THE LAST WORD
Q+A WITH FRANCES MARTIN-DIGIUSEPPE, PRINCIPAL AT Q4 ARCHITECTS
Frances Martin-DiGiuseppe is the founding principal and architect at Q4 Architects, a mid-size practice specializing in residential design. Inspired from a young age, she became an architect because she wanted to enhance the everyday lives of Canadian families. With more than 30 years of experience, she has learned that even the smallest design details can have significant impacts on the quality of life for homeowners. NextHome spoke with her to get her insights on the key things to look for when buying a new home.
NextHome: How are new home designs changing, given rising prices, maximizing space available and generally designing smarter and more functional homes? Frances Martin-DiGiuseppe: Functionality and efficiency are key when it comes to a well-designed home. Your personal lifestyle should guide how you prioritize space. Consider whether the allocation of space fits your family’s needs. Open spaces are popular choices for families given that central living areas like kitchens and dining rooms allow for families to spend more time together. I used to say a good family home requires enough space for a large dining table. But, seeing as the modern family spends less time at the dining table, that’s not always a necessity. A kitchen eating area or breakfast bar may be just as sufficient.
With our messy Canadian winters, having a mudroom is essential. It can transform your entryway and transition space by providing dedicated room for dirty boots, school bags, dog leashes and bowls, and a place to hang your coats. NH: How are design considerations changing for low- versus highrise homes? FM-D: The elimination of hallways is an important design feature for both low- and highrise homes. For highrise developments, this means that wasted hallway space can be reallocated to create more livable units. Mid- and highrise homes benefit from building amenity spaces. Amenities become an extension of your personal unit and natural spots where socializing happens, helping to build a sense of community.