By Michael Geller B.Arch, MAIBC, FCIP
While younger households dream of moving into a larger home, many of us often find that our house is getting too big. Our concern is not necessarily the size of rooms, but rather the number of rooms, some of which are no longer used as children have grown up and left home. There is also the cost and inconvenience of looking after gardens and having to carry out repairs…a new roof, water tank, or often much more.
Years ago, when your house was too big, you moved into a rental apartment. But over the past few decades, developers have stopped building rental projects in
As we get older, not only do we want smaller homes, but we want different features. We want a large, modern kitchen with the latest appliances and pantries, and large spacious bathrooms with vanity drawers for an increasing amount of ‘toiletries’. We are often willing to forego separate living, dining and family rooms for one large, well designed space as long as there is room for the family Seder. We want fewer stairs and better lighting and security features.
In response to the need for new housing choices in the community, fifteen years ago, in partnership with the beloved community leader Morris Wosk, I redeveloped four large single family properties on
In Kerrisdale, I helped transform seven lots along
While condominium apartment living is the right choice for many people, it is not for everyone. Many of us would prefer to move into a nearby duplex or smaller ‘cottage style’ single family home on a smaller lot. If only we could find one. Alternatively we might prefer a larger townhouse, especially if it could be individually owned, and not part of a condominium. Some of us might even consider moving into a ‘Laneway Home’ if it was well designed, with parking and an attractive outdoor space.
One of the problems in
Considerable attention is now being given to the future rezoning of land along
I am also exploring opportunities to redevelop larger single family lots into three or four detached or semi-detached houses, each with its own private outdoor space. The homes would be designed with the features many ‘empty nesters’ are seeking including two ‘master bedrooms’, and large open kitchens and living areas. In desired, the original homeowner could move back into a smaller home on the same property. This happened at both
In order to have more housing choices, I think it will be necessary for more of us to speak out. Too often, much needed innovative developments do not proceed because the opponents have a louder voice than the supporters.
I am often reminded of a couple who came to see me when I was planning a high rise building in Point Grey. “Do you have something available with a view?” the lady asked. “Unfortunately, they are all sold.” I had to reply. As they were ready to walk away, the husband turned to me and said “You know, it’s funny. For years my wife and I opposed the development of high rise apartments in this area, but now that we are ready to move into one, we can’t find anything suitable.”