Was hoping to get some input on my current appartment layout which will be gutted sometime in the future.


I personally think the layout is not taking full advantage of the space but as I'm not an Architect I can't say for sure. The place is being totally gutted at some point and I though the new (just purchased building) landlords MIGHT be willing to hear me out about a layout change.

The main problem is that it is a small basement apartment that for some reason 2 very small bedrooms were put in it, despite it never being rented out to 2 people. The bedrooms are so small that unless you put a single sized bed in it you can't fit a dresser. Even the door to the closet has been removed because there was no room for the door to open and close properly.

I'd like to see it redone as a 1 bedroom. The nice thing is that the wall to the north leads to a utility room which has the hot water heaters. Also I've included on top of names of my apartment areas, but also a * which shows where the apartment above me has a bathroom, and a # which shows where the upstairs apartment has its kitchen. As you can see, the plumbing possibilities are very open to any change since there are the current pipes that are laid out for my apartment, but also the pipes in the ceiling above me and in the 1 wall that handle water in the apartment above me in completely different spots.

I should add that the yellow and blue strips show the total amount of space if you gutted the apartment into a square, and the orange bar that overlaps the front door shows the approximate range that the front entrance can be moved. It can't go any lower then it is because the outer hallway ends at that point to make room for an electrical room. The side/fire exit really be altered by much more then maybe moving it 1 foot up but that's about as far as it could be moved.

Thank-you to anyone who took the time to read this and a special thanks to anyone who has any suggestions on how this space could be better utilized as a 1 bedroom apartment.


Feb 27, 18 1:52 pm
Non Sequitur

This is confusing, you don't own the property right?  Why would the landlord care?

Feb 27, 18 2:09 pm

We can't give you answers to this without knowing a lot more - for starters the location.  Where I'm located neither of the existing bedrooms is even close to meeting minimal size limits for bedrooms so this would be regulated as a studio apartment if left as-is. 

You're essentially asking for free architectural services, which isn't what this forum is for.  If we start sketching anything for you we can get in hot water for providing services in a state in which we're not licensed (we have a notorious troll whose hobby is reporting real or perceived infractions to state architecture boards).  What I'd suggest is first reading up on whether your location has any regulations on minimal sizes for bedrooms and such for multi-family housing.  That may give you more leverage in a discussion with your landlord about changing the layout during his renovation - but on the other hand threatening him with the fact that this is an illegal 2-bedroom could end up with you evicted because it's an illegal 2-bedroom... Be aware that if anything load-bearing or affecting egress is changed, your landlord would probably need to hire a design professional to develop and stamp plans, and that may be beyond his budget. Even if he's gutting the place, it's probable that he's not going to want to move things like plumbing waste lines very far, especially in a basement apartment - so moving the entrance along your orange line into what's currently the bathroom may not be practical.

It's really your landlord (assuming he's the building owner) who'd need an architect - and he'd need one who is licensed in that locale - so it would be better to speak with someone locally than on this forum.

Feb 27, 18 2:26 pm

Who is said troll?

I'm really enjoying the fractional inch notation. Very clever.

Feb 27, 18 3:02 pm

This is standard, no?

Non Sequitur

no, it's not.


love the bathroom next to the front door, gives guests a prompt intro to the smell of your shit. 

Feb 27, 18 4:46 pm
Non Sequitur

Hey, I lived in a house during grad school that had a modified broom closet in the kitchen with only a single toilet and one of those plastic accordion type doors. I don't even know if there was a hand sink since neither I, or anyone else, ever dared to use it.


Geez dude. Sounds like a bored plumber used to live there.

Non Sequitur

The landlords were mormons. Does that answer the question?


At first I thought that note in the kitchen pointed to "Slide/Fire Exit."  How awesome would that be?

Feb 27, 18 8:21 pm




Non Sequitur

I know I've mentioned this before, but slide fire escapes are specifically prohibited in my building code... they dedicated an entire sentence just to tell me that.


What about firehouse poles? 'Cuz that'd be almost as good.

So wait you want to continue living in a basement? Even if it’s altered to a one bedroom it’s still a basement. No new layout will change it from being a cave.
Feb 27, 18 10:19 pm

Does it even have secondary points of egress from the bedrooms? (windows/doors)

I'd move. 

Feb 28, 18 1:22 pm

Sorry it took so long to get back to this. I never thought of laws regarding getting advice on a floor plan for an apartment. Yes the landlord (new owner) owns the building. I should have put in that I live in Ontario, Canada which probably changes a lot of things law wise. I'll see if I can find out what the minimum bedroom size is for Ontario, assuming there is one.

