Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

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Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

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Tag Archives: Lytton Park

In praise of short storeys

How a retrofit low-rise condo can solve a few problems

Iris Benaroia – National Post

The New York City brownstone, whose stairs Carrie Bradshaw famously scampered up and down in Louboutin heels, is not a residential style commonly associated with Toronto. Nor are the sassy walk-up flats found in such cities as Paris and Montreal. Ah, the cinematic romance of transiting from urban street to home without the use of an elevator!

The reality is, people tend to equate Toronto’s multi-unit housing stock with towering condominiums — that’s not entirely a bad thing, says Evan Johnsen, who runs the boutique firm Circa together with his partner Neil Spiegel, transforming dated rental apartment buildings into stylish, sustainable units that are built really well. Their raison d’être is to beautify buildings in established neighbourhoods, and while Mr. Johnsen lauds select sky-high condos, he feels Toronto should shake things up with more small-scale projects.

“[Smaller] developments create richer urban fabrics and much more interesting communities, and really that’s what makes places like Barcelona and Manhattan work,” Mr. Johnsen says. “In those cities, lots of people own a flat. I don’t think [those types of cities make] it particularly difficult to turn a four-storey building into four apartments that four people can own.”

1733 Bathurst
Here, Mr. Johnsen likens the process of dealing with Toronto’s bureaucracy in Kafkaesque terms, where housing developers endure “a certain amount of suffering” to get a project started.

Evidently the red-tape ordeal hasn’t been a detriment for Circa, which is on its third project: A construction team is in full swing at 1733 Bathurst Street, at Eglinton, which is set for occupancy this summer. Priced from $649,000 to $749,000, at 979 to 1,189 , three of the eight units sold in the first 48 hours. Past Circa projects include the six-unit Lytton Park and four-unit High Park Boulevard. Both are green to the extreme.

“High Park Boulevard is so super-insulated the people who live there, joke they heat the building by having their kids run around,” Mr. Johnsen says.

The Bathurst site shares the same eco-obsession: “We go hard in that direction,” Mr. Johnsen says. (Mr. Spiegel knows a thing or two about the subject, having run for the Green Party.) “We do what makes sense: grey-water recovery, drain-heat recovery — water is a quite an unsung story,” he says of the interior rebuild by the sustainable architectural firm Solares. “A lot of it is also just building well and not with disposable materials.”

To wit: Feel free to really handle the kitchen cabinets at 1733, which won’t crumple if your kid dings her Tonka truck into it. They’re wood, not laminate. Ditto wall trim and window casings instead of skimpy MDF, which only looks good for about the first month you live with it.

Finessed by the excellent design firm Mazen Studio, units feel timeless and modern, and have been kitted out in brands you’d expect to find from an Upper Village address: Bosch, Bertazzoni, Fisher & Paykel, Scavolini and Ginger’s/Elte.

Mr. Johnsen predicts the remaining apartments will be purchased by “someone who bought 624 square feet at King and Bathurst five years ago pre-construction and earned equity from that transaction.” Having outgrown single life, the person now needs bedrooms and a location in a good school zone. It’s the Goldilocks and theThree Bears story of threes: This condo is too small, that single-family house is too expensive, but this one on Bathurst feels just right.

Samantha Barone followed that narrative. The 30-year-old mortgage agent with the Lang Team had been looking for a home with her fiancé for quite some time. They started the search at a high-rise at Yonge and Front, “then realized we couldn’t grow into the space,” she says.

They then turned to houses, becoming frustrated after being outbid several times. Choosing lower-priced places also didn’t work: “We could get a decent home from $650,000 to $700,000 but then we would have to throw another $100,000 to $200,000 to get it up to date.”

When the couple saw the salvaged redbrick exterior of 1733 Bathurst, they were immediately interested. After reading about the finishes — “the heated concrete floors, top-notch appliances, soundproofing, that it’s a smart home, things that don’t come standard in most projects” — they bought a three-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,189-square feet unit with a 240-square feet terrace.

Ms. Barone says she’s thrilled with the outcome of her search. Her Goldilocks ending means she won’t have to bear the brunt of renovating an old house that would have likely come in over- budget (and she can focus on less stressful things like, er, planning a wedding).

“We couldn’t be happier. I love the fact that it’s like having a house, but not having all of the upkeep of a house,” Ms. Barone says. “And we’re surrounded by million-dollar homes — that’s always nice.”

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.