High-rise condos and even low-rise homes are generally the norm when we think of the different types of condominiums available in Toronto, but there are actually many other styles of condominiums we rarely consider, including boutique-style condos. Not all condominiums in Toronto are the large towers of glass we see popping up across the skyline.
In some of Toronto's more unique and eclectic neighbourhoods, you can find several great examples of what's being touted as the newest design trend in condos, the "uncondo".
These homes are found in multi-unit rental buildings and are considered to be low-rise homes, but with more of a focus on energy-efficiency that you'd typically see in the usual high-rise condo giants taking over Toronto's skylines.
They have high-end amenities like spa showers, soundproofing, quartz-countertops and dual-flush toilets - even wood burning fireplaces - and come off more like small custom homes than condos or apartments.
In many cases, these boutique-style condos are springing up in old heritage buildings. Due to there being a smaller number of units per project (typically about six or so), condo developers and builders have more freedom in making the units complete with all kinds of top-of-the-line finishes and furnishings. This ensures that each boutique-style condo unit gets more attention than it would if it were a high-rise condo development.
Many of these units also compliment the building they're found in, whether they are in a classic Toronto facade or in a Victorian-style home.
One of the most special things about these types of condominiums that definitely sets them apart from your average high-rise condos is that they feel like single-family low-rise homes. Some have backyards and most of them have driveways with private parking for residents. Additionally, there's the feel-good aspect of working with developers and builders who are doing their part to preserve historic parts of the city of Toronto.
Are there any drawbacks to these boutique-style condos? Well, you might be lacking a few things that high-rise condos have, such as concierges and large-scale amenities like gyms, underground parking, swimming pools, and movie theatres among other things - but many of these boutique-style condo owners don't even miss them. Plus, it's a kind of hybrid-living style that offers the best of both worlds - living in a detached home, which is out of the price range of many downtown dwellers, and being able to afford a condo without being in a cookie-cutter glass tower.
For builders, these low-rise homes are also a bit more cost effective because the structure of the building is already built. While there are plenty of problems that could pop up during the renovation of an older building, the costs are generally much lower than building a low-rise condo project from the ground up.
A lack of available land makes new low-rise homes rare, but the transformation of an old heritage building into a livable boutique space is a great opportunity for both builders and buyers.