I wasn't expecting a drawn up floor plan. You spent a lot of time and money going to school to get paid to do that. I was just hoping I could get some general suggestions on what could be moved around to make it work as a decent sized 1 bedroom. If that is still more then you can tell me due to legal reasons I totally understand.

To answer some questions,

Yes, the bedrooms have a window that is big enough to get out of. There are 2 entrance/exits as I've indicated in the drawing. There is also a large window on the far left wall in the main living area and a window at the bottom wall of the kitchen.

Yes my math teacher would murder me for putting a decimal number over a fraction. ;)

Yes, having the bathroom door 2 or 3 feet from the front door is... problematic, at times. :/

I'd love to move to a better place but for right now, the price is right for my needs.

No, I'm not a troll and didn't even know you COULD report architects for giving out advice. (WTF is wrong with this world? Wait, don't answer that. I'm not spending 4 hours reading that post...)

I don't know what walls/corners are load bearing obviously which is a problem for coming up with a redesign. The front door doesn't have to be moved. I simply put in that it possibly could be moved.

Thanks for reading and for all the responses!

Mar 7, 18 1:43 pm
Non Sequitur

Yes, there are minimum bedroom sizes in Ontario... actually, there are minimum sizes for other spaces too. What are they? Well, it depends on a few factors such as available glazed area (daylight), availability of ventilation (natural or mechanical), closet space, egress, and the age of building. This is something the landlord will require a real professional to design anyways so unless you're willing to buy the space and hire an architect yourself, it's probably best to leave it to those who know what they are doing.

Non Sequitur

Darkmatter, in addition to being paid for plans, we also get paid for code review and comments on client design intents or feasibility. I personally started my career designing renovations in old 60+ year old brick flats in Ottawa, essentially turning old boiler rooms, storage areas and other less desirable spaces into apartments. It's much more difficult that you think.

The 20' distance across the unit would lead me to think the walls of the bedrooms might be bearing walls. 20' spans are expensive and residential multifamily construction often is built as economically as possible.

But I think if the landlord is gutting it they already have a design in mind or they would not have bought the building. Also gutting might be a rehab where drywall or plaster is removed to the studs and new wiring and drywall is installed without changing the layout much.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Mar 7, 18 3:57 pm

I'm having a hard time finding out, or finding out where to go to find out if my bedroom meets the min requirement. There's lots on the window, but less on the bedroom size. This is also complicated by the closet taking up space and leaving a small "entrance" as you pass over the door threshold. I can say that the building was built in the 1950's so grandfather clauses may be in effect. I know they are for the electrical. My entire main room, all the outlets, the kitchen ceiling fan/light, AND the fridge are all on ONE 15 amp 1950 style fuse / fuse box... I bought a Kill-A-Watt device and while I seem to somehow be skirting under the wire (no pun intended) in the winter, my window AC pulls up to 10 amps on its own. My vacuum pulls 7 when I have the power head on it. I know appliances often pull more amps at the start then when they're up and running so I'm quite interested to add up all those amps come spring.

And regarding the first part of my post, if anyone knows either the rules for a bedroom from a building built in 1950 (no idea what renovations were done since then) or a link of where I can find the answer that would be a big help.


Mar 7, 18 5:27 pm
Non Sequitur

See my post above about it being more difficult than you think. Minimum sizes and “grandfather” clauses are listed in the Ontario building code (OBC) division 9 as well as its relevant supplemental compendium divisions.


what's the landlord's motivation going to be to agree to change a current 2-bedroom to a 1-bedroom?  It would be pretty rare that a landlord would value a current tenant more than the future profitability of the unit.  Even if moving drain lines and such weren't an issue, you may not be able to slide the front door, because it may move that door too far from a building exit - but none of us can say without the full basement floor plan, and knowledge of this building's construction type, occupancy, sprinklers, etc.  This is the kind of help that your landlord should be paying an architect or engineer for, if the landlord wants to pursue the changes.

Mar 8, 18 12:55 pm

As I said I think in my original post, the unit is not really big enough for 2 people to live as roommates. From what I understand it has
always been rented out to only 1 person. The door doesn't have to move, I
only put in where it could move. Also moving it would actually put it
closer to the emergency lights and stairs up to the exits. I also have
the 2nd emergency fire exit of course.

I actually think the unit would be worth more with a bedroom big enough to put both a bed and a dresser in it. The extra space that wasn't used for the bedroom could either make the bathroom, kitchen, or main room bigger. I actually don't think the room meets code. A non-bachelor apartment is suppose to have 1 master bedroom that is at least 8.8m2. My room just barely makes it to 7. (I found out by emailing my towns building code division.)

