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104 Argyle St., Toronto.The Print Market

104 Argyle St., Toronto

Asking Price: $6,600,000

Taxes: $7,880.12 (2021)

Lot Size: 25 by 129 feet

Agent: C. Helene Baguley (Re/Max Realtron Realty Inc.)

The back story

When someone posts on Facebook that they’re looking for an architect, and a former high-school classmate recommends their cousin, a positive outcome may seem dubious.

But such an introduction in 2010 proved to be auspicious, as developer Adam Baguley and the principals of Batay-Csorba Architects came together to form a long collaboration.

At the time, Mr. Baguley was the co-founder of one popular bar on Ossington Avenue in Toronto and scoping out the prospects for his next project.

Andrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba were Canadians who met as undergraduates in Michigan and went on to earn master’s degrees in architecture from UCLA; he was working at Morphosis Architects and she was at Gehry Partners. When they first met Mr. Baguley, the couple had just moved to Toronto to launch their own firm.

Thanks to the initiative of Mr. Batay-Csorba’s cousin, the trio has teamed up on several ventures in some of the city’s coolest urban neighbourhoods.

Their latest project is steps from the stretch of Ossington where Mr. Baguley first opened the doors to his bar and dance floor amidst the area’s galleries and industrial shops.

The dwelling at 104 Argyle St. was carved up into 12 squalid apartments when Mr. Baguley found it in 2019.

Mr. Baguley was drawn to the property’s proximity to Ossington and the view across the street to a leafy park named Osler Playground. He wasn’t concerned with the structure’s condition.

“It was just a big, old ugly house with burn marks on the walls and mould,” he says. “It wasn’t livable but people were living there. We knew we were going to do a new build.”

The house today

For the art collector there are large expanses of uncluttered walls.The Print Market

BCA designed a five-bedroom home with 5,200 square feet of living space spread over four floors.

Two side walls are all that remain of the original dwelling.

For Mr. Baguley, the culture around Ossington Avenue and Queen Street West revolves around music, art and food. He wanted to create a house that lets the residents indulge those passions while using smart technology for heating, cooling and sound.

For the music aficionado, a high-end sound system has been hardwired throughout. For the art collector there are large expanses of uncluttered walls. And for the chef or foodie, a kitchen with an 11-foot island.

A priority for the architects was that the house relate to the neighbouring properties. The general massing, roof pitch and a play on a dormer window are some of the elements that connect the building to the area.

“We were working to create a contextual response but also something new,” Mr. Batay-Csorba says.

Inside, the two created an open plan on the main floor, with a floating steel staircase at the centre.

“The whole intention of the stair was to create this light well to bring light down,” Ms. Batay-Csorba says.

Perforated metal guards act as a screen between the living area in the centre and the kitchen at the rear but still allows for continuity between the spaces.

At the front of the house, the architects created a library with a large expanse of glass overlooking the street.

As Toronto residents have become more open to contemporary architecture in recent years, the architects say, they’ve also embraced the idea of bringing the outside in. In all BCA projects, the partners strive to create spaces flooded with light.

“One of the fascinating things about this house is the park across the street,” Mr. Batay-Csorba says. “This is an incredibly urban site with a unique relationship to its context.”

Exposed two-by-10 Douglas fir joists add texture and interest in the foyer library at the front, and provide a warm contrast to the sleek black cabinets and granite countertops in the kitchen.

The kitchen’s 11-foot island, integrated appliances and induction cooktop are designed for a resident who loves to cook or just enjoys food, Mr. Baguley says.

  • Home of the Week, 104 Argyle St., TorontoThe Print Market

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From the kitchen, residents look out toward a wall of Rideau red brick with double soldier course patterning at the end of the garden. The dilapidated garage was torn down and replaced with a new, heated building with space for two cars.

“We carried the brick through to even the back garage,” Ms. Batay-Csorba says. “It almost creates a courtyard feel.”

On the second floor, a large primary suite at the rear of the house includes an ensuite bathroom with a separate water closet, stand-alone tub and a walk-in shower with a bench. Luxurious touches include dolomite stone, black metal brushed fixtures and heated marble floors.

“The palette was kept very simple and bright,” Ms. Batay-Csorba says of the seven bathrooms and powder rooms throughout the house. “They are clean, bright and airy.”

There’s a middle bedroom on that floor and another at the front with a large window facing the park.

Stairs lead to the third floor, where Mr. Baguley has built a bar and lounge area. Throughout the house, windows with steel reinforced frames allow for large expanses of glass, Mr. Baguley points out. From the lounge, a door leads to a private, 500-square-foot rooftop deck enclosed in Ipe walls.

On the lower level, light wells bring light to the bedroom at the front and the media room at the rear.

The architects say the rooms were designed to accommodate a range of uses. They could imagine an entrepreneur turning one of the bedrooms into a home office, or a multigenerational family spread out over the four levels.

“Because of the size and flexibility of the program, you could have so many different owners in that space,” Mr. Batay-Csorba says.

The best feature

The architects say the rooms were designed to accommodate a range of uses.The Print Market

For the exterior, artist Jimmy Chiale was hired to create an original work of art in his signature style of black and white lines on the oversized smooth metal garage door.

The artist, raised in Paris, moved to Toronto in 2006.

“This house has been built around the idea of Ossington and we continued it right to the laneway,” Mr. Baguley says.

Mr. and Ms. Batay-Csorba have given Mr. Chiale’s work a place of prominence in several of their projects.

“We love how his work enlivens a space,” Mr. Batay-Csorba says.

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