A Brick And Beam Loft With Courtyard Garden In Toronto’s Button Factoryoffered at $1,699,000
To live stylishly in an authentic loft – a space that embraces the intersection of modern living and insoucient industrial charm – is a dream that few prospective buyers may realize during their property search. For some, it’s because they’re not aware these rare unique urban spaces exist while, for others, it’s because these exceptional types of shelter aren’t situated within their desired geography. But, for those fortunate few who have the wish, want, and wherewithall to purchase a slice of a converted century brick and beam factory in downtown Toronto, this superb offering is an opportunity to live well – in the very literal sense of the word!
Welcome to Loft 6 in The Button Factory!
A Triple AAA Location
Located west of Bathurst Street north of College on Clinton Street in the Little Italy, this vintage loft townhouse is in proximity to all the best amenities for urban life. Superbly situated, this residence is near equidistant to the Christie subway station or the 506 streetcar serving College Street, and just a few steps south of the Harbord Street bicycle lanes that run west to Ossington or east towards the University of Toronto and Queen’s Park. Need a car? There are several Car Share pick up and drop off spots nearby, with the closest being Enterprise five streets east on Bathurst Street just south of Ulster. If proximity to green space is important to you, or your furry best friend, this property is around the corner from the 2.8 hectare Bickford Park which offers two ball diamonds, two bocce courts, and a dog off-leash area; a block south of the 8.9 hectare Christie Pits Park at Bloor Street West and Grace Street which has three baseball diamonds, a multi-sport field, basketball and volleyball courts, an artificial ice rink, a children’s playground and labyrinth, a splash pad, a wading pool, a larger outdoor pool, and a community garden; and a 10 minute stroll south to Dundas Street West and Gore Vale Avenue where the 14.6 hectare Trinity Bellwoods Park offers three ball diamonds, eight tennis courts, two volleyball courts, an artificial ice rink, a dog off-leash area, a picnic area, a wading pool and a children’s playground, in addition to the Trinity Community Recreation Centre which has a comprehensive fitness centre and indoor swimming pool.
Do you love engaging in Toronto’s dynamic and diverse culinary scene? Some of the city’s very best restaurants dot Harbord Street both east and west of the property, while to the north at Clinton and Bloor West is Koreatown, and to the southeast is Kensington Market, regarded as Toronto’s most dynamic multicultural fresh food markets. At the bottom of Clinton is College Street, once regaled as one of the country’s Top 5 hippest neighbourhoods – even before Queen West and Ossington became cool! Lining College Street from Markham west to Shaw Street are numerous sidewalk cafes, including Kalendar Cafe, Cafe Diplomatico, and Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe, as well as headline-grabbing restaurants like La Carnita, Dai Lo, Bar Raval and Woodlot. There is a small plaza with a Shoppers Drug Mart and 24-hour Metro Grocer on the south side of College between Shaw and Crawford. At the bottom of Clinton are Langolina’s, Giancarlo’s and Sotto Voce – all stellar eateries with patios. Vinyl lovers will want to visit June Records down the street. Game gurus will have a ball at neighbouring Snakes & Lattes. Film fanatic? At College just west of Clinton, on the north side, is the recently renovated Royal Repertory Cinema, while the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema just a stroll away on Bloor! Literally, everything you require for a domestic life of bliss is within walking distance for this loft. How amazing is that?
Without question, this location boasts ‘bright-lights big-city vibes’ – with all the accompanying amenities and opportunites – but at a pace and presence more akin a neighbourhood village than the intensity and density one might otherwise expect in downtown Toronto. It’s what makes our City of Neighbourhoods so special.
The Original Design/Build Program
I hold The Button Factory very close to my heart, as I led the sales & marketing program for this charming condominium of just 13 units back in 1993, prior to its conversion. I also resided in the complex for its first 18 years. One of the first factory conversions in the area (The Banquet Hall on Claremont and The Movie House on Euclid would be marketed and sold by me 2 to 3 years later), this Little Italy neighbourhood was only just beginning to transition into one of the City’s hippest spots in the mid 1990s. Cafe culture – including the beloved Bar Italia – was just beginning to be embraced by Torontonians well before Starbucks was on our radar, and the convivial Pool Hall – and its explosion as a popular destination for social engagement – was just taking root. Back then the neighbourhood was a domestic collection of cottages, row, semi-detached and detached houses ranging from working to merchant class in character and quality, and College Street – a street dominated by Italian shoe stores – had zero condominiums.
Originally operating as InduTex – a textile firm which manufactured uniforms – the project’s name came when one of the local resident’s shared with me that – in his youth – he and the neighbourhood kids called it ‘The Button Factory’. Why? Because every day after school – once they finished their homework at the factory lunch tables – their mothers would keep them occupied by each paying them a penny for every ten buttons they picked up off the floor until their workday ended. It’s the perfect namesake, as it honours the spirit of the building’s past and its rich history with the neighbourhood.
