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The eight-year-old Beach House loft building won a 2009 Toronto Urban Design award.
The eight-year-old Beach House loft building won a 2009 Toronto Urban Design award.

Home of the Week: Beach loft has a true city/lake view Add to ...


ASKING PRICE: $899,000

UNIT SIZE: 1,840 square feet

TAXES: $5,010.00 (2013)


AGENT: Sean Madigan, Sales Representative, Remax Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage

When advertising executive Tony Chapman happened upon the three-level loft at 1842 Queen St. E. three years ago, he was in the midst of rebuilding his life.

“I had lived in Lawrence Park while I was married, then I lived in one of those real handsome suites, but Yorkville wasn’t my thing,” he said. “I wanted to find something different and completely unique.”

Thing is, he never expected to find it in the Beach since, as he put it: “I didn’t have a [young] kid or a dog, so it didn’t make any sense.”

But unit 303 was so different from any of the other places he had lived in and offered him an opportunity to do something he hadn’t yet had the chance to do.

“I had never designed my own place and I really wanted to have that,” he said.

The back story

Mr. Chapman’s suite is one of 12 residential units in the eight-year-old Beach House Loft building, which was a Streetcar Developments project and won a 2009 Toronto Urban Design award.

“This is a very authentic loft,” said real estate agent Sean Madigan. “There are a lot of condos these days that are called a loft but this is the real thing.”

The building from the outside blends in with the public Beach streetscape. But once inside, it feels very private, like a boutique hotel with an industrial feel. (Though, unlike a hotel, there is no elevator, but as Mr. Chapman points out, the three flights of stairs help him ensure he gets daily exercise.)

Unit 303 is on the east end of the building and its interior is surprising spacious; especially on the main level, which is one large open space, lined by an exposed brick wall on the east side.

Framing both the east and west walls are metal staircases with polished concrete steps. One set leads to the lower level, with the master suite and a spare room with its own bathroom that could be either a bedroom or an office. The other staircase brings you up to the three-tiered deck, with an unobstructed view of the lake to the south and the downtown skyline to the west.

To make the space his own, Mr. Chapman made mainly aesthetic changes that injected some of his personality. “I wanted the natural parts of this loft – like the exposed brick and metal staircase – to still be the heroes of the place, but I wanted to add my own colour,” he said.

One of which was teal, a nod to Lake Ontario, which is a couple of blocks away. He used this accent colour to frame the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows on the main floor in silk, teal drapes.

Another colour he added was iron grey. The metal staircases were originally painted in red, but he changed that to match the grey in the new Caesarstone counters he put in and the slate-grey panelling he used to cover up the drywall in the foyer. He also added the same panelling in the living room, framing the fireplace on one side and a built-in TV storage unit on the other.

Other changes he made, with the help of interior designer Connie Braemer, included installing a number of custom, modern light fixtures, including a trio of big, bulbous pendant lights.

But the biggest changes were made in the bathrooms, which were completely redone. The master now features a floating double vanity, two shower heads and under-counter lighting that gives the bathroom a soft glow.

When the renovations were done, Mr. Chapman said he finally felt at home. “This is very much me. I think it has great style and it’s very artistic and creative,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s a fun place with great energy.”

Favourite spaces

Nowhere is that energy felt more than on the deck, said Mr. Chapman. And Mr. Madigan agrees that it’s one of the reasons this Beach loft is so unique.

“That deck offers a true city view and lake view, which a lot of places will say that they do, but they actually don’t,” said Mr. Madigan.

The deck has three levels and is approximately 800 square feet. The first area has a few outdoor couches on it and sits closes to Queen St. E., but even at just three storeys up, the sounds of streetcars and passers-by are muffled.

The middle level has a table and barbecue. And the third tier, which is at the back end, has a hot tub.

Despite the luxury of the large deck, that’s not Mr. Chapman’s favourite place in his home. That honour goes to a spot on his couch, which is back against the window-filled south wall.

“I love the way the light streams in from that spot,” he said. “And I love that I can look back at the condo and see everything, the staircase, the art on the walls, the lights.”

From that spot, in the wide open space of the main floor, Mr. Chapman has the ability to look upon the loft he made his own and the new life he built in it.

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