38 Otis | Boston, MA

38 Otis | Boston, MA

38 Otis | Boston, MA
We recently worked with a property owner to renovate and resell the two condo units on their property. First step in the process was measure and verify existing conditions - which surprisingly came at way lower than what was on the original stamped plans. At a closer look we realized that the original plan square footage was calculated from the exterior face of wall. We had heard of this method years ago, but personally had only calculated from the inside face. Turns out, there are at least five different ways to measure condo square footage. We were a little surprised as well. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

Walls-out method: measured from the inside and taken from architectural drawings.

ANSI method: measured from the exterior of the property, walls aren’t subtracted.

Walls-in method Total Space: includes closets, storage, and non-livable spaces.

Walls-in method Livable Space: excludes closets and non-livable spaces.

The estimating method: yes, this is a thing.

Measuring square feet is vague because no one is required to define which method they used when they attached their square footage number to the apartment listing. There is no universal method of measuring square feet that developers, architects, management companies and consumers have agreed upon, so it’s important to understand what is included in the square footage measurements when you view a floor plan.

Here is an example of a two-bedroom apartment marked with two different square footage measurements:

For Apartment A, the square footage is labeled using the “total space” method, which includes the closets, hallways and storage areas.

For Apartment B, the square footage is labeled using the “livable space” method. In this case, the areas identified in red are not included in the calculation. The space is not only equally as useable, IT’S THE SAME SPACE, even though the number is smaller.

If your goal was to live in an condo that was at least 800 square feet, this little detail could be quite important!


Why Waste Time Looking at Apartments that are Smaller than What I Want?
Because the listed square footage is not as important as you think.
Prospective buyers will often opt out of a 800-square feet, for the following 690-square-foot one bedroom unit because the layout better served their needs.

The direct entry to the living quarters, square rooms, and lack of hallway means this apartment smartly utilizes the most area for the available square footage.

That being said 100 square foot room can feel much bigger if it is furnished properly. Furniture placement allows you to assess and scale the space. On the other hand, empty units can stifle visual placement. All in all, condo square footage is there for a reason. Its practical use tries to give the potential renter or buyer an idea of the size of the space they are considering. However easy it is to get side-tracked by this number, it doesn’t always accurately reflect the space itself.

If you’re planning on renovating your home and need someone to help you envision the space, or just need assistance in navigating permits and contractors. Studio Den Den offers one-off architectural and construction administration services. Contact us today for a quote.