Wine and design wisdom make for the perfect pairing.

“The real estate market is changing exponentially,” says False Creek Design Group’s Jim Toy to the crowd gathered at Trail Appliances for the first of Western Living‘s new Design Talks. The topic of discussion was all about livability, and designers Ada Bonini (of BYU Design) and Toy both shared their thoughts on the possibilities of small spaces to a captive audience that braved the rain for a night of design lessons, socializing and a few glasses of wine.”Any sized home can be efficient and effective through smart planning,” Toy says, emphasizing that for residential, multi-family buildings, communal social spaces can be a great way to create both livability and community–where there are shared workshops, fitness rooms, and lounges, there is the opportunity for accidental interaction.Bonini also had social interaction on her list of requirements for livability, including more basic elements like safety and access to health care and education—along with access to daylight and calming, soothing personal spaces; that was key. That being said, “livability is subjective,” says Bonini. Which is why smaller spaces are becoming acceptable to people who might have never considered a 600-square-foot place in the past—she points to Carmel Place, a New York project that’s made small-space living trendy. “They’re asking the question, ‘Why not make small space a luxury?'” Bonini says.

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