Modern Improv: Making a Downtown Condo Feel Spacious

In order to keep with the large scale of the pillar, a custom 10-foot-long, stainless steel hood was installed.
Photograph provided by Dream House Dream Kitchens

This 1,880-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath condo was already modern. But the new residents wanted more closet space, more-open kitchen space, and more of an overall expansive feeling to showcase their own ultra-modern style.

The condo is located in a downtown Madison building that was converted from a parking ramp into condos in the early 1990s. The parking ramp’s wide structural pillars have always been a design challenge in the living space, but in the new design, the pillars would become a focal point. Because why not have the pillars work into the design instead of having to work around them? A custom, walnut, waterfall-edge bar top wrapped around the pillar in the kitchen became a statement piece of the design. The warm, natural walnut wood tones bring a sense of warmth into the otherwise austere white and stainless steel room. Highlighting the presence of the pillars adds to the industrial chic feel of the space, creating a true conversation piece.

Counters and cabinets were constructed at angles on the bias in the original design. Straightening out the lines in the kitchen created more room to move and an open feel to the workspace, and there is now more walkway space between the back wall and island. The former floating desk/organizational space was removed and the coat closet modified so that the wraparound bar and a wine fridge could be added.

In order to keep with the large scale of the pillar, a custom 10-foot-long, stainless steel hood was installed. The repeated long horizontal lines of the hood, walnut countertop, and quartz slab backsplash are all nice counterpoints to the strong vertical pillar. And we replaced standard-sized doors with eight-foot doors to keep things in scale as well.

Before the remodel, one entered the condo through a hallway that appeared as a wall of doors leading to a front closet and utility area. Blowing out the front closet and modifying the laundry and storage portions of the utility room created a new den that doubles as a welcoming entry space. A clever city skyline mural was also added with a hidden door to the new utility closet.

Another holdover from the parking ramp days is a slope in the floors due to the grade of the original ramp surfaces. Removing tile and hardwood flooring surfaces and refinishing the existing concrete flooring throughout the entire condo eliminated the need for transitional grading between flooring materials.

Reallocating the space from hallway built-ins to the master bath space created a larger cavity where closet shelving could be added, resulting in more storage space with less bulk. The new master bath design also required reconfiguration of the shower space. Bold marble mosaic tile and new high-gloss cabinetry and counters complete the look.

More people, including young professionals, young families, and maturing empty nesters, are choosing condos. It seems that every month there is a new mixed-use development under construction, with businesses on the ground level and condos on the upper floors. A condo has the same remodeling and custom design potential as a single-family home structure. Smaller condos can feel spacious and be adapted to gain entertaining and storage space, and a condo owner can create a showcase of their own personal style.

Jerry Schmidt is the Dream Team sales director at Dream House Dream Kitchens.

Dream House Dream Kitchens
5117 Verona Road
Fitchburg, WI 53711