Button Up Or Button Down In Little Italy

offered at $989,000

*As seen in Home of the Week in the Globe & Mail

Located west of Bathurst Street north of College on Clinton Street in the Little Italy, this stylish loft is in proximity to all the amenities for urban life. Superbly situated, this residence is a short stroll to the Christie subway station or the 506 streetcar serving College Street, and just south of the Harbord Street bicycle lanes that run west to Ossington or east towards the University of Toronto and Queen’s Park. It’s around the corner to Bickford Park, and Christie Pits and Korea town are just at the top of Grace one street west. Some of the city’s very best restaurants dot Harbord Street both east and west of the property, and to the southeast is Kensington Market, regarded as Toronto’s most dynamic multicultural fresh food markets.

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At the bottom of Clinton is College Street, once regaled as one of the country’s Top 5 hippest neighbourhoods. From Markham Street west to Shaw Street, there are numerous sidewalk cafes, including Kalendar Cafe, Cafe Diplomatico, Bar Italia, and Sicilian Ice Cream. 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 Clinton, on the north side, is the Royal repertory cinema, which was recently renovated and has an upgraded projection system as it is used for movie editing purposes during the day and repertory cinema in the evenings. Also at the bottom of the street are Langolina’s, Giancarlo’s and Sotto Voce, all stellar restaurants with patios. Literally, everything you require for a domestic life of bliss is within walking distance for this loft. How amazing is that?

This much-admired intimate factory conversion of only 13 custom residences was completed in 1996. Originally offered as a design/build program, each unit was offered in a base shell configuration allowing purchasers the opportunity to tailor to suit.

Sharing a mews walkway, two parking zones topped with decks and, for seven lofts, exclusive-use outdoor gardens in the former loading dock portion of the building, this charming factory was configured into condominium town houses by slicing the building into eleven segments, with two new units constructed at the back to accommodate garages underneath. In the original development program, buyers collectively influenced the common area design, which resulted in a breath-taking mews walkway secured by iron gates, independent front door colors as well as new decks and exclusive-use landscaping unique to each owner.

This special loft enjoys the rare benefit of being ideally situated in the centre of the complex midway between Clinton and Jersey Avenue. This unique aspect provides an unobstructed south-facing sun drenched vista over the neighbouring Little Italy gardens with their abundance of flowers and vegetable plantings, laundry lines and quirky sheds. This colourful sightline is enhanced on the second level where, from the master bedroom, this view is crowned with the night-lights of the CN Tower in the distance.

Consisting of two floor plates of around 1660 square feet with a private lush landscaped garden of nearly 400 square feet, this exemplary loft with secure garage and storage bay has had custom designed upgrades and betterments in excess of $250,000.

On the first level, from the mews walkways one enters into a diaphanous floor to ceiling curved linen drapery foyer with custom wood valance. Beautifully executed, these four ethereal linen panels can be opened or closed to suit.

The expansive open concept entertainment level can serve as one open space or serve multiple uses. The lounge area, with eleven-foot ceilings, has eight surround sound speakers ready for your media system, with the cable wiring located discreetly under the custom maple stairs next to a discreet powder room and recycling closet.

Beside the lounge is a two-storey atrium light well topped by a five-year new custom 8-skylight pitched roof. With ceiling heights to 26 feet, the Mooi pendant lamp spins when the two operable remote-controlled rain-sensor skylights are open, creating a dynamic ever-changing shadow pattern by night and amazing airflow. Having programmable heated slate floors, this space is great for din ing, lounging or for your baby grand piano.

The custom upgraded kitchen with mahogany and white lacquer doors, gas cooking and stainless steel counters is wrapped in a vintage brick wall. Boasting wood beamed ceilings, stone floors and a custom pair of imported Italian Panto mahogany glass doors, this elegant kitchen with five-burner Bosche gas cooktop, Bosch oven and Bosch silent dishwasher plus paneled fridge has a built-in bar, plenty of storage and floating art shelf. Fully functioning for frequent dinner parties up to 16 people, this stellar space has an additional in-floor electrical outlet for those who may prefer to add a substantial dining island.

On the northwest exposure, landscape architect Dan Nuttall has professionally designed the private lush garden sanctuary. The outdoor dining pavilion has a custom stainless steel barbecue with storage for garden implements, cedar decking, original factory windows and a custom sunbrella awning. Continuing the design program of wood, stone, steel and glass, an array of plantings add a natural element to the artful pebble seating area wrapped by an original brick factory wall. Beautifully lit, this garden oasis is stunning by day or by night, with an abundance of trees in the gardens beyond, wonderful bird song and exquisite floral scents from neighbouring yards. This is superlative country living in the City.

Up the custom maple stairs with gentle-rise treads, the sun-filled atrium light well splits the upper level of the loft into two zones of domestic bliss. On the north end, a fitted utility/laundry closet serves the household, located opposite an intimate limestone washroom with rain showerhead and body sprays. Luxuriously appointed, the substantial skylight over the shower provides abundant natural light, with the added secret indulgence of showering under a full moon. It is simply magical.

The second bedroom, or study, features a painted brick wall, the rich patina of original maple factory floors and an expansive window with Juliet glass door overlooking the courtyard and neighbouring gardens. Along with a wall of closets, additional storage bays up to five feet deep provide room for your entire luggage and other miscellaneous items. A custom floor-to-ceiling bookshelf visually extends the soaring ceiling height, while the ceiling fan (one of four) keeps airflow circulating.

On the south side, the master bedroom sanctuary offers respite from the day-to-day ravages of everyday living. Featuring ample room for a king-sized bed, this maple-floored space has a full wall of custom mahogany built-in wardrobes with pullout shelving, double and single-hang bars, shoe shelves and even an ironing board. The deep soaking tub with classic chrome faucet is situated next to the atrium light well, providing a tranquil space to soak for one or two. A recent built-in sound system with DVD player, flat screen television, and two speakers provides a music or visual entertainment.

The curving wall of hand-printed wallpaper offers a soft sensual curve to this mostly linear space, and contains a raised stone-floor sky-lit jewel-box of a powder room. Note the pretty visit of the CN tower when exiting.

In the original development program, this particular loft was promoted as being smaller than it actually is. Once vacant possession of the factory was obtained and the space emptied, the developer discovered the building had been measured inaccurately. As built, the unit is of a near similar size to neighbouring Lofts 6 through 11, though the common fees for this loft reflect the original smaller size as noted in the condominium documentation. The lower monthly common fees per square foot are a hidden benefit for this particular residence.

Marrying all the benefits of a brilliant location with the patina and panache of a vintage factory, this first-time-offered loft offers the very best in lifestyle amenities. You are a hop, skip and a jump to a bike lane, a park or the popular Sam James coffee house, all just around the corner on Harbord. You’re up the street from College with its cafe culture, five star restaurants, pool hall or streetcar, or just down the street from Korea town and the Christie subway. Within the interior one celebrates contemporary architecture within a vintage factory shell, all embodying the use of the natural materials of stone, metal, glass and wood. And whichever view you cast your eyes is nature, whether intensely cultivated with multiple crop rotations (I love seeing laundry flapping in the breeze) or a copse of trees, the birdsong and scent is truly breathtaking.