Globe & Mail

Toronto soft loft with a designer touch

Toronto soft loft with a designer touch


As seen in The Globe & Mail

318 King St. E., Unit 1004, Toronto

Asking Price: $1,249,990

Taxes: $4,113.80 (2022)

Monthly maintenance fee: $808.56

Agent: Robin Pope (Pope Real Estate Ltd.)

The back story

Kelly and Chris Pettit’s lengthy search for a Toronto condo led them through some 90 units in buildings located in such popular neighbourhoods as Yorkville, King Street West, Roncesvalles Village and the Junction. At last they found the right fit in a two-bedroom “soft loft” in the city’s east end, Ms. Pettit says.

The mid-rise building stands at the intersection of King Street East and Parliament Street. Its setting between Corktown to the east and St. Lawrence Market to the west seemed ideal for the couple’s lifestyle. A short ride on transit leads to the financial district.

“I loved the fact that I could just walk out the door and have the streetcar,” Ms. Pettit says.

For drivers, the location also provides easy access to the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway.

That access to a quick route out of the city became important to the Pettits early on because they both work in the fashion trade. Soon after they purchased the unit, Mr. Pettit took a position with a sportswear brand with offices in London, Ont., and the couple bought a house there.

Ms. Pettit’s role at a Canadian apparel distributor, meanwhile, saw her travelling frequently to New York, Atlanta, Boston, and countries in Asia to meet with customers and suppliers.

The couple has been dividing their time between the Toronto condo and the London house for the past six years or so, Ms. Pettit says, with the condo serving especially well as a pied-a-terre in the fall and winter months.

When the pandemic halted travel in 2020, the Pettits both shifted to working at home. Ms. Pettit turned the second bedroom into an office and Mr. Pettit works in the kitchen when he is in town.

These days, they mix travelling with stints in the home office.

“Our buyers in Canada still are working at home. I do a lot of Zoom presentations,” Ms. Pettit says. “The U.S. buyers are all back at their offices.”


The house today

The 1,087 square feet of interior space has an open plan with angled walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors opening to a balcony from the main living space.

The building is considered a “soft loft” because it is not a conversion from a vintage warehouse or industrial building. While the carriage factory that once stood on the site was torn down, the units have elements such as exposed concrete, weighty columns, nine-foot-high ceilings and industrial windows that provide the feel of a loft.

The Pettits lived in the unit just as it was after they purchased it six years ago.

Most of the finishes were those supplied by the builder, Ms. Pettit says, so after about three years, the couple decided to renovate with the help of Toronto-based Marla Nazzicone Design.

Ms. Pettit started with a kitchen transformation to remove a bulkhead and replace the espresso-hued cabinets, which she found too dark for the space. Today the kitchen has new built-in appliances and millwork in a light wood veneer with black accents. The small island was replaced with a larger one topped in porcelain with a waterfall edge and a breakfast bar overhang.

The couple’s daughter is a chef and Ms. Pettit loves to cook, so having a good gas range is important to the family, Ms. Pettit says.

The island top has the look of marble but in a more durable material, Ms. Pettit points out.

“The porcelain really stands up to wear and tear.”

Next to the kitchen, an art-deco sideboard with hammered brass doors was built in, and a wine fridge was tucked behind the cabinetry.

The dining area has doors leading to the west-facing balcony.

“It’s a beautiful city view,” Ms. Pettit says.

Throughout the space, the Pettits added five-inch plank hardwood flooring and motorized blinds and sheers to cover the windows.

Ms. Pettit says the window coverings allowed her to go away on extended trips to Asia with the knowledge that the condo was securely closed up.

“I’d be away for three weeks at a time,” she says.

The primary bedroom has an ensuite bathroom with a new vanity and finishes that tie in with the kitchen palette and hardware.

A second bathroom serves as a powder room for guests and provides an additional shower.


The best feature

The neighbourhood offers plenty of entertainment, along with the couple’s favourite restaurants, wine bars and coffee shops, Ms. Pettit says.

“Definitely there are quirky little pubs,” she says.

The couple sometime walks to Cherry Beach on Lake Ontario or along the waterfront trail.

The pedestrian-only Distillery District has an open-air market during the Christmas season and the food vendors of the St. Lawrence Market are a stroll away.

“We like to just get up on a Saturday, have our coffee on the balcony and go to the market,” Ms. Pettit says.


Originally published in the Globe & Mail on