Of course, telling your new landlord that his 2 basement apartments don't meet code isn't a good way to make friends...

Mar 8, 18 10:28 pm
Non Sequitur

I just love how you deliberately ignore the comments from those who know what they are doing.

Busy looking for confirmation of his ignorance and too dim to realize that he found it.


I'd rather admit ignorance in an area that I never took any education or training in then be purposely and overtly rude and hostile.

Being aggressively cheap is a rude and hostile act. Either hire a professional and pay them fairly or STFU and do it yourself.


You should really put up on the "register" page that this forum is ONLY for Architects and nobody else should come in and ask any questions. Problem solved.

And yea, this is really aggressive... *rolls eyes*

"I wasn't expecting a drawn up floor plan. You spent a lot of time and

money going to school to get paid to do that. I was just hoping I could
get some general suggestions on what could be moved around to make it
work as a decent sized 1 bedroom. If that is still more then you can
tell me due to legal reasons I totally understand."

It's not your post here that's aggressive - that's just a demonstration of your sense of entitlement. It's the way you treat and complain about the architect you're shortchanging. doG only knows why he took your job in the first place.

Everyone is welcome here, hope you've enjoyed your visit, though I doubt you've learned anything from it.


I remember everything you said, and appreciate all of it. I was simply clarifying a couple things, adding that I got info from the person in my town that heads up the building code department, and my personal opinion regarding 1 vs 2 bedrooms.

Also, if the head of OBC for my town tells me that a non-bachelor apartment should have one, 8.8m2 bedroom and mine only has 7m2, why would I not believe him?

Mar 9, 18 12:28 pm
Non Sequitur

First, head of OBC is not a thing. You spoke to a plans examiner and although they can provide comment, it is not the full answer. Plans examiner folks also hold no liability or professional responsibilities, hence why your landlord needs to hire and pay for an architect. For example, while section tells you 8.8m2 minimum because of the closet (area of closet counts btw), it does not take into account table for glass area nor any division B part 11 clauses. Second, you cannot use a modern version of the building code to address minor area discrepancies. If your landlord is indeed gutting the apartment completely, then they will likely have to convert the rooms to suit but a cosmetic renovation does not. Chances are one of those 2 rooms meets the 8.8 when you take into account the closet. Other bedroom minimum sizes are even less.


Appreciate your additional info. I went back and looked at that persons email. His exact title is "Chief Building Official"

Mar 9, 18 1:26 pm

Measured the 1 length of the bedroom that I missed in my drawing. The room comes to 11' x 8' 2" which works out in m2 to be about 9.1m2, just over the 8.8m2 line.

I was surprised that a room as small as mine would qualify as a "master bedroom." Oh well, I learned something new today. I'll still bring the issue up. I was more curious then anything. I wasn't planning to use the code to exert my will onto my landlord. Not a good practice at any time.

Non Sequitur

what city / town are you in anyways?


Sorry Non Sequitur but I live in a fairly small town so I don't want to say where exactly I live. I'm in SW Ontario. If I lived in a bigger place like London, Toronto, Ottawa, I'd have no problem saying I live in that city, but I'm not comfortable giving that info out due to the size of my town.

Anyways, you've helped more then enough. You've given me info, told me what I should and shouldn't expect, and even told me what kind of things I should be Googling.

I really do appreciate all your help, even with some people being less then friendly due to that magic courage pill known as "anonymity online."

Pot, meet Kettle.

Non Sequitur

DM, you're welcomed. SW Ontario is specific enough. Just don't be surprised if you need to find new lodgings as it is not typical for new owners to keep existing tenants during large renovations... I don't even think it's legal or else they need to pay for hotels and whatnot.

I did not read this thread, thank you.

Mar 9, 18 10:29 pm
Non Sequitur

Why not? There is tantalizing side story about minimum bedroom sizes in basement apartment in Ontario.

Something is wrong, I just want to hide.


I had no idea my original post would cause such a stir.

Non Sequitur

Darkmatter, if you would search our forum a bit, you'll notice that we often get realtors, do-it-yourself home owners, or others looking to skip out on paying for services ask questions. They all get rejected and their projects ridiculed. Yours was just a little different and you are lucky that there was at least one person who knew the answer.


No problem,  never tried to force my post down anyone's throat.

Mar 10, 18 4:32 pm

The "magic courage pill known as 'anonymity online' " is an excellent turn of a phrase that I'm going to steal and use again.

Unfortunately it seems to be more an expression of cowardice than anything.  Good luck with your housing and research.

Mar 10, 18 5:57 pm

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