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This new condo is 10 minutes to everywhere in Whitby

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With a busy life as a grocery store owner and single dad, Pascal Ouellette’s large, single-family home isn’t practical for him anymore.

The 43-year-old Oshawa man wanted a housing option with less maintenance that was attractive and modern, and close to his Whitby store. He found what he was looking for in a two-bedroom, 760-square-foot suite in Harbour Ten10 condominiums in the heart of Whitby — he’ll move into the midrise building in the fall of 2020.

Pascal Ouelette in the model kitchen for the new Harbour Ten10 condos where he’s bought a two-bedroom suite.
Pascal Ouelette in the model kitchen for the new Harbour Ten10 condos where he’s bought a two-bedroom suite.  (Rene Johnston / Toronto Star)

“For me, it is the perfect opportunity to downsize,” says Ouellette, 43. “I’ll be coming out of a 3,000-square-foot house that has so much maintenance with cleaning and yard work. There is so much stuff to look after. I have a dining room that I think only gets used once a year. I looked at townhouses and smaller homes, but they have the same maintenance issues as my current home.”

Mona Bhamani, president of Castle Group Developments, says Harbour Ten10 will cater to people like Ouellette looking to downsize, as well as to first-time buyers and families. It’s the 10th GTA project for her company — with a portfolio including Vida at Bayview Village, The Palm in North York, Bellair Gardens in York Mills and Tuscany Gates in Mississauga — and is Castle Group’s first in the GTA east.

Mona Bhamani, president of Castle Group Developments, with CEO Nick Nanji and new buyer Pascal Ouelette at the presentation centre for Harbour Ten10 condos.
Mona Bhamani, president of Castle Group Developments, with CEO Nick Nanji and new buyer Pascal Ouelette at the presentation centre for Harbour Ten10 condos.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)

“Whitby is ideal for us,” says Bhamani, citing its abundance of green space, transit and amenities. Harbour Ten10 takes its name from its address, at 1010 Dundas St. E. — and also because so many key features are 10 minutes or less away, including the Waterfront Trail, Port Whitby Marina, GO station, big box stores, Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Whitby Public Library, the town’s historic downtown, and Iroquois Park Sports Centre, Canada’s largest municipally owned and operated recreation facility. Highways 401, 407 and 412 are also minutes away.

Bhamani, who trained as an architect, says Harbour Ten10 features an elevated standard of design and amenities, as her company intends for it to be a flagship project for the town. There are few new condominiums in the area and this is curently the only one in central Whitby.

Castle Group has held seminars to explain concepts, such as maintenance fees, to local buyers unfamiliar with the concept of condominium living. “We believe in a patient approach and want to make sure all the buyers’ questions are answered,” Bhamani says. About one-third of the 110 units have been sold.

The midrise building Harbour Ten10 will be five storeys with 110 suites.
The midrise building Harbour Ten10 will be five storeys with 110 suites.  (Castle Group Developments)

Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell says Harbour Ten10 fits with the council’s vision for the town, and the transformation of its downtown. One of the main endeavours underway is the Brock Street Brewery, a landmark building close to completion. The three-storey complex will bring a 17,000-square-foot craft beer production facility, sampling bar and banquet facility to the corner of Brock and Dunlop Sts.

Across from it on a former firehall site will be Station 3, a mixed-use project to launch later in 2019 that will create 10,000-square-feet of new retail space and 150 residential units. Mitchell is also excited about the new Whitby Innovation Hub that will attract start-up tech and innovation companies. He says the vision for Whitby is to move beyond its reputation as a bedroom community and to foster more business and commercial growth to keep pace with residential growth. Whitby is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada.

Mitchell says having more people moving in and close to downtown, such as at Harbour Ten10, are key to supporting its businesses and services. The town plans to improve walkability with better pedestrian crossings at four major streets downtown.

