Envisioning a space from floor plans and artists’ interpretations takes practice, and often buyers overlook important things. Don’t be fooled by beautiful finishes, it’s the layout and the use of space that is the most important thing when picking a floorplan. We have experience picking the best homes and condos, and we’d like to share our top recommendations. First, we’ll explain what to avoid, and then we’ll explain how to read the floorplans to avoid the top design paux pas.
Pick a floorplan with design sense
A washroom or powder room shouldn’t have a door that fronts into the dining room, it just makes sense. But when looking at floorplans, sometimes people overlook the placement of washrooms, walls, doors, closets, windows, and even the stove, fridge and dishwasher.
When it comes to kitchen design, you want a functional layout where the stove isn’t too far from the sink, and the fridge doesn’t impede the flow in and out of the kitchen.
When it comes to layout, you want the dining room to have easy flow to the kitchen.
Depending on the design of the building, sometimes road vibrations and sounds can be heard inside the home. We usually recommend picking a home that is set far back from a roadway, or if it’s in a condominium, a unit that is above the 10th floor.
Think about natural sunlight
Sunlight is directly related to mental health. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. In a place as cold as Canada, with winters that reduce moral to nothing, it’s important to reenergize at home with natural light. Pick a home that has windows and an outdoor space with an unobstructed view east, west, or south for the best light. North facing condos and homes get very little light, and usually feel colder.
If you're buying a townhouse or home
- Look at the site plan and see where the neighbour’s windows are situated in relation to your home. You don’t want the master bedroom windows facing the neighbours’ master bedroom windows, and the kitchen windows facing the neighbours’ kitchen windows, because you will see your neighbours at all times of the day.
- Plan out where the sun will rise and where it will set, and what rooms will get light when. Most families want a home where the kitchen gets the morning light, and the living areas get the afternoon light.
- Think about the future use of the garden. Sometimes, on small lots, once the home is built, it’s too late to install a swimming pool.
If you're buying a condo
- If your apartment is on the 2nd or 3rd floor and is very close to the sidewalk, people might be able to look into your home.
- Make sure you don’t back onto the elevator shaft, or else you will hear the swoosh of the elevators when it’s quiet.
- Make sure you’re far away from the garage doors, because they will send small vibrations through the nearest units.
- Be at least one unit away from the garbage chute.
- Consider the flow of traffic outside the unit as well, the most private and desirable units are usually at the end of the hallways.
- Avoid low floors that are close to the underground parking, sometimes drivers will honk at corners and the sound will echo to nearby units.
Reading the floorplan
For the most part, the floorplans use common sense. The rooms are labeled, and walls are clearly identified by the thickness of the lines. But here are some things you might not already know.
- The dotted line on the kitchen counter is the depth of the upper cabinets.
- The little squares in some rooms indicate tiles.
- Sliding doors are indicated with offset lines against the wall.
- W.I.C – Walk in Closet
- W/D – Washer and Dryer
- P. – Pantry
- STOR. – Storage area
- LN – Linen closet
- ST – Stove Top
- D/W – Dishwasher
- F – Fridge
Making the decision to purchase a home from plans is a serious undertaking. You need to consider the floorplans, and the use of space. Equally important, is reviewing the builder’s contract to avoid excessive closing costs and fees. We’d be happy to help you navigate the purchase of a home from plans, please contact us here.