Toronto laneway home in Little Italy provides an ingenious urban getaway

6 Croft St., Toronto

Sale price: $ 1,999,000

Taxes: $ 9,953.40 (2021)

Party size: 26 feet by 46 feet

Listing agent: Joy Verde, Re / Max Hallmark Joy Verde Group Realty

The back story

The entrance and carport are a chamber of red bricks sheltered by the overhanging building clad in black aluminum.Soare Productions

When Shari Austin bought her street house five years ago, she thought it might be the last time she would move. Getting closer to retirement, kids away from school and work and a divorce behind her, seemed like a fresh start and everything she ever needed.

“I had never thought of a house with a path,” she said. “I’m not sure I knew they existed. But I fell in love with it when I walked in the door.”

I wanted low maintenance; I traveled a lot before. I wanted something you could lock inside and go. Part of it is that my place is like a fortress, there is no way to get in other than the very solid entrance in front. “She had had a scary onslaught in her former home in Rosedale when strangers showed up in the backyard and tried to get in, and only the dog and a housekeeper scared them away.

The community in the lane takes care of each other: “I got to know a lot of people along the lane. It is a dynamic and diverse neighborhood, ”she said. The mix of graphic designers, artists and architects celebrate their hidden-away status with neighboring grills and other gatherings.

The kitchen has a mix of materials. The appliances, including built-in gas stove, and the island / breakfast bar are clad in stainless steel.Soare Productions

Not that the neighbors had always been happy with 6 Croft St. When it, and its next-door non-identical twin, was first proposed in the early 2000s, the surrounding residents stopped to oppose it – even though the track already housed a former carpet factory that had been converted into condominiums. It took years of quarrels (this was long before the city passed a coherent housing planning process) before the builders prevailed and the homes came on the market.

It is also illustrative of the way property values ​​have risen in downtown Toronto. When it was first sold in 2005, 6 Croft animals were currently: $ 690,000 to enter a neighborhood that did not build any new three-bedroom homes in streets or elsewhere. At the time Ms. Austin bought it in 2016, it was worth nearly $ 1 million more: $ 1.62 million, according to property records. Now it is listed to attract bidders to $ 1.999 million.

In Ms. Austin’s mind, the location can not be beaten. The house is just a few dozen yards from College Street, and the trail has all the colorful graffiti murals, mixed bricks and ivy, and garage doors you would expect from a city railroad.

“It’s close to the action on College Street; it’s so easy to access and it’s square in the heart of Little Italy,” she said. Her two best recommendations for shops on the block just south of her are Manic Coffee (” the city’s best “) and the durable Ramen Isshin.

The entrance hall offers direct views to the kitchen and living room, while stairs leading up to the other levels are to the left.Soare Productions

The house today

The entrance and carport are a chamber of red bricks sheltered by the overhanging building clad in black aluminum. It feels like the entrance to private member club behind its iron gate.

Through the sturdy door there are direct views to the kitchen and living room, stairs leading up to the other levels are to the left. “It’s an open concept and surprisingly bright,” Austen said. “I really enjoyed the fact that when people come for the first time, they are shocked, because it does not look like much when you see it from the outside.”

The living room and dining room anchor the rear half of the ground floor.Soare Productions

The room is mostly white with some bulkheads giving it an industrial-ceiling feel, and the floor is a wide plank-blond wood that draws you into a kitchen with a mix of materials. The appliances, including built-in gas stove, and the island / breakfast bar are clad in stainless steel. Dark wood has been used for cabinet wall and cabinet sinks. Frosted glass appears on the cabinet doors. There is a window over the sink that looks into the atrium / patio, and around the corner is a set of double glass and steel doors leading to the same small shelter.

“I remodeled all the floors, put in new closets, remodeled all the doors, and put in the loft-style glass doors,” said Mrs. Austin.

The living room and dining room anchor the rear half of this space. The back wall contains special storage around a fireplace and media cabinet in a rich warm wood. One wall is exposed brick (painted white), the other is covered by a floor-to-ceiling custom bookcase (with ladder for the hard to reach) next to the dining table.

There is a large ensuite bathroom with double sinks, self-contained bath and shower with glass walls.Soare Productions

On the way upstairs there is a powder room on the first repos and the main bedroom suite is on the second floor. There is a large ensuite bathroom with double sinks, self-contained bath and shower with glass walls. Slate tiles climb up the walls of the shower and behind the tub. There are four small windows, including one in the shower that opens out to a glossy brick wall that gives you light but also privacy. The master bedroom has a Juliet balcony door that opens to the front lane.

Stacked laundry is hidden in a closet on the landing, next to a small office (or kindergarten?) Next to the bedroom – currently used as a mini-gym. Doors open to a deceptively large balcony deck. From the inside, it looks about two feet wide, but a turn to the right takes you into a large room (also remodeled by Mrs. Austin) at the back of the house with privacy and built-in seating.

The third level has more living space: two large bedrooms (one of which is currently a home office) and another that could almost be another primary bedroom in scale. There is an ensuite with shower with glass (no bathtub here) that opens to the hallway, so it is technically a shared bath. There are skylights at the top of the staircase to draw in sunshine, and the office has a tall window cutout for the stairwell to draw in more light.

The third level has two large bedrooms.Soare Productions

What’s next

Mrs. Austin really had no intentions of selling, but sometimes life has other plans.

When the pandemic happened, her adult children needed a safe landing place to get home as well. Suddenly, with three adults in periodic locking, the house with three bedrooms and three bathrooms seemed a little small.

Now she’s able to look for a bigger house in Toronto after she thought she was done with all that.

“It’s not so normal for someone at my stage in life to get bigger,” she said. “I started to feel like I wanted more space and more outdoor space, which has become more important to many people after the last few years.” This time, the kids help her find the perfect place for all of them to land when they start another chapter.

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