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Condo Scene: Creating a Zen living space


Toronto’s Andrew Richard Designs.

Your balcony needs to be an inviting space, like this one designed by Toronto’s Andrew Richard Designs.

In a world as hectic as ours, with a culture of immediacy and the stress it creates, it’s getting harder and harder to shut off and detox. Creating a Zen condo is the ultimate way of ensuring your home time is down time.

I asked buyers what they would consider Zen living and came up with an interesting array of qualities you can incorporate into your space.

Breath of fresh air

Start with a central location that offers a quiet and peaceful feeling once inside. Many condos can meet that requirement, but certainly being able to open windows — and bring the outdoors in — is important.

Of course, when windows are open, you want to ensure there is no ambient street noise. Buildings near highways or tunnels can be a negative for this reason.

Some buildings do not have windows that open. This is a must for a Zen condo. If you’re buying new construction, check the type of windows to be installed and find out which rooms will have windows you can open.

When you sleep, do you require fresh air? If so, does the bedroom window open and is the room still quiet? How can you get a cross breeze in your condo? And if you cannot, can you live without that?

Outdoor touch

Having outdoor space such as a balcony or terrace is another excellent way of adding a serene feel to your condo.

I recently saw an urban rooftop terrace with a herb garden. Not only do herbs smell fantastic, they can be very useful. The best part about a condo herb garden is, depending on your floor, it may be out of reach of squirrels and other pests.

Keep in mind that your balcony should not be a place for junk. Consider getting an outdoor storage container to tuck things away and give you a space to store pillows during damp weather.

In a recent column, I elaborated on the perks of soothing water features. Don’t discount the relaxation factor involved with these.

Back inside

To be truly Zen, you have to focus on inner peace. This includes enhancing tranquility in the interior of your condo. Make your bathroom Zen by rolling your towels and buying your favourite L’Occitane soap or a diffuser.

Or try some of the aromatherapy products at York Street Spa in the ByWard Market. While you’re there, grab some Aveda tea. Not only does it smell delicious, it tastes delicious and is guaranteed to put you in a Zen state of mind.

And, of course, candlelight — either battery operated or natural — can go a long way to help relax.

Finally, add some chlorophyll and you may even breathe better. It has been shown that a home with green plants is healthier. Create an outdoor space inside for reading or sipping wine amongst the shrubbery.

Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 25 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Christie’s International Real Estate. Reach her through

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