43 BRITAIN ST., PENTHOUSE, TORONTO
ASKING PRICE: $3.2-million
TAXES: $8,974.00 (2011)
MAINTENANCE FEE: $1,085.00
AGENT: Carl Langschmidt (Royal LePage Your Community Realty Inc.)
The back story
For people who are not into ostentatious displays of wealth, the intersection of Britain Street and Stonecutters Lane is about as low-profile as it gets in downtown Toronto.
Passers-by who walk beyond the gritty corner of Queen and Sherbourne into the narrow streets nearby will come across an unobtrusive five-unit building known as Stonecutters Lofts. Those who look up can catch an intriguing glimpse of light shining through the glass box that tops the two-level penthouse.
The “hard” lofts were built about seven years ago in a 100-year-old brick building formerly used as a warehouse. The name comes from Stonecutters Lane, which in turn gets its name from the Stonecutter’s Arms pub on Richmond Street.
Real estate agent Carl Langschmidt of Royal LePage Your Community Realty Inc. says the potential buyers who have toured the loft so far have been in the film and music businesses. He finds it appeals to people who prefer something a bit edgy.
“The character who buys this place will be somebody who is definitely creative – possibly a trend-setter,” says Mr. Langschmidt. “It’s a very unique little spot.”
The current owner works on Bay Street and walks to the office, he adds.
The neighbours include church offices on one side and a school on the other. A software maker has set up shop across the street.
The agent points out that St. Lawrence Market is a short walk down Jarvis Street, while good restaurants and nightlife can be found in abundance on Queen Street.
The loft, meanwhile, is zoned for both commercial and residential use. It could be turned into an office for a small firm or a live-work studio for someone in the arts, Mr. Langschmidt says.
The owner purchased the penthouse at the time the old warehouse was being converted, then brought in Toronto-based Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, who won an award for the design.
“He basically bought a shell and did everything his own way,” says Mr. Langschmidt.
The architects created an unique plan with 4,400 square feet of space on the interior and an additional 3,000 square feet of outdoor space.
The lower level has principal rooms and bedrooms surrounding a central courtyard. The wood ceilings and thick posts and beams are exposed; the brick is sand-blasted. The floors throughout are heated.
A large living room with gas fireplace, a dining room and a kitchen are located in the front half of the loft, overlooking the street. The architects created a niche for a secluded patio that is sheltered by the original brick wall at the front of the building.
Two bedrooms and two bathrooms are at the rear, while a library and a room currently used as a home gym stand on opposite sides of the courtyard.
Upstairs, the second level is given over to a master bedroom suite with walls open to the living area below. The surrounding rooftop belongs to the penthouse, and plans have been drawn up for a green roof.
An elevator zips the owner down to what Mr. Langschmidt calls the “bat cave” – in other words, a three-car private garage.
The best feature
The courtyard is so secluded that the current owner has an outdoor shower. The shower can be moved around, says Mr. Langschmidt, and one corner of the patio offers total privacy. There is also built-in furniture and a water feature.
“You can just go out here and bask in the sun,” he says.