393 King St. W., Penthouse 1206, Toronto
Asking price: $359,000
Maintenance fee: $499.79/month (includes parking)
Unit size: Approximately 740 square feet, one bedroom, one den
Taxes: $2,020.57 (2012)
Listing Agent: Jen Tripp, HomeLife/Realty One Ltd. Brokerage
When Stacey Barbetta bought her penthouse on King Street West near Spadina in 2006, the downtown artery was not what it is today.
Yes it was populated, but only really busy during the night and on the weekends when people came down to party in the bar-heavy neighbourhood.
Otherwise, it was pretty peaceful.
“It is such a central location, in terms of getting to the airport, getting good bars and getting to the TTC,” says Ms. Barbetta.
But a lot has changed in seven years. Many of the nightclubs have moved out and condo towers have moved in. There are many more people and the area pulses with urban life.
The King’s Tower was built in the 1990s and was converted to a fully residential space in 1999. Because of this, amenities are minimal, but all of the staples are there. There’s a gym, a communal outdoor space off the third floor with a barbecue and billiards tables. The unit also comes with a locker on the same floor, a rarity in new condos.
“This is kind of an old gal of a building,” says agent Jen Tripp. “And older buildings tend to bring offerings that new construction doesn’t always have. For one, the units are generally larger.”
Another plus is that there is more concrete between the floors, cancelling out a lot of noise.
Even though the unit was only seven years old when Ms. Barbetta took ownership, it needed some work.
“When I walked in, I really liked the high ceilings and the spaciousness, but it definitely need a little TLC,” she says.
When she bought it the unit had concrete floors, red and yellow walls and dirty carpet in the den. Her first task was to get it clean and refreshed with a new coat of paint. She managed to cover up the oppressive yellow and red walls with many layers of an off-white hue. She then installed new laminate floors and revitalized the decor with new light fixtures, keeping only one – an industrial silver, semi-dome pendant that dangles from the exposed pipes.
Those pipes are a gift of the previous owners, who had renovated the ceiling by peeling away the drywall, exposing its industrial innards and enlarging the space by raising the ceiling height significantly while giving it a true loft feeling.
But the biggest change Ms. Barbetta made was removing the lower half of the east wall to expose the windows the drywall was covering, thus creating an entire wall of light.
“I love lying in bed and watching the sun come up, or just sitting by the windows [in the living room]. The light is just so soft,” she says.
For Ms. Barbetta, the east side of the loft near the wall of windows is one of her favourite spaces. It provides light all day, she says. In the morning natural light comes in as the sun rises, then as it moves west the light bounces off the surrounding windows of other hi-rises to give her unit a soft, reflected glow.
Interestingly, her other favourite space is the den, the only room in her penthouse not flooded by the light from the east wall.
“I really love the den because everything else in the loft is so open. It’s very cozy by comparison,” says Ms. Barbetta.
Ms. Tripp adds that, in addition to having a great view – there’s even a sliver of Lake Ontario viewable through a maze of hi-rise buildings – the building has a high walkability score: There’s a grocery store, a liquor store, multiple coffee shops and a drug store all within a two-minute walk of the entrance. It also sits at the crossroads of two streetcar lines.