Welcome to urbaneer.com's Home Of The Month. This feature provides a snap shot of what urbaneer.com's clients have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.
As the city's original pioneers in the sales, marketing and development of Innovative Spaces for over 20 years, we experience firsthand the challenge in finding those one-of-a-kind properties that move beyond descriptive language reserved for more common dwellings (the ubiquitous 'upgraded' or occasional 'original model suite'). We seek instead those that are truly deserving of the "so dreamy we keep pinching ourselves" superlative. With a focus on sleuthing out the best of the best unique urban homes, we're often on a quest to find the most compelling brick and beam lofts, the ultimate concrete 'n cool contemporary pads, or the finest modern glass domiciles for our clients (which isn't easy, for they appear rarely in the market). A classic vintage apartment in a Triple AAA location, however, is equally as difficult to find.
Which takes us to this month's feature.
Our buyers had recently returned to Toronto after some years away. Set up in temporary rental accommodations, they used their first months here getting settled into their day-to-day lives while exploring the market. A creative couple with one child, they sought that perfect marriage of location and space with a budget that couldn't exceed $600,000. Ideally, they wanted to be in the central west end which best complemented their family life - whether that be The Annex, Little Italy/Palmerston, or even south towards Little Portugal and the Ossington strip.
There's no question that a lot of us would happily live in The Annex. The neighbourhood, long a bastion for the cultural intelligentsia who celebrate its proximity to our city's finer institutions and all places fashionably respectful, is deemed one of the most desirable areas to reside. I certainly understand. Located north of Bloor Street west of Avenue Road in the city centre (and within walking distance to the University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Bloor Street's Millionaire Mile) this area of Victorian and Edwardian row, semi and detached residences is refreshingly understated and nearly devoid of the pomp and circumstance of other venerated neighbourhoods. It is, however, not inexpensive by any means which, for anyone seeking vintage-charm can often mean cost prohibitive.
More amazingly, while there are rental apartments dating from the blockbusting 1960s and 1970s, there are few condominiums. And for the few that exist they're mostly newer. But there's one building which has always captured the attention of myself, and other lovers for vintage architecture, nestled in the heart of The Annex. It's called Audley Court.
Designed by Joseph Hunt Stanford, it was completed in 1912. Hunt Stanford was a remarkably prolific architect, dramatist and poet active in Toronto from 1904 until 1922 when he was joined by his son, Leo Hunt Stanford, in a partnership. This Englishman specialized in the design of private houses in the Annex, Parkdale and Rosedale neighbourhoods. He was also among the very first architects in Toronto to develop prototypes for 3-storey walk-up apartment buildings, for which his design of the King Edward Apartments on Jarvis Street (1905) is among the earliest examples. By 1914 he had completed more than 40 commercial and residential projects in Toronto. Much of his early work employed a variety of English classical styles, as seen in Audley Court with its gracious proportions, simple balanced design, and extensive use of classical columns.
Converted in 1986, this 8-suite walk-up is now historically-designated. Located on wonderful tree-lined Kendal Avenue steps from Jean Sibelius Park, these half-floor 2 bedroom 1-bath condominiums of around 1300 square feet run from the front to back of the building with windows wrapping three sides. Featuring all the patina of those classic New York Style apartments with long hallways that seem to run on forever, inside the well-proportioned formal rooms feature high ceilings, oak floors, coved beamed ceilings and generous baseboards. Of particular merit are the bay windows and - even more special - the oversized balconies out front that harken back to the century-old verandah. At the rear of the property there's an additional deck on each floor spanning the width of the building.
The particular suite, situated on the third of four levels, was offered for sale for the first time since its conversion back in 1986. While it retained most of its original charm, it also had a circa 1986 kitchen, a serviceable but dated washroom and a lot of old broadloom. Without question any buyer needed a 'vision' - and the where with all to tackle upgrading a suite in an intimate 8-suite building - but despite these shortcomings it offered great value for the dollar.
Here are some pics from the MLS listing:
Listed at $459,900 with one parking space and locker, our Buyers competed against one other to secure the suite. And we're delighted! This exquisite and extremely rare offering was a savvy acquisition for our clients. As a lover of vintage architecture, I'm rather envious!
Do you like? If you're interested in purchasing Toronto real estate, please know we're here to help. With a multi-disciplinary education in housing, over twenty years of real estate sales, marketing and development including a sterling reputation as one of Bosley Real Estate's Top Producers I, and my sales team, make it our mandate to guide buyers and sellers through all their real estate needs - including unique urban spaces and character dwellings.
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
Like what you've read? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly e-newsletter on housing, culture and design!