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Four-year project turns the Toronto property into three homes

The Globe and Mail
Four-year project turns the Toronto property into three homes

452 Montrose Ave., Toronto

Sale price: $ 2,899,999

Taxes: $ 5,600 (2021)

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Party size: 17.9 feet by 120 feet

Agent: Evan Wright, Plex Realty Corp.

The back story

Meals can be served directly from the kitchen to the total eateries.

Property vision

Mani Mani was immersed in building new laneway houses in the Bickford Park area when the coronavirus made life in downtown Toronto.

“It was an interesting time to see how we behave,” says the founder of Fishtnk Design Factory. “It turned out to be a case study of what we need as a society.”

Mr. Mani recently completed the project that created three two-bedroom houses on a property just south of Bloor Street West.

Fishtnk Design Factory Mani Mani turned a single property in Toronto into three separate homes.

Property vision

The transformation began about four years ago when he bought a traditional house from the 1890s with an extension from the 1980s on the back.

The detached two-storey house had been renovated over the years, but Mr. Mani reckoned he could make further improvements to create a home for him and his partner.

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At the time, the city of Toronto was holding consultations with the community about creating more housing in the city’s lanes.

Mr. Mania closely followed the conversation. He began to think about how he could add another suite to the property on Montrose.

The concept offers an alternative to condominiums with each residence providing 800 to 900 square feet of indoor space and an outdoor garden.

Property vision

When the city council changed the official plan to allow the creation of more runway suites, he decided to participate in the construction of a new topography for the city.

Mr. Mani had been a practicing architect for several years before becoming an entrepreneur. He launched Fishtnk in 2008 to manufacture wooden furniture and architectural components.

As an architect, Mr. Mania spent some time working for apartment developers. He always needed to be aware of the fine balance between making a comfortable place for people and making money for the builder, he says.

In March 2020, when Toronto went into lockdown and people fled from tall towers and densely packed spaces, Mr. Mania that many city dwellers wanted to stay in the city, but they also wanted access to it outdoors.

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For his own project, the entrepreneur sought out cities like Montreal to get inspiration to create density.

Each of the homes has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private patio.

Property vision

“Let’s make it close; let’s live in the city, ”he decided. “We have bike paths, we have parks.”

Throughout Ontario’s various stages of lockdown, Mr. Mania of building. He felt even more firmly that he was on the right track.

“The pandemic was a confirmation of what good city life can mean.”

The house today

Mr. Mani’s single-family property has become three homes – each with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private patio.

The concept offers an alternative to condominiums with each residence providing 800 to 900 square feet of indoor space and an outdoor garden.

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“It essentially feels like three separate townhouses, but they share a lot,” he says.

Mr. Mani and Jolien Benjamin live with their son, Noah, in the original part of the house, which faces Montrose Avenue.

Mr. Mani says the property ‘feels like three separate townhouses’, all of which happen to share the same thing.

Property vision

Residents and visitors entering in front arrive at a garden with tall grasses and a patio surrounded by hanging baskets of flowers. The use of ipe on the facade was inspired by a tall spruce that stood on the property next door, he says.

“We used wood almost like a veil,” he says. “With that tree, we used the vertical lines as a guide.”

He can slide parts of the hardwood screen across the front of the house to create more privacy for the balcony on the second floor or push them away to bring in more light, he adds.

A small garden gives Mr. Mania enough space to grow cucumbers and herbs.

Property vision

“Depending on how you move these screens left and right, the building will change.”

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The small garden gives Mr. Mania enough space to grow cucumbers and herbs.

Inside, the ground floor houses the living room and kitchen with a staircase in the middle.

In the white kitchen, Mr. Mani the central peninsula with a sunken maple table, which he made in Fishtnk’s workshop in Junction.

The idea is to let family members and guests gather around the chef, he says, because it typically happens anyway.

Meals can be served directly from the kitchen to the total eateries.

“It’s a new take on the living rooms we have and the way we eat and entertain,” he says. “It is a more pleasant, relaxed dining arrangement. We took that to heart. ”

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There is a bedroom for Mr. Mani’s son, Noah, in the original part of the house.

Property vision

Upstairs there is a bedroom for Noah, a main suite and a family bathroom.

In the main suite, a gallery light faces south to capture the sunlight during the day. Doors open to a generous balcony at the front of the home.

At the back of the primary residence, Mr. Mani the back wall to create fire separation and built another suite on new foundation.

There is a patio outside and three floors of living space, including a lower level with a door to the outside.

Inside there is a living room and kitchen on the ground floor.

Mr. Mani drew on his specialty in advanced wood manufacturing to build a winding staircase that allowed him to pull the landing at the top back to get a more generous bedroom.

“I enjoy getting into things — figuring out how to maximize space,” he says. “When it’s your own project, you spend the extra time. It’s like playing Tetris. ”

The four-year project was only recently completed.

Property vision

The third suite was created on the footprint of the old garage.

“We tore it down and built a new structure,” he says.

The bylaws allow him to build right up to the property boundary without setbacks, he says. It allowed him to take advantage of the full breadth of the party.

The home has a small farm with space for growing vegetables, he says. Inside, the ground floor has a kitchen, living room and powder room. Upstairs there are two bedrooms with bathroom between them.

Mr. Mania says the ideal scenario would be to have the device accommodate two parents and a child.

“We built it for a family,” he says.

Mr. Mani says the entire property would work well for a family looking to live in a residence and rent out the other two. Or it can be purchased as a low-maintenance boutique property for an investor.

Mr. Mani looked to cities like Montreal for inspiration to create density.

Property vision

A third option is that an owner can live in the residence facing the street and use the rear part as a business with a separate address.

“Your customers come and visit you through the course,” he says.

Mr. Mani says the only parking on the property is for bicycles. The metro is close, he points out, and the elimination of car parking makes moving through the planning process go much more smoothly.

“The parts that make it complicated for most of these projects are the parking lot,” he says.

The best feature

The property is on Montrose Ave., just south of Bloor Street West.

Property vision

Laneways provides quiet places where communities can come together, says Mr. Mani.

He will be interested in seeing how the tracks themselves change in the coming years to become more beautiful and welcoming to pedestrians.

Recently, he was outside and saw a neighbor teach a three-year-old how to ride a bike on the track while another picked cherries from a tree.

“When people see it as part of the city, they will plant more trees, enjoy the space more and watch the sunset and the western light in their little place,” he says.

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