1205 Bathurst St., Toronto
Asking Price: $5,350,000
Taxes: $13,359 (2019)
Lot Size: 65 feet by 100 feet
Agents: Susan Delean, Sutton Group Associates Realty Inc.
In 1999, Merike Bauer’s parents, Ants and Laurel Reigo, searched for a building that had both a space to work and a place to call home. The couple were also looking for a large space, something they were already used to after living and working in a small converted warehouse at Lansdowne Avenue and Dupont Street that had an art studio, a residence and commercial space.
“It was like an early loft conversion from the 80s,” Ms. Bauer says.
Her parents found what they were looking for at 1205 Bathurst St. They bought the 8,730-square-foot property soon after seeing a “For Sale” sign outside the building. The couple knew immediately that it was a place where they could have the same sort of lifestyle as in their previous home, while still maintaining their business.
“They just drove by and saw it,” Ms. Bauer says. “We’ve always felt lucky to have found it when we did.”
Since then, the building has been shared among three generations of Ms. Bauer’s family. “It was myself, my parents and my grandmother who all lived in the building,” she says. The ground floor was originally occupied by Ms. Bauer’s parents’ working space, the Studio 8 Graphics Fine Art Printing Studio.
The home today
The former Studio 8 Graphics shop is now the offices of Ms. Bauer’s architecture firm, Reigo & Bauer, run by Meriko and Stephen Bauer. There are two more commercial rental units on the ground floor; one, with tall ceilings and glass block clerestory, is currently used by a Pilates studio. The other unit, located at the front of the building, is used as a private office. The ground floor also has a large undeveloped studio space where Mr. Reigo spends time painting.
“The ‘raw’ studio space is the part of the printing shop my dad retained and still had set up for printing and with his risers for printing,” Ms. Bauer says.
The second floor has two apartments; Meriko, her husband and their children, as well as Ms. Bauer’s parents, live on this floor. It also features a 2,000-square-foot rooftop garden that sits between the two apartments. Bauer’s apartment is located in front of the building, her parents at the back of the building.
Over the years, and especially since her parents retired from their printing business, Ms. Bauer and her husband have made changes to the building. “My husband and I started a design practice, so we converted some of the building over to a studio space for our business,” Ms. Bauer says.
Most of the units in the building have been rejuvenated and modernized, including some elements that date from the 1930s such as the gumwood doors with etched glass panels. The building now includes built-in cabinetry, a modern kitchen with marble counters and hardwood flooring throughout. A scissor lift was also installed to help bring large-scale plants to the rooftop garden and assist Ms. Bauer’s mother with mobility issues. The side of the living room that creates a passage to the back patio has the original brick and beam and all the windows have been replaced with high efficiency glazing that has a solar reflective element. Ms. Bauer says the redesign has been gradual as the building’s attributes have been slowly revealed. “Architectural qualities are seen and brought back to life. There’s different approaches that have been taken in different spaces,” Ms. Bauer says.
Ms. Bauer and her family love the flexibility a large and varied space has given them. “[It has] allowed us over the years to have a lot of different solutions to our living and working conditions,” she says.
Real estate agent Susan Delean says the building offers a timely live/work solution for a potential buyer. “We’re living in a time where you have to work from home. … It provides almost like a textbook COVID response … in terms of your living environment and your working environment, this property is like tailored made for that,” Ms. Delean says.
Ms. Bauer says living and working in the same space is also family friendly, making it easier to take care of the kids after school, or when they are sick at home. And raising their children in a multi-generational building has helped create a closer bond between them and their grandparents. “We’ve found [that] our kids are getting to grow up with a second set of parents… which has been a very lovely thing,” Ms. Bauer says.
She says the area blends the best parts of a residential neighbourhood and commercial life. “It’s a neighbourhood that is a very desirable place for families and businesses alike,” Ms. Bauer says.
The best feature
Ms. Bauer says the rooftop garden is one of her favourite spaces, and one the family has spent more than two decades working on. Ms. Delean says the spot is breathtaking. “You cannot walk onto that rooftop and not have your jaw drop,” she says.
But Ms. Bauer, her greatest joy was to see the multiple generations of her family grow in the building over years and the memories created from the time she lived with here with her family while in university, to the time of renovations and the creating of different spaces. “The fact that we started here with my grandmother, my parents and me… we’ve been able to adapt the building to suit our needs.”
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