The modern social lounge, seen in an artist's rendering, will include an entertaining kitchen, fireplace and conversation areas.
The modern social lounge, seen in an artist’s rendering, will include an entertaining kitchen, fireplace and conversation areas.  (Castle Group Developments)

Whitby’s home prices are among the highest in Durham Region and Mitchell says Harbour Ten10 will provide a reasonably priced option. Suites prices start from $379,990 and include premium standard features such as nine-foot ceilings, plank laminate flooring and granite countertops. Amenities include a lounge with fireplace, guest suites, green space with playground, a barbecue terrace, and dedicated rooms for yoga, games and parties. Suites ranging from 594 to 1,325 square feet include one- and two-bedroom layouts, with or without dens, and three-bedroom units. There are ground-level garden patio units available and prices include one parking spot. As well, an extended deposit structure is being offered.

Ouellette says he appreciates the building is only five storeys and has underground parking. He plans to embrace the condo lifestyle when he’s not working or driving his kids to hockey and soccer.

“My suite will have a nice kitchen and a good-sized living room,” he says. “There’s also a beautiful lobby, a party room, a gym, games room — spaces that I can use with my friends.”

Harbour Ten10

Developer: Castle Group

Location: 1010 Dundas St. E., Whitby

Building: Five-storeys with 110 units, 594 to 1,325 square feet; one- and two-bedroom units, both with dens, and three-bedroom units. Features include 9-foot ceilings, private balconies, individual HVAC, laminate plank flooring; contemporary kitchen with granite counters

Starting price: $379,990; includes one underground parking spot. Extended deposit structure offered.

Amenities: Games room with large screen TV and pool table; lounge/party room; fitness area; yoga studio; relaxation room; greenspace with barbecue area and children’s playground;

Tentative occupancy: September 2020

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Ideas abound at IDS2019 as exhibitors showcase their cutting-edge interior designs

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With kilometres to cover, and hundreds of exhibits to see, this year’s 20th annual Interior Design Show may seem overwhelming. Especially for those with firm home renovation goals.

But IDS19, billed the Power of Design, is the ideal place to start, says celeb designer Brian Gluckstein, himself a show fixture since its start in 1999.

Designer Brian Gluckstein and Lynda Reeves, of House & Home magazine, discuss elements of home design at last year’s Interior Design show.
Designer Brian Gluckstein and Lynda Reeves, of House & Home magazine, discuss elements of home design at last year’s Interior Design show.  (Arash Moallemi / TBD)

“Everything is handy under one roof, no running all over the city to see what’s available in terms of products. Plus, company reps who staff the booths want to speak with you and answer questions. That’s what they’re there for.”

Taking place this year in the south building at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the show kicks off with an opening night party at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and then is open to the public Saturday, Jan. 19 and Sunday, Jan. 20 until 6 p.m. Along with over 200 exhibits and booths are 10 public seminars, including a sit-down with Roots’ frontman (and creative force at large) Questlove at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Before you go, hatch an idea of “what you need and want, such as how many bedrooms, baths, whether you need a bigger kitchen, a dug-out basement. That comes before the architects or designers,” Gluckstein says.

“What I do is quickly walk up and down the aisles taking pictures of booths I want to see again. Then I take a break, sit down, go through the images on my phone and edit where I want to investigate more thoroughly.”

Consider these key areas:

Engineered flooring, on view at this weekend's show, allows for extra-wide, long, plank flooring.
Engineered flooring, on view at this weekend’s show, allows for extra-wide, long, plank flooring.

Flooring: The lowly floor is an unsung hero in the property values equation. Hardwood is beautiful and enduring but not always ideal: the concrete subfloors of a condo, for example, as well as basements and cottages are better suited to laminate.

If your plans include a basement, PurParket floors offers laminates that are not “entry level price,” says Daniela Zaremba, the firm’s creative director, “because they are 100 per cent waterproof and have no formaldehyde. And since they have a semi-rigid core, they can be put down without levelling the floor.”

For condos, engineered woods have come a long way — particularly with wide, long, plank-style — that homeowners also consider them, Zaremba says. One reason is the plank design: wood isn’t stable past the 4.25-inch width, she says.

If hardwood is your goal, Zaremba suggests researching its origin and manufacture; for instance, white oak is denser and more durable when grown in the Pacific northwest than in the southern U.S. There’s also on-site vs. pre-finish to consider; medium finishes show dirt and dust much less than dark tones. And, she adds, texture is very popular — hand-scraped and wire-brushed, in particular — which are durable and conceal scratches.

