Following the likes of Tokyo and Hong Kong, Toronto is embracing the small house trend with their very first micro-condos by Smart House, set to be completed in March 2017.
In a mere 25 storeys, 241 little units will be the home to city-dwellers looking for the excitement the downtown core offers, while being comfortable with the idea of 'cozy'.
Compact and functional, the units vary between 289-778 square feet depending on buyers' interests. Fit with Murphy beds, expandable and retractable kitchen counter tops, hidden storage, and movable partitions, Smart House design is not the typical condo layout. Buyers also have the option of a pre-furnished unit to make the transition to a micro condo that much smoother.
While the coziness of the units may not offer the social atmosphere for dinner parties or cocktails with friends, Smart House supplements this with other amenities: an ipe-wood terrace is an outdoor retreat for lounging, barbecuing, dining, and enjoying summer-in-the-city around one of the gas fire pits. A guest suite, show kitchen and living room, and gym are also available.
In addition, the lower levels will be used for Queen street storefront boutiques and office space.
Although Smart House earned the 2014 BILD Best Small Suite Design award, they may not immediately distinguish themselves from other small house designs. However it is a part of a progressive and forward-thinking trend of housing that may popularize this type of housing across major cities in Eastern Canada. The West Coast already has multiple micro-housing units in Victoria, Surrey, and Vancouver.
Smart House advocates that micro condos allow people to do more, while living in less. The downside to Smart House is that what it makes up in space-saving, it lacks in cost-savings, as most of the units range between $250 000 and $350 000, aside from condo fees and parking. The good news is that for those who are really interested in the micro-units, they may be able to afford them as tenants.
While there are still some kinks to smooth, Smart House is the beginning of Toronto's movement towards the compact and the clever, and I am hopeful that it will propel more innovations in architecture and design that is affordable.
Visit Smart House to view their current projects, and if this topic resonated with you, then you might like to read Houseporn's previous story on compact living, entitled Urban Capital Property Group Reformulates Living³ in Toronto.
All images courtesy of Smart House
Researched and written by Sara Nicole England, undergraduate student at OCAD University in Criticism and Curatorial Practice.