August 2013 Home Of The Month – The Annex

Annex / South Annex / Seaton Village

Welcome to’s Home Of The Month feature, which showcases what our Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.

Toronto, by and large, has conservative roots. And it’s reflected in the city centre’s domestic architecture which, dating mostly from the 1840s to 1930s, represents all manner of Victorian, Edwardian and ‘early suburban’ styles.

One of the city’s oldest merchant class neighbourhoods called ‘The Annex’, is home to a magnificent collection of grand well-proportioned residences. Dating from 1887 to 1907, it is the location of some of the city’s most original properties which are architecturally unique to Toronto.

It’s also the location of this month’s Home Of The Month feature.

Located north of Bloor Street west of Avenue Road to Bathurst Street, ‘The Annex’ is a bastion of highly coveted and pricey residential masterpieces. Constructed of solid brick with stone details, these sizable dwellings were originally home to Toronto’s cultural elite, though through the 1940s onward many were converted into income properties and fraternity houses serving the University of Toronto which is located just south of this neighbourhood. Portions of this neighbourhood were also block-busted in the 1960s and 1970s for rental apartment sites, particularly along the arterial roads. Today, the neighbourhood comprises a mix of properties, each catering to its own unique market, ranging from students to the well-heeled.

You need big bucks to buy one of the original houses and, given they’re 100 years old, you often have to invest massive sums of capital to bring them up to today’s standards in a configuration that works for the way we now live. Built at a time when different rooms served specific functions (formal parlour, dining, scullery, pantry, etc), and different floors accommodated a hierarchical household (including staff), these properties typically feature a second servant staircase, massive cold cellars, and staff quarters in the attic.

With regards to this property, there were several features that made this property right for our Buyers, a busy professional couple with infant twins. First was its location. Situated on a premium street renown for its architectural continuity, mature trees, proximity to two subway stations and the enchanting Jean Sibelius Square – the area’s most popular outdoor green space and playground. This Triple AAA neighbourhood offers all the conveniences of city life including a short work commute for our clients, a well-regarded public school, and village shopping amenities including a 24 hour grocer. Remarkably, although situated in the heart of the city, the low density of the residential streets are so well-scaled and lushly landscaped that bird song and children’s laughter rings clear throughout the day.

The other attraction to the property was the dwelling itself. Substantially rebuilt in the 1990s including all the major building components, this gracious 3000 square foot residence boasts ten rooms above grade plus an additional three in the high-ceiling basement, five full washrooms, a generous 27 x 132 foot landscape lot and rare-to-find legal front pad parking.

It also offers an enormous amount of versatility.

The first and second level were renovated into a luxe three bedroom two bath family home with ample room dimensions, three fireplaces, and expansive windows. The lower level, featuring patio doors connecting to a garden walk-out, exposed brick walls, and three rooms plus an oversized spa bath, offers additional family living space or conversion into a supplementary income (around $1650 per month) or nanny suite. More amazingly, a separate side entrance to the original servant staircase provides direct access to three rooms and two baths on the third floor. Sound-proofed by its former owner for his home-based business and including a kitchenette, this skylit 2-bedroom attic atelier with Juliette balcony offers an income offset of over $2000 per month. Alternatively, it can be connected to the first two floors to create a five bedroom and den residence.

Here are some pics:



Combining contemporary living space with traditional design elements, this property got the stamp of approval in part for its flexible layout. We love how this house offers a young family ample square footage on two floors (which exceeds the typical Toronto downtown home) plus, if required, 2 high-income earning suites which offsets $700,000 of the purchase price based on today’s 4% mortgage interest rate. This ‘accordian flex plan’ provides owners the opportunity to expand or contract based on their family’s spatial needs require, with an instant supplemental income any time they desire. For the intelligent buyers, this is the perfect long term hold.

However, this property wasn’t inexpensive, Listed at $1,795,000, this property sold in competition for around three percent over list. Despite the acquisition cost that comes with the privilege of buying this property, its superior location and amazing space plan assure it to be a wise long term investment.

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