bedrooms, and a cramped living and dining space at the end of a snaky hall from the entrance. Since the unit was situated at the southeast corner of the building with many inlets for natural light, a large degree of freedom could be tapped for the “new” plan.
The fresh approach disperses three boxes—space for father and child, space for mother, and space requiring plumbing—throughout the entire unit. The size and placement of each box generates varying dimensions of intermediate space—set about as entrance, living room, dining area, and kitchen. Each box has distinctively finished walls: Chalkboard, blue-sky expanse, and wood grain. The walls express varied emotions across the intermediate spaces.
The entrance provides extra space for taking off or putting on outdoor shoes that suggests indoor roominess. When viewed from the inner reaches of the unit, the mirror-paneled door of the shoe closet delivers a visual perception of greater depth. Residents can scribble notes, write schedules, doodle, and put up papers with magnets on the magnet-friendly chalkboard wall facing the entrance. The bench next to the shoe closet allows shoes to be put on while seated—a moment of respite to check appearances before departure. The brief corridor between entrance and living room hosts chalkboard and blue sky on each side. The alternate color schemes ease the physical constraint.
Father’s room stands independent, near the entrance and away from the living room to accommodate work at special hours. Child’s room is compact, primarily for sleep, and encourages play and study in the common areas. The main living and dining space is appointed at the middle of the unit. which is situated at one corner of the building. The relatively large common space, more windows (by virtue of the unit’s corner position in the building), and intermediate spaces leading to entrance and kitchen deliver a plan devoid of any physical constriction. From the living room to mother’s room, built-in furnishings of cabinetry, shelving, a TV stand, and desks form a continual line integrated with the south-side windows. Mother and child can work or study side-by-side at the desks.
Mother’s room has sliding doors that close when she concentrates work in her studio as comic artist or retires for the night. Otherwise, the doors can slide fully open to create integrated space with the living room. The kitchen cove takes the mid-sized variation of intermediate space to let a few people cook at the same time. Opposite the kitchen counter finished as a straight white board, built-in cabinetry partitions the kitchen from mother’s room.
Cabinets can be accessed alternately from either the kitchen or mother’s room with varied depths for futon bedding, clothing, dishware, and home appliances. The intermediate spaces are fluid and released in a number of directions, providing a feeling of expanse, no matter where you are inside the condominium unit.
Architect: Key Operation Inc. Architects