  • Which rooms? Kitchen and bath renos translate into top resale investments. They’re also a focus for homeowners who want to stay put and make their homes more functional. Sandra Mendes, senior projects designer for AyA Kitchens, recommends starting with “a look at your needs. Do you have a large cookbook collection? Are you wine drinkers? Are you interested in ergonomics? Do you need a baking counter?”

The design show has a selection of experts for discussing what will work best for you. Mendes says space constraints and aging in place are currently the top issues.

Finishes, she notes, are trending toward light tones — white and pale colours, and light-stained wood. The same goes for bathrooms, she says, with a lot of white and natural stone.

  • Appliances: In the kitchen, says Kelly Lam, vice-president of marketing for Miele Canada, a renovation is about “considering needs. That is, whether you have a large family, what your shopping habits are, whether you buy in bulk or shop frequently at local stores, even whether you buy large jugs of milk or juice and need shelves to handle that.”

Another reno consideration is where to locate the laundry room, Lam says. And since space is always an issue, especially in condos, European manufacturer Miele has a history of making every inch count. The company has a new dryer that doesn’t require venting and plugs into a regular 120V receptacle, which means it can be placed in a hall closet. Its new heat-pump technology also renders the dryer Energy-Star efficiency — something previously not possible.

Aqua Moonlights, by AMStudio, offers a design for some subtle overhead bling.
Aqua Moonlights, by AMStudio, offers a design for some subtle overhead bling.
  • Lighting: It’s the first thing noticed but often left off the list for home renovations.

Orly Meyer, lighting designer and owner of AM Studio, recommends focusing on the kitchen island because it “truly is the centre of the house, and you need to determine how to illuminate the kitchen.”

Some spaces call out for artistry. “Dining is an art form in itself, and since there are often no walls for art, this is your chance to get colour and drama in that space. The same goes for the staircase.”

Wall sconces, adds Orley, are a space-saving way to add much-needed light — and atmosphere.

  • Cutting edge: Studio North features emerging designers and architects with work still in the concept stage — “young risk-takers,” says Taylor Jantzi, a show co-ordinator. Another section, called Maker, features talented artists who have graduated from Studio North and have begun small-batch production.

Alex Newman is a Toronto-based writer and a freelance contributor for the Star. Reach her at alexnewman@rogers.com

The Re-Wrk space is designed for a modern office.
The Re-Wrk space is designed for a modern office.  (Steve Tsai)

Space, the newest frontier

New to the show this year is Re-Space, with four areas demonstrating technology’s influence on our physical world. Sponsored by Microsoft and Giant Containers, the four areas are:

1) Re-Ply, designed by Harrison Fae, “reimagines the idea of your inner child” using elements of a child’s playhouse.

2) Re-Liv, designed by Polymetis, focuses on a retreat from the busy world with two rooms: the Forest, a lush horizontal space and the Clearing a light vertical space.

3) Re-Wrk, by SDI principles Noam Hazan and Joanne Chan, looks at an ideal environment for a new generation of office workers.

4) Re-Lrn, by Studio AC designer Andrew Hill, was created to consider how “living, working, playing and learning … are changed by the digital world we live in.” The area includes single, double and multiple areas that allow visitors — via computers, tablets and screens — to access others, showing how individual actions using technology affects the greater group.

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Cottage in a box? This company will ship your new cabin in a flat-pack

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A cottage in a box? See it to believe it at IDS2019 this weekend.

The 670-sq.-ft. Great Lakes Cabin, built in a modular “kit-of-parts” system and shipped in a flat-pack, will make its debut as this year’s Interior Design Show concept house. It will be open for visitors to tour at the show on Jan. 19 and 20

A pre-fab cottage in a flatpack by Backcountry Hut Co., is delivered — in this artist’s rendering — to a waiting site.
A pre-fab cottage in a flatpack by Backcountry Hut Co., is delivered — in this artist’s rendering — to a waiting site.  (Backcountry Hut Company)

“You assemble it almost like big blocks, or LEGO,” says Wilson Edgar who, with architect Michael Leckie, co-founded the Backcountry Hut Company in British Columbia in 2015. The model on display this weekend — which includes a loft sleeping area, bathroom and covered deck — is the company’s first to be flatpacked, and shipped.

