71 SIMCOE ST. PH 2601
Asking Price: $2,800,000
Taxes: $7,013.18 (2014)
Size: 3,500 square feet (approx.)
Maintenance Fee: $2,410.51
Agent: Alex Moloney and Franco Dinatale, Toronto Condo Team, Right at Home Realty
When Alex Moloney showed me around the penthouse suite of 71 Simcoe St., he asked a seemingly simple question: “When do you think this unit was built?”
I’m bad at guessing games, but from the sleek, sophisticated, modern design of the unit – it spans the entire 26th floor of a residential tower that is tucked in behind St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church – I take a stab: “Uh, maybe five or six years ago?”
Actual answer: 19.
The back story
The owner bought the unit when it was still being constructed back in 1995. She immediately brought in Peter Ng, a design associate at Kearns Mancini Architects Inc., to help transform the space.
His task: To design a modern space for a couple.
“So we knew we didn’t need a space that would have six bedrooms,” he said. “It gave us some liberty about how we were going to design it.”
As a result, the unit has a very distinct flow, with every few walls but many objects that delineate areas and create functions to specific places. Take, for example, a large media console in the northwest corner, adjacent to the kitchen. It suggets that corner be used as a family room.
These definitive objects are scattered around the unit: Mr. Ng calls them his “sculptures.”
“The idea is to have this landscape of sculptures in a free-flowing open concept space,” he said.
Another key sculpture is the shiny yellow, curved wall that sections off the kitchen from the dining room. It provides some privacy (kitchen messes are hidden during dinner parties), while adding an art-gallery feel to the home.
“So with the kitchen – you’re either going to love it or hate it – it’s not the typical, modern kitchen,” Mr. Moloney said. “It has got some flavour and personality to it.”
Beyond the yellow wall, the kitchen is outfitted in a rich blue colour. Mr. Ng admits that choosing the colours was a deliberate process. The yellow was a request from the owner, and so the blue was chosen because it has purple undertones, thus making it complementary to the standout Aureolin wall.
The kitchen sits in the heart of the unit. To the south of it lies the dining room and a formal living room. To the north of it, there is the media room and a space for home office. That segues into the master suite, with its memorable glass-block, mosaic-floor spiral shower.
Tucked directly behind the kitchen is another smaller work-area with a sink (perfect for a food prep area if you bring a caterer in for a party) and a laundry space.
In the southeast corner, there’s a powder room just off the entrance and a second bedroom, which Mr. Moloney points out is big enough to be a second master suite. It also features a full ensuite washroom, a walk-in closet and the massive hinged door. Depending on the use of the room, the entire wall can be pivoted open, connecting it to the main space. Or if in use, it can swing the other way and connect the two supportive walls, closing it off for privacy.
Another thing that differentiates this unit from other luxury condos is that it possesses a range of striking design features.
“I’ve never seen a condo with so many different elements, like the exposed concrete, the skylights, the drop ceiling, the pitched roof, the steel beams. Usually, you get one or two but this has a lot,” Mr. Moloney said. “It’s not a condo and it’s not a loft. It has elements of both.”
One of these skylights is found in the master suite, directly above the bed.
“We saw [that room] as a cathedral kind of space,” Mr. Ng said. “But it only had a window facing north, so we wanted to bring in some more natural light.
“We wanted it so that on a nice night, the owners could pull the shades back and look up and have a sense of sleeping under the stars.”
Mr. Moloney’s favourite room is the formal living room. “I love the living room with the double-open French doors. You can bring downtown Toronto in.”
The French doors lead out to a spacious south-facing balcony (one of three outdoor spaces attached to the unit). It also leads into an extra room that’s separate from the unit, tucked into one of the peaks of the building.
“It’s like a garage within a condo,” said Mr. Moloney. “It’s something I’ve never seen before. It could be a hobby room. Or used for storage. Or even a music studio.”
But it’s all of these features – inserted into every possible space, and designed to flow together by Mr. Ng – that set this penthouse apart from the rest, according to Mr. Moloney.
“You can tell there has been a lot of thought and planning put into the overall design,” he said. “It’s a condo that is unique in its own right.”