Monday, June 30, 2014

Making Space Count

I visited a condo on the top floor of a Plateau triplex with a client today. It was a fascinating experience. The condo was a good 1,100 square feet of living space, not at all shabby by Plateau standards. It had good light, two good balconies and up to date plumbing, electrical and a new roof.

And yet...

There was something definitely off about this particular condo. The space was weirdly used. The owner, who had lived there for 25 years, had converted it from a three-bedroom into a two-bedroom but she'd done it in such a way that the place seemed cramped. How do you knock out a bedroom and make a place feel smaller?

The owner, une dame d'un certain age, was European and she'd done some peculiar things to the place, like adding a sauna where part of the south-facing kitchen should have been. Instead of a nice eat-in kitchen with windows on two sides, she had a  narrow galley kitchen. Oh yeah, there was no oven. Correction, there was an oven, the kind that is usually set into the wall, but it was sitting on the floor and was being used as a makeshift table, with a tablecloth draped over it.

Instead of yer basic Whirpool or Kenmore, she had a Super Wave Oven, a gizmo that looked like a popcorn popper or inverted crockpot. You will be surprised to learn that it is sold on TV and in the kind of catalog you find on long-haul international flights. Check out the video:

She assured us that she could cook an entire meal for a dinner party without a stove or oven. I was skeptical. More to the point, buyers are skeptical, too. Her condo has been on and off the market for three years. That tells me I'm not the only visitor who found the space weird and poorly concieved.

What Were They Thinking?

No but seriously. I have a condo for sale and was taking a look at what else is available for sale in the building. This is what I found.

To be fair, bathrooms are notoriously hard to photograph. The smallest room in the house does not lend itself easily to the horizontal photo layout requirements of the GMREB. But still...

Seriously. Could one take a worse, more thoughtless and careless photo of a loo?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Verdun's Histroic May St. a Casualty of the new Champlain Bridge

Here's an update from the March of Progress file. The design of the "new" Champlain Bridge was released this week. It looks like a beauty and anyone who lives in Verdun or travels from southwest Montreal or the South Shore by car is no doubt excited about the relief a new and not decrepit bridge will bring.

Sadly, La Presse reports this morning that 16 homes on May St. will be demolished as part of the project.

Amy Barratt and I have spent more than a little time on May St., having sold two big and solid Victorian homes on the street in recent years. I have to say, it makes me a little sad to think of all that history being lost to the bulldozers.

Here's a previous post about the street's history.  And another.

It is true, the elevated part of the approach to the Champlain Bridge now cuts right past the second floor of these beauties, creating a steady rumble of traffic noise and a constant fine sifting of dust. Still, people learned to live with their front windows closed and to enjoy the quiet and cool that two-foot thick stone walls afford.