“When it comes together, it’s extremely durable and has an extremely long lifespan.

The inspiration for the company’s designs, says Leckie, was to “break they myth” that custom architecture has to be highly expensive. It also allows buyers involvement in the design and build process of their projects.

“When you say ‘a flat-pack system that provides architecture, like a piece of Ikea furniture’ people immediately understand what you’re talking about,” he adds.

Read more:

Ideas abound at IDS2019 as exhibitors showcase their cutting-edge interior designs

The pre-fab cottage exterior is recyclined metal cladding.
The pre-fab cottage exterior is recyclined metal cladding.  (Backcountry Hut Company)

Manufactured in Courtenay, B.C., the three cabin models — including the Alpine Hut and the Surf Hut — are made from Douglas fir and recycled metal cladding. The 206-sq.-ft. base model, priced to start at $150 a sq. ft., comes with four posts, four beams and a roof. From there, the cabins can be customized for buyers.

“We don’t endeavour to be the cheapest prefab system in any way. Ours is a very high-quality, enduring product and we are building for permanence,” says Leckie of the structures. He notes that disposability doesn’t resonate with architects, and so their huts are very much designed to last.

“We were very sensitive towards the environment,” adds company co-founder Edgar. “So all parts of the hut and shell system are 100 per cent recyclable.”

Though IDS is the official launch of the Great Lakes cabin, the company has already scheduled five projects for this Summer, in Colorado, Oregon, Ontario, and B.C.

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Two heads may be better than one in selling the family cottage: Ask Joe

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I’m ready to sell my cottage. Can I work with both a Toronto brokerage and a local brokerage?

You can list your cottage with more than one brokerage — the arrangement you described is known as a co-listing agreement — but you may have to shop around to find two real estate brokerages who will agree to it.

If you want to sell your cottage using both a local and city-based real estate brokerage, ensure  one has experience with cottage issues.
If you want to sell your cottage using both a local and city-based real estate brokerage, ensure one has experience with cottage issues.  (Dreamstime)

It’s important that at least one of the salespeople working with you is experienced in buying and selling cottages, because there are issues that are unique to such transactions. For example, there are special considerations arising from waterfront properties.

Sellers enter co-listing agreements for a variety of reasons. Two brokerages could present different, but equally-attractive marketing strategies. Or a home may be co-listed when there are two or more owners of a property and each wants to use their own brokerage. This sometimes happens when a home is sold during divorce proceedings.

If you choose to co-list your cottage, make sure the final agreement specifies which brokerage is responsible for which service; that it’s clear how the listing brokerages are splitting the listing-side commission between themselves (the agreement may specify what that split will be, so there aren’t any disagreements later on); and that it includes the amount of commission to be paid to any co-operating brokerage that acts for the buyer.

For example, you may want the local brokerage to market the property locally, arrange showings, stage the home, manage open houses, and review the agreement, given their expertise in the local area. Meanwhile, the Toronto brokerage may market the property to prospective Toronto-area buyers. There are a variety of complimentary activities these brokerages could do to help get your property sold.

As I mentioned, there are some special considerations when you buy or sell a cottage. Here are a few questions you may ask yourself before you start the selling process:

  • Zoning: How is the property zoned? Does the municipality provide emergency services and snowplowing in the winter, and are you allowed to use it year-round?
  • Rights and access: Do you need to travel through a neighbouring property in order to access a road or a shoreline, and are there any formal agreements in place? Do you have a survey of the property’s boundaries?
  • Water: Do the tap water and well installation meet provincial standards? What’s the overall condition of the cottage’s septic system, and do you have written inspection and maintenance. I strongly recommend shopping around for a salesperson who best understands your needs and expectations and is experienced in buying and selling similar properties in the area.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email askjoe@reco.on.ca.

Joe Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelps

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