January 2011 Home Of The Month – The Annex –

Annex / South Annex / Seaton Village

For some the neighbourhood known as The Annex, 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 Spadina in the city centre, 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 turn-key vintage-charm can often mean cost prohibitive.

My buyers, a pair of down-to-earth eloquent wordsmiths, chose the coveted neighbourhood as the preferred location to raise their newborn twins. Knowing the rarity of good property that doesn’t require a ‘down to the studs’ rebuild, I prepared them for a potentially lengthy wait while suggesting alternative family-friendly neighbourhoods like Roncesvalles Village and Dufferin Grove. As fate would have it, a charming residence of good size and proportion came available on Albany Avenue not terribly long after their search began. Whether it be for the momentary lull in the market, the unfortunate circumstances of its relocating owners, or the celestial good luck bestowed this new family, it was as perfect as perfect gets for the dollar.

Albany Avenue, like much of The Annex, has a rather eclectic mix of housing and the benefit of exceptionally deep lots on the east side of the street. The dwelling, a former five bedroom Edwardian, had undergone a series of transformations over the years. Some improvements were functionally appropriate, others rather lovely, while several were not to the taste of my clients. However, given most building components were in good nick and the residence did not require a substantial renovation, the house presented the right opportunity for my buyers. In fact, the vintage house had the benefit of a spacious attic atelier with full bath and sundeck ideal for writing, a front porch vestibule perfect for twin strollers, and a charming sitting room addition overlooking a bucolic garden nestled on its landscaped 173 foot deep lot.

Here’s some pics from the MLS listing:

Albeit impacted by minor moisture issues and the requisite knob and tube wiring haunting most older Toronto housing stock, the dwelling offered good value for $750,000, which was drastically below the original $849,000 list price. With some shrewd negotiations on the part of my Buyers, who managed to feign enough disinterest in the property by withdrawing their offer midway through negotiations, they successfully acquired a solid property for a sum that sent local realtors’ tongues wagging. In short, my buyers’ ‘scored’ a great deal.

Given the reasonable acquisition price for its provenance, lot size and condition, my buyers subsequently embarked on some much-needed upgrades. This included improving the space plan, reworking the flow and enhancing the interior aesthetics. No longer does the property have a mish mash of partially removed walls, swirling plaster ceilings, or an electric fireplace the size of a shoebox squeezed into a symphony of Ikea wall units. Today, upon entering the first impression is one of convivial charm, where a mixture of fresh contemporary styling and vintage charm makes you want to kick up and relax. Which is just how these buyers like it. Now adorable twin girls giggle and gurgle in their new digs, while mom and dad exchange knowing smiles that communicate they are, finally, Home.

If this is the kind of opportunity you envision acquiring or perhaps it’s something different, speak to us about our easy-breezy no-pressure no-hassle start to finish process. We are here to make your dream of home come true.

~ Steven and the urbaneer team

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