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Reinventing the family home


Sometimes searching for the right house turns out to be a hunt for something else. Like not a house.

Take the Krossings, for instance.

The family of four — Karen and Kevin, and their two daughters Tess and Paige — are downsizing from a four-bedroom detached home in East York to two condos on opposite ends of the same floor of Canvas Condominium, a new Marlin Spring Developments project. Standing around a table at the sales office, they go through all the possibilities of “running up and down the hallway,” speaking over one another.

“You can put on your robe and run down for coffee. No streaking,” says Karen, 51, author of Punch Like a Girl, and other books aimed at kids and teens. “Paige and I have this plan to do yoga on the terrace in the morning. We’re going to watch the sunrise in their unit, and sunset at our unit.”

“I thought we were doing drinks at yours,” says Paige, 22.

“You mean drinks at ours,” interrupts Tess, 20.

“No, we’re morning, they’re night,” says Paige.

“I figured that we’d put a water slide in between …” jokes Kevin, 49, vice-president of strategy at a downtown Toronto marketing technology company.

For the past two years, the Krossing family has discussed the idea of moving on. They’d outgrown their East York home, which they’d bought in 1999. Paige had left home when she was studying at Guelph University, and recently moved back to pursue a postgraduate course in child and youth work, while Tess, who had lived at home during school, and now works as an event planner at The Spoke Club, was looking to move out.

“Basically, we’re four adults in a house, going in four different directions. We wanted somewhere we could be near the TTC, near cultural events, near work and near each other,” says Karen.

However, the current real estate and rental market was proving to be a challenge.

“We looked at other houses, we tried finding bigger condos — but they are hard to find, or they are older buildings,” says Kevin. Meanwhile, the rental units they looked at for Tess were sub-standard or too expensive. “If you’re a twentysomething getting your first full-time job, and you’re not getting paid much, where will you live? There aren’t many options.”

Karen came across Canvas Condominium during some online research, and the Krossing family paid a visit. The building fit all their requirements.

“It’s between two TTC stops, so you can get to either Woodbine or Main. And it’s near (Danforth) GO station,” says Karen. “It’s a great neighbourhood … It’s a lowrise building, which was important because we wanted a sense of community.”

The Krossing family purchased two units on the top, eighth floor: Calder and Freud — all the units in Canvas Condominium are named after famous artists. Each unit has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a terrace. The Freud is 1,548 square feet (indoor and outdoor), while the Calder’s combined space is 1,273 square feet. The suites feature nine-foot ceilings, quartz countertops in the kitchen and baths, stainless-steel appliances and wide plank designer laminate floors. Building amenities include an executive concierge, pet-wash station, party lounge, fitness centre, yoga studio, rooftop terrace with a fireplace lounge, barbecue dining alcove and a sundeck.

Canvas Condominium is located in the heart of Danforth Village, a bustling neighbourhood that — along with its proximity to two subway stations and a GO stop — gives the location a 94 Walk Score. As well, Carrot Common, a wellness-oriented mall, a gourmet coffee shop and neighbourhood book store are also nearby.

“We thought, ‘This is the best of all the options’,” says Karen. Both parents and children get their independence, while keeping close. “We are thinking Monday night will be family night. We can take turns cooking.”

The family theme continues with Marlin Spring, the project’s developer. Zev Mandelbaum and his brothers-in-law, Benjamin Bakst and Elliot Kazarnovksy, started the company 3-1/2 years ago. They formerly worked at Lanterra Developments, which was co-founded by Mandelbaum’s father Mark Mandelbaum and Barry Fenton, and built some of Toronto’s iconic structures such as Maple Leaf Square and Ice Condominium. Mandelbaum’s grandfather is Sandy Hofstedter, an Auschwitz survivor who started H&R Developments in 1952, and built an empire of commercial, residential and industrial holdings.

Mandelbaum chose the location for Canvas Condominium after a reconnaissance jaunt looking specifically in Toronto’s east end, and at its feeling of community, its transit access and retail presence. He ended up buying the dilapidated Wise Guys Deluxe Bar & Grille.

“I stood on the corner and noticed $ 1,000 strollers — Bugaboo, Uppababy. I have two kids of my own and know what strollers costsNext thing I knew, I had an offer on the property,” he says.

For the Krossing family, the city’s hot real estate market allowed them to afford two condo suites. “We bought our home at a pretty reasonable price, and are now getting a ridiculous amount of money for it,” says Kevin. “But that also means we’re unable to find something reasonable for our daughters.”

“We have split our real-estate investment into two,” says Karen. “We have a stable property for us to live in long-term. We can sell the other one in 10 years from now, and help (Tess and Paige) get started.”

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CANVAS CONDOMINIUM

Builder: Marlin Spring Developments

Architect: Graziani + Corazza Architects Inc. Interior design: U31 Inc. (design firm)

Location: 2301-2315 Danforth Ave., Toronto

Building: 8 storeys, 156 units

Suites: 523 square feet (indoor and outdoor) to 1,548 square feet

Pricing: Starting from the mid-$ 300,000s

Occupancy: December 2019

TORONTO STAR | LIFE | HOMES

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