Forget about downsizing—for HGTV star Todd Talbot, it's more important to "right-size."
Last year the Talbots said so long to Lions Bay, leaving their 3,000-square-foot home (pictured above) for one less than half the size. “A lot of people look at what we did and go, ‘Why? Are you guys crazy?’” HGTV star and real estate guru Todd Talbot says. “But it has actually brought us together. It’s been a really cool phenomenon seeing how being in this more intimate space contributes to us being closer.” That experience inspired his presentation for this year’s Calgary Home and Garden Show, taking place March 1 to 4. Talbot will tackle the question of right-sizing, which he is careful to distinguish from downsizing. “The latter has sacrificial, negative connotations,” he explains. “Right-sizing is a creative way to look not only at renovating a property, but also what you’re buying and where you’re buying it. It’s about figuring out what the right fit is—and that might actually mean you would live in a bigger space.” For the Talbots, the right fit was smaller—a 1,200-square-foot home in East Vancouver. While they loved the Lions Bay house, it was simply so big that significant space was underutilized. “We had a beautiful play room with 20-foot vaulted ceilings and a gorgeous view,” Talbot gives as an example. “What we found was that our kids didn’t want to use it. They wanted to play where we were, and that was normally the kitchen.” When designing their new digs, Talbot kept that in mind. The upstairs—a scant 600 square feet—is an open concept kitchen and living room that keeps the kids close at hand. Multi-purposing space in this way, Talbot says, is “key to maximizing square footage.” Downstairs, a few simple design choices make the basement the place to be. “We have this idea that a basement is cold and dark and uninviting, so we don’t really want to go down there,” Talbot says. But that’s not the case in his East Van home, where the basement houses both bedrooms and a bath. Talbot attributes the welcoming feel to heated flooring and a light, airy colour palette. “These things aren’t expensive,” Talbot says, “yet they can make a space feel a lot more usable.” Looking to renovate with right-sizing in mind? Hit up Talbot’s talk at this year’s Calgary Home and Garden Show, where the designer will explore the topic and detail more of the choices he made to maximize square footage in his own home.
BMO Centre and Corral, Stampede Park Thursday, March 1 to Sunday, March 4