Concord Adex's Presentation Centre for CityPlace has been around for over a decade now. The low-slung modern building at the corner of Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard acts as a sales centre for the condominiums the company builds, and as corporate offices for the company. Now the centre has become an occasional venue for neighbourhood events as well.

The first of these in December was an Interior Design Seminar made available to any CityPlace resident. The free event included a catered meal and featured speakers Suzanne Bettencourt, Principal at figure3 Interior Design, Decorator Janice Lindsay of Pink Colour and Design, and Brian Fong of Concord Adex.

Suzanne Bettencourt, Janice Lindsay, and Brian Fong, iamge by Craig WhiteSuzanne Bettencourt, Janice Lindsay, and Brian Fong, iamge by Craig White

In the Concord CityPlace Presentation Centre, image by Craig WhiteIn the Concord CityPlace Presentation Centre, image by Craig White

Suzanne Bettencourt kicked off the evening with a frank discussion about the ever-smaller condo, and how good design can make living in smaller spaces comfortable. Suzanne looked at how people make do in the much smaller spaces now being built in cities like Bangkok, New York, and Hong Kong where a "transformer apartment" has become a YouTube sensation

Suzanne Bettencourt of figure3 presents while Brian Fong listens, iamge by CraigSuzanne Bettencourt of figure3 presents while Brian Fong listens, iamge by Craig White

Tight spaces feel larger when designed well, image courtesy of Concord AdexTight spaces feel larger when designed well, image courtesy of Concord Adex

If we're not exactly all building Gary Chang's Hong Kong transformer suite, in many cases the answer can still be transformational furniture, as seen in the image above of a Concord CityPlace model suite. The desktop in the image is cleverly designed to fold away and underneath the pull-down Murphy bed hidden in the cupboard above. It's hinged so that it will drop flat; items on the desktop will stay on the surface while the space coverts to provide a bed, and those items will still be on the desktop when the bed is hidden away again the next day! Bettercourt also emphsizes the importance of proper lighting to make a space inviting and useful. Bettencourt likes a neutral colour pallette which allows you to use vibrant accessories for accents of colour.

Janice Lindsay encourages bolder use of colour, however. The decorator, colour consultant and author believes that walls don't have to be white and that you can make your home, whether it is a condominium or a house, more your own—and a happier place—by choosing the right colours to create vibrant spaces.

Janice Lindsay encourages bolder decor choices, image by Craig WhiteJanice Lindsay encourages bolder decor choices, image by Craig White

Suite decorated by Janice Lindsay featuring an Edward Burtynsky printSuite decorated by Janice Lindsay featuring an Edward Burtynsky print

Furniture in neutral colours will fit well in many bold wall-colour schemes. Objets d'art that you have can suggest the colours of the wall they will hang on. In the image above, flashes of red in the Edward Burtynsky photograph suggested the red used on the walls of a private CityPlace condo unit that Lindsay decoated. Of note above, the trim and door went red too: why highlight the trim instead of the pieces you have carefully chosen for your home?

Brian Fong's talk looked at ways of maximizing views and natural light in your suite by opening up the walls between living areas and bedrooms with sliding partitions, and promoted the transformation of rooms through multiple uses.

Image from Brian Fong's talk illustrating storage capacityImage from Brian Fong's talk illustrating storage capacity

Fong noted that even a 300 square foot studio living space can hold eveything most people need through the clever placement of built in storage. Platform beds are great for the massive storage that can be hidden underneath, while fridges and other appliances can also be integrated into storage cabinets with a seemless look.

Units in Toronto condos aren't typically as small as in many world cities yet, and that includes the units at Concord CityPlace. Increasingly higher land values do mean that unit sizes are coming down though so that the suites can remain affordable to the average buyer, and that trend is only expected to intesify in coming years. While the room to roam inside may be shrinking, intelligent design and decor goes a long way to making even small spaces workable and happy places. 

The evening was fun, and allowed participants to munch during the presentations, and then ask the experts questions afterwards. Concord expects to bring more seminars on varying topics to its presentation centre in the coming months.

In the meantime, beyond the walls of the presentation centre Concord Adex is currently bringing their flagship Parade condominium project to completion, while the latest CityPlace projects to go under construction are Spectra and Quartz, to the immediate west of Canoe Landing Park. You can find out all about them by visiting the UrbanToronto dataBase pages for each project li ked below, or get in on the discussion by choosing one of the associated Forum thread links.