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

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Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

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The great living space in the sky

Ryan Starr – Toronto Star

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]pring has sprung in Toronto and with it has come the thrill of returning to life outdoors.

So developer Henry Strasser thinks it’s a great opportunity to gush about the large exterior living spaces he’s got on offer at Jade Waterfront, the 38-storey, 370-unit building to be built at Lake Shore Blvd. W. near Park Lawn Rd. in Etobicoke.

“We have balconies that are up to 400 square feet,” says Strasser, a principal with Phantom Developments, the project’s developer. “That’s more than half the size of the actual unit size in some cases.”

The balconies at Jade Waterfront — dubbed “Sky Yards” — will range in size from 60 square feet to 200 square feet, depending on the unit. Most of them are in the 150 square foot range, Strasser says.

Condos at Jade Waterfront range from 465-square-foot one-bedroom units to 1,450-square-foot two bedroom-plus-den suites. There are also penthouses.

Units are priced from $240,000 to $950,000. The project is currently 40 per cent sold.

Strasser reckons Jade Waterfront’s big balconies should prove attractive to professional couples, young families, or local move-down buyers — those looking to escape the hassles of home garden maintenance but still wanting to enjoy life outdoors.

“We believe people want to be outside more, and the atmosphere here is very scenic,” Strasser says, referring to Jade Waterfront’s dog-walker/jogger-friendly Humber Bay location. “With these balconies, people can be outside a lot entertaining.”

Expanding home living spaces to the outdoors is a big trend these days, notes Tania Richardson, a principal with Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting and Jade Waterfront’s designer.

“A couple of years ago it was closet organization,” she says. “But now the trend is creating these beautiful extensions of your interior living space on the exterior.

“We’re seeing it in the furniture market; exterior furniture looking as though it’s interior furniture.”

That’s what Richardson and her team have in mind for Jade Waterfront, where on the balconies they’re installing what they call the “Outdoor Hub.”

It’s a large exterior cabinet that serves as an entertaining unit (it can hold a TV), a storage place for drinks, glassware and cushions, as well as a surface to prepare food on.

Units at Jade Waterfront also have a double-sided fireplace.

“It’s making entertaining accessible to all the purchasers,” Richardson explains.

“Because I know for myself the cost of putting in an outdoor TV and entertaining space or fireplace out there would be astronomical.

“Here the purchasers already have this done and it’s just a matter of buying a TV and putting music out there. It’s bringing entertainment to a balcony, essentially in a box.”

No outdoor space is complete without a bit of greenery. To help buyers at Jade Waterfront learn how to create great gardens in the sky, the developer has enlisted the services of Citytv personality Frank Ferragine, a.k.a. Frankie Flowers, who will be running workshops at the sales centre in the coming months.

As one of its amenities, Jade Waterfront will have an outdoor community planting area, something that impresses Ferragine. “That’s a top trend right now, community gardens,” he says.

“If people don’t want to garden on their patios, they can do it in the communal space, and maybe share their food. Or people can grow together with other experienced gardeners.

“I don’t know how many condos have community garden space,” he says, “but it’s quite cool.”

Optimizing the outdoors

Tania Richardson and Tiffany Love of Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting offer tips on how to maximize use of your condo’s outdoor space.

• Flexible furniture: Select multi-functional furniture. “A typical patio set used to be a table, four chairs and an umbrella. Now we do it with an exterior sofa, table and two chairs,” says Richardson. “That way you’re creating two-dimensional outdoor spaces: an eating space or move the table and have a conversation or relaxation area.”

• Durable stuff: Get outdoor furniture that can withstand bad weather. “Then you can take the upholstered items and put them in your locker and keep the pieces on the balcony and maintain the look in the off season,” Love suggests. “It will still look welcoming and livable and will add to the interior space and make it look bigger.”

Gardening alternatives: You don’t need to be a green thumb to garden. “There are some phenomenal artificial trees and flowers out there that you don’t have to worry about,” Richardson says. “I’m not talking silk flowers, I’m talking artificial boxwoods, cedars. And they’ll look gorgeous. From inside the condo they look very much real.”

•Ryan Starr

Balcony garden greatness

Gardening guru Frank Ferragine (a.k.a. Frankie Flowers) has some surefire ways to make your balcony garden come alive this spring.

• Cool containers: “People in condos have to think creatively about how they’re going to garden, and basically it all comes down to different containers,” says Ferragine. “Containers can make boring spaces interesting places, and you can grow edibles in containers no problem.”

• Environmental awareness: Before you select plants, understand your balcony conditions (sunlight, wind, access to water, etc. “There are plants for every different scenario, so you want to figure out your variables up front,” Ferragine says. “The ultimate goal is to find the right plant for the right place.”

• Flowers for you: For areas with full, hot sun and high winds, Ferragine recommends Dragon Wing Begonias, “a foolproof plant that looks great.” Oleanders do well with sun and wind, too. In areas with partial light and low wind, Ferragine likes red leaf bananas. “They’re so sexy, and with a nice deep red leaf.”

• Veggies in the mix: Tomatoes (cherry, mid-size, yellow, heirlooms) and potatoes do well on balconies, but require full sun. For shaded spots grow greens, like a mesclun mix. Herbs are great, too, but Ferragine advises: “Just grow the herbs you use. Pick your top three herbs and do big pots of each.”

• Fruitful: Grow an apple tree on your balcony. “You build an insulated planter and then prune the apple tree so it can hug the wall,” Ferragine explains. “If you have an outdoor space and the opportunity, an apple tree costs you $40. I guarantee people spend a lot more than that on wine that only lasts the night.”

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

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto Realtor 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.

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