A 500-Square-Foot Colorful Maximalist Condo in Toronto

updated Apr 30, 2019

A 500-Square-Foot Colorful Maximalist Condo in Toronto

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Square feet
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Name: Chad Burton, Burger Kim, and Terrence the cat
Location: Queen West — Toronto, Canada
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 7 months, owned

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As creatives whose vision is often outside the box, this couple has completely (and colorfully) transformed a bleak condo into a vibrant masterpiece. Chad Burton has a career as a stylist and fashion editor, while Burger works as Canada’s visual merchandiser for Gucci. Together, they’ve used every corner and inch of their 500-square-foot space to invite character and style into the home.

They’ve done so by adding color and molding to the walls, sourcing vintage furniture from Craigslist, and determining a layout and flow in the space that works for them. Removing sliding doors in the bedroom and laundry unit and replacing with curtains, for example, has made the space feel roomier and less divided.

“Everything you own in a small space should mean something to you or make your heart happy.”

Originally from a small town in the Canadian prairies, Chad was teaching English in Seoul when he met Burger who was home visiting his mom for the holidays. After a year of keeping in touch from afar, Chad made a move to London where Burger was living. After two years in London, building both their relationship and careers in the fashion industry, they moved here to Toronto. Sharing such diverse homes has no doubt influenced their style, and their intentional design of spaces translates to a cool, curated maximalism. Both also appear to have a commitment to—and knack for—maximizing a small space.

“If you don’t use a piece of furniture often enough like a chair or a desk, rethink and swap it out for something else more useful,” says Chad. Neither should you fear large-scale furniture: “Our couch is large for the unit we have but it acts as the focal point and it’s where everyone gravitates towards, so why not have it be a statement.”

Thriving in a small space may very well come down to flexibility of function, and Chad suggests something practical for fellow small space dwellers: “Put felt tips on the legs of furniture to be able to slide them around easier, making your place more flexible depending on how you are using it—be it day-to-day use or when entertaining.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Curated hoarding.

Favorite Element: The light! Our last apartment was a dark cave, this is the exact opposite. The view isn’t so bad either.

Biggest Challenge: Trying to have nice things with a cat that likes to vomit.

What Friends Say: They love how open it is compared to our last place

Biggest Embarrassment: The creaky, dark laminate wood floor that must have been installed improperly by the former owners. It sounds like a 100-year-old house, even Terrence makes noise when he walks. Plus dark floors show everything. And an angry toilet.

Proudest DIY: I’m proud of measuring, cutting, and installing the molding in the living room. Burger is very proud of his idea to remove the door of the laundry room to replace with a curtain to maximize space.

Biggest Indulgence: Other than the mortgage itself, the EQ3 shelving unit. The sofa would have been if we purchased it new as it was custom made, but we found it for a steal on Craigslist.

Best Advice: Everything you own in a small space should mean something to you or make your heart happy. Also purge often.

Dream Sources: Mjölk in Toronto, élément de base in Montreal, fabric from I Segni Del Tempo in Milan.


Benjamin Moore – Polar Jade (living/dining), Onyx (bedroom), Fruit Punch (behind bar)
Premier by Canadian Tire – Golden Corn (front door)
Para — Earthenware (bathroom)

Copper Pendant – Pavilion
Climb Desk and Shelving Unit – EQ3
Gallery Frame Black — Indigo
Tarva 3-Drawer Chest (x2) – IKEA – top stained to match EQ3 shelving unit and painted matte black with drawer pulls from Home Depot
Rug — Urban Outfitters
Stool – Craigslist find
Copper Cat Bowls — CuBowl
Phi Brass Scissors — Hay
Helmer Red Drawer Unit — IKEA
Light Nude Boy Planter – Group Partner

Sectional – Custom made by Ideal Sofa (found on Craigslist)
Pyramid Porceline Vessel – Alissa Coe
Horse Head Match Striker – Jonathan Adler at Holt Renfrew
TV Stand – Craigslist find
Coffee Table – Top from a table found on street, bottom from chair pieces by Design Republic
Edison Bulb — Morba
Black and White Planter – CB2
Blue Mood Mask – HAY

Glass Table – Craigslist find
Striped Chair – Found on street, metal painted black
Red Chair – Craigslist find, wood painted red
Wood Cut-out Artwork — @racetrackpony
Orange and Teal Step Stool – Craigslist find
Gallery Frame White – Indigo
Gallery Walnut Frame – CB2
Hutch – Ransack the Universe with brass drawer pulls from Home Depot
Eames Replica Chair – Kitchen Stuff Plus
Koldby Cowhide Carpet — IKEA
Crystal Candleholders – From my Nan
Pink Candles – Yummi
Copper Candelabra – Handmade
Takazawa Shaped Candles — Neighbour

House Doctor Measurement Jar – Drake General Store
Le Creuset Butter Dish — Hudson’s Bay
Copper French Press – Starbucks
Flour, Sugar, etc. Containers – Target

Half Chrome Light Bulb — Morba
Tripod Light — Pavilion
Mandal Bed, Headboard and 3-Drawer Dresser – IKEA
Striped Plant Pot — Dynasty
Hudson’s Bay 4-Point Blanket – House of Vintage

Hutch – Craigslist find (we painted the drawer pulls black and added the peg board sliding door)
Cross Bath Towels – Drake General Store
Turkish Bath Towel — Zebuu
Vilto Towel Stand – IKEA
Rubber-Coated Soap Pump – CB2
Karla Cement Shower Curtain – CB2
Sayayo Toilet Paper Roll Holder — Amazon
Storjorm mirror – IKEA

Thanks, Chad and Burger!

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