Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Birdhouse Media

The listing: 50 Bartlett Ave., Unit 16, Toronto

Asking price: $1.68-million

Taxes: $4,146.83 (2018)

Story continues below advertisement

Monthly maintenance fees: $797.65

Size: 1,919 square feet

Agents: Karyn Filiatrault and Josh Jean-Baptiste, Sage Real Estate

The backstory

The owners say they spent around $250,000 customizing their home.

Birdhouse Media

Wade Grocott and Melissa Niccols may have lost count, but think they’ve lived in 10 different houses (or boats) in the past 15 years, though none received the kind of attention to the interior as their most recent home.

“It’s like a hobby for us,” said Mr. Grocott, referring to moving. As a child, his mother moved the family often, flipping houses every few years, and now that the couple’s three children are grown and out of the house there’s even more flexibility to move at will. The couple have lived in a bunch of different kinds of neighbourhoods in the city, choosing a house to fit a type of urban living they want to sample. “The day we’re moving in, I wonder what we’ll get for it when we sell it … that’s just the way we are. Some people like to travel, we like to try new lifestyles,” Mr. Grocott said.

They acquired the townhouse at 50 Bartlett Ave. four years ago – buying an assignment of a pre-sale contract about two years into the project’s life – but have only lived in the space since September, 2017. They were moved by the unusual spaces created by the conversion of the 100-year-old yarn factory hidden behind a leafy street near Bloor and Dufferin streets and purchased numerous upgrades from the builder. As possession day got close, they began to strategize about how to finish the interior.

“One of the first things we did when we saw this property, we agreed we were going to have some fun with this place, we were not going to stick to beige,” Mr. Grocott said. They estimate that between upgrades and design work, they spent $250,000 customizing the house.

Story continues below advertisement

The house is a riot of design ideas, very few of them are “safe” for easy flipping, but if you’re not excited by the design, Mr. Grocott has a reassuring message: “None of our choices are irreversible: it’s not a renovation project, there’s nothing structural; these are preferences.”

The house today

The couple says the kitchen's seating is their favourite part of the home.

Birdhouse Media

As soon as you walk in the front door of the townhouse, you’re looking directly at the couple’s kitchen seating area and favourite space. It’s also the spot that served as the beginning of a series of bold design choices.

“We didn’t want a dining table, we want a banquet corner,” Mr. Grocott said. “We want it to look like that booth everybody hopes they get in a restaurant.” They hired TEB Interiors and lead designer Terry Briceland to realize their booth and the result is a black leather cushion bolted to a painted white brick wall, surrounded by a flurry of black and white photos in eclectic framing types, a working cuckoo clock and industrial-ish light fixtures with several hanging bare bulbs all in different sizes and shapes. Set against the herringbone slate floor tile, it does look like a hip Bloor Street restaurant.

The seating area was meant to evoke 'the booth everybody hopes they get in a restaurant.'

Birdhouse Media

The beige wood-grain kitchen cabinets are relatively tame in comparison, though the appliances and fittings are high-grade: Fisher Paykel fridge, Wolf range and oven and a black granite undermount sink. And they can sit their extended family of nine around the wood banquet table.

The kitchen features high-grade appliances and beige, wood-grain cabinets.

Birdhouse Media

Once they saw the booth plans, they decided to unleash Mr. Briceland on the rest of the townhouse. The first taste of what’s to come is the powder room on the way to the living room.

The powder room is one of the home's most surprising spaces.

Birdhouse Media

“I wanted this Parisian flair, almost tacky over-the-top space that’s completely unexpected in a powder room. That’s what [TEB] did. Everybody comments on it every single time they come out of there,” Ms. Niccols says. Deep blue walls with gold stencilling, gold faucet, gold mirror frame, gold-and-glass-pendant light, gold-and-glass soapdish, gold toilet paper holder, even gold pipes under the sink. Sadly, the wall-mounted toilet is normal porcelain. For such a tiny space under the stairs, it speaks loudly. Being ordinary and safe, that makes us more uncomfortable than taking a chance with a bold statement,” Ms. Niccols says.

Story continues below advertisement

On the corner of a 16-unit development, the house's living room has soaring windows on two walls.