The original factory – which consisted of seven sections built over the span of nearly a century – and its driveways and loading docks underwent a significant transformation in its conversion into townhomes. The ribbon of space running down the south side of the building instantly cried out to be a mews walkway, and by slicing the factory vertically, it allowed each unit to have its own private entry, removing the need for common halls. The front driveway to the north was dedicated to onsite parking for the first five units, situated under expansive outdoor decks. An architecturally bland addition spanning the rear of the building on Jersey Avenue was demolished and replaced with a new three-storey addition containing 2 modern lofts over a shared secure garage containing six parking spaces. And on the north west side of the site, a substantial one-storey structure set back from the street that housed the loading docks and the large surface lot that the semi-trailors pulled into for deliveries, were also demolished. In their place, seven exclusive-use outdoor gardens (the original brick walls that wrap the gardens of Units 6, 7 and 8 are this original building’s footprint) and three surface parking spaces (of which the most northern spot is Guest Parking) were installed.
Initially offered as a custom design/build program, the 13 spacious 2 and 3 storey condominium loft townhouses, ranging in size from 1380 square feet to nearly 2500 square feet of interior living space, were offered as base shells, with the opportunity for buyers to custom upgrade their loft as part of the development program. Sold pre-construction while InduTex was still in operation, to instill a sense of community the first buyers collectively designed the mews walkway, choosing the lighting and paving stones (under the tutelage of designer Dan Nuttall) and deciding residents could have their own unique front door. This development program – implemented when the Toronto real estate market was still recovering from the 1989 crash – was geared to appeal to the three buyer profiles who were attracted to loft living. The first were Artists engaged in photography, sculpture, and painting, who gravitated to these spaces for their affordability, utility, light and ceiling height; the second were creative professionals operating in the fields of media, design, and fashion who desired live/work incubators for progressive, liberated self-expression; while the third were white collar professionals mostly in the fields of health care, finance, and technology who appreciated high-design, innovative architecture, and a commitment to living mise-en-scene. These groups – rejecting the status quo of the suburbs, the conformity of traditional housing, and the constrictions of standard materials and design – gravitated to loft living for its freedom from convention and as places for reinvention.
Because of the original design/build program – and the 23 years which have since passed – no two units are alike. They range in size, condition and quality, each tailored by successive residents to reflect their own self-expression, personal success, and aesthetic preferences. As a result, they’re incomparable, both to each other and to other Toronto loft properties, representing a unique custom point-of-view specific to each discerning resident.
I love The Button Factory’s mews walkway – which spans a length of 275 feet from Clinton Street to Jersey Avenue. Gated and secured by passcode for security, Loft 6 has the rare and enviable benefit of being situated mid-block. It is from this private vantage point one can witness nature bloom, and hear some pretty bird song, devoid of traffic. From the second level, this unique aspect provides an unobstructed south-facing sun-drenched vista over the neighbouring Little Italy courtyards and gardens with their abundance of flowers and vegetable plantings, laundry lines and quirky sheds. And on the north-west side, floor-to-ceiling doors and glazing open to a private lush landscaped brick-walled courtyard, surrounded by neighbouring gardens, mature trees, the scent of barbecues and the laughter of children.
Consisting of two floor plates totaling around 1694 square feet with a private lush landscaped garden of nearly 200 square feet, this exemplary loft with secure exclusive-use garage and storage bay (with coded door and remote) has had a series of custom-designed built-ins and betterments that elevate this factory loft into a luxe – yet understated – zen den of urban living. On the first level, from the mews walkway one enters into a collection of articulated well-proportioned ‘zones for living’ accommodating specific yet flexible uses, while being aesthetically cohesive and visually arresting.
The well-proportioned open concept Entertainment Level is grounded by the vibrant hues of burnt orange and clay red found in the exposed rough brick walls and rustic wood-beam ceilings (2″x8″s on their sides) that rise eleven feet high. Anchoring each end of the space, the dining and lounge areas flank a gourmet kitchen with Kohler sink, quality stainless steel appliances including gas cooking, custom maple cabinetry, under-counter haolgen lighting, marble counters and a generous island topped in butcher block. Beside the kitchen is the two-storey stairwell topped by a custom 4-skylight pitched aperture. With ceiling heights soaring over 20 feet, this sun-drenched space offers excellent air circulation, as two of the remote-controlled rain-sensor skylights are operable (and all have built-in blinds). Thoughtfully designed, rustic plank floors, exposed metal ductwork, generous track lighting in metal conduit (all on dimmer switches) and modern ceiling fans imbue the loft aesthetic with modern convenience. Century-old vintage doors from Muskoka – one accessing a luxe powder room with custom vanity and Kohler sink – keep this loft firmly grounded with history without appearing contrived, while the expansive open plan nods to its factory past. With plenty of space for a grand piano, this artful environment breathes freely and unrestrained.
