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Thursday, September 26, 2013

New in Toronto Real Estate: Smart House Condos

Smart House CondosIt's not the size that counts, its how you use it...your condo that is. Or at least that's the idea behind Queen West's latest development. There's been a lot of talk lately about the shrinking condo sizes in this city, and now Smart House plans to take it one step further with its unique selection of micro sized units. All indicators point to living small and efficient as the way of the future. Whether it's a future a great deal of cul-de-sac loving suburbanites are excited about, I'm not sure.

Starting at a compact 289 square feet, the units in this 25 storey tower just west of University won't be quite like your average condo. With features like Murphy beds, movable partitions, expandable and retractable kitchen counters, and hidden storage throughout, those who spent their summers sleeping in RVs will feel right at home. You even have the option to control a good deal of interior functions from an app on your "smart" phone (Here's hoping none of your prankster friends download the app!).

All of the units also come with the option to come fully furnished, which is nice for those not entirely experienced with picking out the best kind of "transformer" bed. But more likely given the unit sizes and location, the furnished option will be handy for the large number of buyers who will undoubtedly turn these into rental units. When you're not busy playing Jenga with your apartment this pagoda-esque building also features amenities to keep you busy including a gym, a terrace, and mercifully enough a guest suite. A lot of buildings like to call themselves mixed-use, but in a nice addition for Queen the building also includes not only two levels of street front retail but also two floors of office space.

Smart House CondosSPECS

Address: 219 Queen St. WestStoreys: 25

Number of Units: 241

Unit sizes in Square Feet: 289-778

Starting Price: $249,000 (most under $350,000)

Amenities: Gym, Party Room, Exterior Terrace, Guest Suite, Show Kitchen and Dining Room, Lounge

Architect: architectsAlliance

Developer: Urban Capital, Malibu InvestmentsInterior Designer: II by IV Design

Completion Date: March 2017

Smart House CondosThe Good

We'll if you aren't the type that enjoys hosting parties or taking care of overnight guests, this might actually be a convenient excuse not to. Guests may not relish the apparent lack of elbow room. There is a pretty good chance these units will turn rental. And for the single young professional or student who just needs a place to sleep and perhaps stretch out their legs (if the kitchen is folded away that is), this is at least way better than renting out a hotel room.

If you work in the Financial District or really anywhere near a subway station, living here makes for a fairly easy commute via the streetcar or subway. And to top it off along with the bragging rights that come with living in a uber green and highly efficient building, you should feel pretty good about yourself living in a condo that took out one of Queen's last street-front parking lots and managed not to mess with any of the historic storefronts.

Smart House CondosThe Bad

If you actually do have more than one or two friends you plan on having over, you might be out of luck, especially in some of these 300 square foot units. The idea of no space wasted is a pretty cool one but on the other hand it means that just about everything in your apartment doubles as something else. Not everybody is going to want to be reassembling their bed every night. Also, don't expect rent to be any cheaper here because the units are smaller, this is still Queen and University mind you. If you do buy, there also isn't much room to grow a family, so you shouldn't expect this to be a long term stay. That is, of course, unless you plan to spend the rest of life as bachelor or bachelorette (the hidden storage will only house your future children for so long).

Our Take

Smart House is nothing new, at least in cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong, but can we space-loving Canadians embrace the trend? There's lots to like if you're into things that are cozy.

Smart House Condos TorontoRead other posts in this series via our Toronto Condos and Lofts Pinterest board .

by Dylan Giuliano via blogTO


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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