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Home of the Week, 301 Markham St., Toronto, penthouse 802. In the Ideal Lofts building, the open plan residence is in a nine-storey building designed with 68 units about 10 years ago by Toronto-based Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance.


Asking price: $829,900

Maintenance fees: $805.88 a month

Taxes: $5,161.92

Agent: Robin Pope (Brad J. Lamb Realty)

The Building

The Ideal Lofts are "soft" lofts, which means that they have the airy volume, open plan and industrial details of a "hard" loft, but no history as a Victorian-era warehouse or gritty factory. In this case, the name of the nine-storey building comes from the Ideal Restaurant Supply store which once stood on the site, says real estate agent Robin Pope of Brad J. Lamb Realty.

The building was designed with 68 units about 10 years ago by Toronto-based Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance. The project received an 'honourable mention' at the City of Toronto's Architecture and Urban Design Awards 2003.

Mr. Pope says people often think of the high-rises along King Street West and other downtown areas when they are looking at condos, whereas the College Street area has a small handful of low-profile boutique buildings.

While the downtown towers are rising so rapidly that views in one building can quickly become blocked by the next, the penthouse on the 8th and 9th floors looks mainly out on residential streets lined with houses.

"Here you have a permanent, unobstructed view," he says.

Looking south, residents can see Lake Ontario. To the west and north, the view takes in the treetops.

"There's a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city," says Mr. Pope of the greenery.

Mr. Pope says the neighbourhood appeals to young professionals who like to step out the door and be close to restaurants, cafés and bars.

Little Italy stretches along College Street, Kensington Market is nearby, and the University of Toronto is a few blocks north and east.

The 506 streetcar runs along College and the Royal repertory cinema is just down the street.

The Unit

The current owner purchased Penthouse 802, which takes up about 1,260 square feet of space on two levels, after touring this unit and a few others during a steady drizzle a few years ago.

"It was a rainy day and everything she saw was gloomy," Mr. Pope said. "Even on a rainy day, this wasn't gloomy."

The unit has two bedrooms, three bathrooms and a den.

The main level has a an open concept, with living and dining areas and the kitchen. "The two walk-outs to the terrace have six-foot openings," Mr. Pope says of the doors that slide wide apart to let breezes through.

A sculptural staircase with glass-and-metal rails twists to the second floor.

Upstairs, the master bedroom has a recently-refurbished ensuite bathroom with a walk-in glass shower enclosure and a stretch of granite with two sinks.

"They redesigned it to make it more friendly for a couple," Mr. Pope said.

The Best Feature

The agent says the unit has been attracting the attention of young professional couples who like the neighbourhood. The floor-to-ceiling windows and the open plan make it exceptionally bright, he adds.

"I showed this to a young photographer and she loved it," Mr. Pope said, "but because there are so many windows there's not enough place to hang your art work."