On the north exposure – which is flooded with afternoon sun until sunset – tall glass doors open to a private garden courtyard with stone pavers, brick walls, a cedar arbour and lush plantings. Beautifully lit with fairy lights (and a built-in water feature that could be revived), this garden oasis is stunning by day or by night, with an abundance of trees in the gardens beyond, nature sounds, and exquisite floral scents from neighbouring yards, including a mature flavourful cherry tree. This is where the superlative ‘Country Living In The City’ can truly be bestowed!
Up the wood stairs, the sun-filled landing – with office nook (alternatively the location for a future stair to a potential roof terrace) – splits the upper level of the loft into two zones of domestic bliss. This landing contains both laundry and utility closets with custom counters and/or shelving, located on either side of an exceptional Spa washroom. Luxuriously appointed – with features you may never have known you desired – including a generous rectangular sink with double faucets, Toto toilet, and heated stone floors – the oversized steam shower with built-in stone bench boasts an indulgent rain shower (the unit has excellent water pressure), aromatherapy diffusers and remote. Filtered with natural light through an expansive sliding frosted glass door, this sumptuous bathing oasis is ethereal, magical, and calming.
The second bedroom, currently used as a study, features a wall of exposed brick, a large south-facing ‘factory’ window overlooking the courtyard and neighbouring gardens and, as found across this level, the patina of original maple factory floors. Separated from the landing by movable acid etched panels, this private zone features a wall of custom walnut built-ins with European hardware and recessed halogen lighting, in addition to a second wall of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Flooded with natural light, this tranquil respite is perfect for kids, guests or your own home office.
On the north side, the master bedroom sanctuary – also separated by sliding panels of acid etched glass – offers escape from the ravages and stress of everyday living. Featuring generous proportions and pretty garden views – the space contains a collection of well-executed custom built-ins including a king-sized platform bed with walnut and metal art rail, two generous night tables each with 6 drawers topped in Calacatta marble, and a full wall of custom walnut wardrobes with double and single-hang bars and drawers. A deep Japanese-style Kohler soaking tub with bespoke plumbing, custom bevelled mirrors in solid walnut frames, hidden lighting and operable skylight (with remote and sunshade) offer a quiet place for contemplation and solitude.
Honouring the architectural integrity of the original factory while celebrating contemporary urban living in a coveted neighbourhood setting, this dual-level unique urban space exhibits all the character of a vintage factory loft, including exposed brick walls, soaring wood beamed ceilings and columns, plus original factory floors on the second level. The ultimate custom respite – I love the lush garden views, the deep soaking tub, and quality custom built-ins that unify the space, keeping it minimal, understated, with just the right amount of luxe.
Significant Upgrades & Renovations
This loft has undergone a series of signficant quality upgrades and renovations, including an abundance of custom built-ins including sliding acid etched doors on the upper level, a master bed frame with night tables and art rail, comprehensive walnut wardrobes with hanging space and drawers, built-ins and bookshelves in bedroom two, a proper laundry room with folding counter + shelving, and custom cabinet under the stairs. The washroom fixtures and fittings (brand names include Kohler, Toto, Dorenbracht and Vola) including steam shower (with teak flooring, aromatherapy diffusers and remote) and soaking tub are of an excellent quality, with an exacting attention to detail invested, including heated floors, custom mirrors and calibre lighting. The comfort systems are well-maintained, with the forced air handler system installed in 2018, the central air conditioning system installed in 2013, and the Mitsubishi electric supplementary wall air conditioner with remote installed in 2016. The residence has quality appliances (paneled Jennair fridge, Bosch 5 burner gas cooktop (2019), Bosch built-in oven, Bosch paneled silent dishwasher (2012), Broan exhaust hood, Whirlpool washer (2012), & Frigidaire gallery dryer), multiple light fixtures on dimmers (as well as 4 ceilings fans), custom window blinds (some also with black-outs), an operable skylight located over the soaking tub with blinds, rain sensor and remote, and a 4 skylight aperture (2 operational with rain sensors and remote, all with blinds) installed in 2012. The unit is upgraded with resilient channel sound-proofing in the walls abutting Unit 5, a hidden built-in safe is present, and there’s a gas line in north-east corner of the living room for future gas fireplace (condo approval required). The pride of ownership extends even beyond what you see, with the plumbing drains snaked and a new dryer felt installed in the last 2 weeks.
Having reasonable common fees of $902 per month, this authentic loft with secure parking space and storage bay artfully contrasts its factory past and contemporary finishes and fittings with understated elegance. Ready for occupancy as soon as June 30th, the condomininium documents are available upon request. If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Steve@urbaneer.com!