Birdhouse Media

The living room takes advantage of the two-storey interior space and being the corner house of the 16-unit development, which means there are soaring windows are on two walls. The fireplace has a black, cold-rolled steel cladding the entire height of the room, some gold and glass shelves, bronzed flower sculpture plaques and plush blue velvet couches soften the industrial feel. And don’t worry about finding furniture to match this design; when they move, Wade and Melissa plan to take basically just their clothes and their toothbrushes: “We would leave everything here. Everything was bought for this space.”

Birdhouse Media

The master bedroom overlooks the living room from a loft with a glass barrier.

Birdhouse Media

Overlooking the living room is a master bedroom loft, but with a glass wall separating the spaces. Black curtains frame the windows and a black wall conceals a 60-inch television, surrounded by custom-made plaster floral and wasp sculptures. Facing the glass wall is a custom-made wallpaper mural of Vespa scooters (vespa means wasp in Italian), inspired by the couple’s own two-wheeled hobby rides. There’s a curving neon-tubing-style LED light fixture on the wall and another antique chandelier (with blue-glass pendants)

A second-floor hallway is repurposed as an office space.

Birdhouse Media

The second-floor hallway between the master bedroom and the walk-in closet and bathroom has been converted to an office space, and the sliding doors on this floor help keep the space open.

The vanity in the master bathroom sits between two doors leading to the shower and the toilet.

Birdhouse Media

The master bath has a glass-bead chandelier, a stand-alone soaker tub with marble backsplash. On the opposite wall a vanity sits between two glass doors, one to the toilet and one to a walk-in shower. A large art-piece adorns the wall facing the entrance.

An original mural serves as the headboard in the third-floor second bedroom.

Birdhouse Media

The third floor has a second bedroom, with another original mural this time painted right on the wall, serving as the headboard. This room was inspired by their youngest son’s input, including the “barista” shelf that runs across the rooftop terrace-facing window (a popular feature of downtown coffee bars). The black-tiled bathroom has another piece of custom-made wallpaper, a colourful scene of jellyfish.

The third-floor terrace was designed by Terra Firma Home and Terrace.

Birdhouse Media

The terrace is the work of Terra Firma Home and Terrace. The blue and grey sitting area comes complete with matching Napoleon barbecue.

Story continues below advertisement

Altogether, the look is a mix of eras: Victorian and 21st-century, industrial and modern design, contemporary decor with kitschy – almost corny – design elements. It’s all original though. “There are a lot of houses where this doesn’t work, but it works in this factory,” Mr. Grocott said. “We don’t pretend to be experts; our commitment was simply to have some fun.”

The market

The couple has been attempting to sell for several months, never quite finding the right price. “There’s still a market for this kind of property, but the price point can shrink your audience. That’s what we’re coming across,” Mr. Grocott said.

Of course, it is a modern condo so the units are metered separately and heat, water and electricity are not included in the almost $800 a month maintenance fees. There’s also not much in the way of common elements other than the parking stacker in the garage (an elevator that stores the resident’s cars below ground).

For Ms. Niccols, 51, and Mr. Grocott, 57, their next move could be their last as they are preparing for retirement and would like to move to Ontario’s Georgian Bay area, where designs for a Scandinavian-style lake house are already taking shape.

The couple expects to find a buyer something similar to themselves; a downsizer looking for a unique slice of downtown living. “There are people who lived in this neighbourhood for years who didn’t know this place was here. They know there’s a laneway, but a whole bunch of townhouses? Really? It’s a hidden gem," Mr. Grocott said.

Your house is your most valuable asset. We have a weekly Real Estate newsletter to help you stay on top of news on the housing market, mortgages, the latest closings and more. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct

For sale in this area

View similar listings below. Clicking on the map will take you to the listings below.

Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
1299000.00
579 GLADSTONE AVE, Toronto, Ontario
KELLER WILLIAMS REFERRED URBAN REALTY
Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
2
Building Type
Freehold
Property Type
Single Family
You Can Feel The Love In This Home. Same Owners Since The 70'S. Traditional Immigrant Family Who Came To Canada And Planted Roots Like So Many Of Us Including Myself And Raised A Family Right Here In The Downtown. Little Did They Know That They Had Bought A House In Such A Vibrant And Locationally Prime Spot. 579 Is Minutes From The Subway And Minutes From Two Beautiful Parks In The City, Dufferin Grove And Dovercourt Park. Please Write 579'S Next Chapter.**** EXTRAS **** Nice Lot Size With Front Pad Parking Which Is Up To Date. Opportunity To Create A Basement Apartment With Separate Entrance. Property Is Vacant So Viewings Anytime. Gladstone Library At Base Of Street. Mediterrania Food Shop On Barlett. Yum (id:31729)
Listing ID W5232311
Salesperson DONAL WARD-MCCARTHY
Brokerage KELLER WILLIAMS REFERRED URBAN REALTY
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
1399900.00
421 WESTMORELAND AVE, Toronto, Ontario
ROYAL LEPAGE KAWARTHA LAKES REALTY INC.
Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
2
Property Type
Single Family
Great Investment Opportunity In A Very Sought Out Area.This Legal Triplex With Separate Entrance To Each Units.Solid 2 Storey Detached Property With 2 Se Lf Contained Units Ready To Move In/Or Rent.Basement Is Ready To Do As You Choose. Double Garage In Rear. Close To All Amenities, Schools, Shopping, Place Of Worship, Public Transit, Short Walk To Bloor St, Dovercourt Park. Property Sold 'As Is'.This Wonderful Property Has So Much Potential! It Won't Last!! (id:31729)
Listing ID W5231783
Salesperson INES VELOSO
Brokerage ROYAL LEPAGE KAWARTHA LAKES REALTY INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
859000.00
#1210 -200 BLOOR ST W, Toronto, Ontario
ROYAL LEPAGE NEW CONCEPT
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
2
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
The Exhibit Residences 1 Bed Plus Den 2 Wash Corner Suite In The Yorkville Area. Steps Away To Bloor Street Shopping, Subway Station, Royal Ontario Museum And U Of T Campus. This Unit Features A Modern Kitchen With Built In Miele Fridge, Cook Top, Oven And Dishwasher. Faber Exhaust And Panasonic Microwave. Den With Double Doors. Floor To Ceiling Windows. 1 Parking Included!!**** EXTRAS **** Elfs, Window Coverings, Fridge, Cooktop, Oven, Microwave, Dishwasher, Washer And Dryer (id:31729)
Listing ID C5137358
Salesperson JEFF KIM
Brokerage ROYAL LEPAGE NEW CONCEPT
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
849000.00
#104 -110 HEPBOURNE ST, Toronto, Ontario
RE/MAX HALLMARK REALTY LTD.
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
1
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Livin' The Dream At Hepbourne Hall! Gorgeous 2 Bedroom Authentic Loft With Underground Parking, Locker, West Facing Balcony And Gas Fireplace. Soaring Ceilings. Hardwood Flooring Throughout. Newly Renovated Kitchen And Bath With Deep Soaker Tub. Stainless Steel Kitchenaid Appliances. Newer Furnace And Hot Water Tank. Located In Glorious Dufferin Grove.**** EXTRAS **** Elfs, Washer And Dryer, Fridge, Stove, Dishwasher, Ceiling Fan. Exclusions: Dining Room Light Fixture, Living Room Sheers (To Be Replaced With Owner's Curtains). Pet Friendly. (id:31729)
Listing ID C5232904
Salesperson MATTHEW CASSELMAN
Brokerage RE/MAX HALLMARK REALTY LTD.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
1489000.00
124 HALLAM ST, Toronto, Ontario
RE/MAX WEST REALTY INC.
Bedrooms
5
Bathrooms
3
Building Type
Freehold
Property Type
Single Family
Great Investment Opportunity. Solid 2.5 Storey Detached Property With 3 Self Contained Units. Features Include Coin Laundry, Privately Fenced Rear Yard And Private Drive With 1 Parking Space. Conveniently Located Short Walking Distance To Subway, Schools, Parks And All Amenities.**** EXTRAS **** All Existing Electrical Light Fixtures, 3 Fridges, 3 Electric Stoves, Coin Washer And Dryer, New Gas Furnace (April 2021), Hot Water Tank Owned. *Ca743523;City Of Toronto. (id:31729)
Listing ID W5223627
Salesperson ANTONIO (TONY) CARNOVALE
Brokerage RE/MAX WEST REALTY INC.
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies