home,  lifestyle

A New Home

My homeownership story begins in a somewhat unlikely place: a hot tub. I had traveled to B.C. to see my family, and we’d holed up in a rented home in Revelstoke to have an early Christmas. Whilst sitting in the hot tub, my folks and I started talking about investments and the future, what my plans were and what I was hoping for. Many conversations later and I was back in Toronto, searching in earnest on condo websites for a new home.

I got a recommendation for a real estate agent, and I was soon off to the races. I actually came across the listing for this condo myself and sent it to her to see what she thought (the listing pictures were stunning–see the gallery below). She initially suggested passing on it, as it doesn’t have a balcony, which apparently can be important for resale. But she eventually came back to me after doing a bit of digging, reporting that it was an excellent building with great management, and definitely worth a look.

She arranged for a visit, and I was instantly smitten. I just loved the layout of the place, and the fact that it had defined spaces–it wasn’t just a glorified hallway that so many new condos seem to be. It’s spacious for a downtown Toronto 1 bedroom + den, clocking in at around 900 sq feet. And, of course, its stunning floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the CN Tower were a winning feature. She took me to see one other condo that day, just to give me a point of reference, but I was already sold. I worried a bit about going after literally the first place I saw, but when you know, you know.

Ultimately, the actual purchase process was a whirlwind and incredibly speedy. It was a magical confluence of events–the first condo I looked at, listed at a great price for the amount of square footage, in a fantastic downtown location, which miraculously no one else bid on. My home is basically a unicorn. And I do love me some unicorns.

Celebrating getting the keys to the condo!

Packing up and getting out of my old rental apartment was painful, as any packing/moving process is. But by the end of October 2020, I had the keys to my new home and was ready to make it my own. Most other places I’ve ever lived in have had a straightforward layout. It was a given which room was the living room, which was the bedroom, and so on. With this place, however, things were a little more ambiguous. It was easy to get anchored on how the condo had been staged for viewing, with the long narrow room as the bedroom and the adjacent room as the living room (see the below floor plan).

The floor plan

And indeed, I had originally planned to stick with that layout (even thought about turning a portion of the master bedroom into a walk-in closet, since the room is so long). However, the more I looked at and spent time in the space, the more I felt that those rooms should be flipped. Fitting a queen-size bed into a room about 9 ft wide would be doable but somewhat snug. Moreover, that room has beautiful, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views that shouldn’t be tucked away in my own personal bedroom–I’d want to be able to share that with guests!

I mean seriously, with the view

Because of pest issues in my previous apartment, I actually ended up getting rid of a lot of my old furniture, which meant I was starting with somewhat of a clean slate. While exciting, being in the midst of a pandemic meant some pretty impressive delivery delays. For the first several months in the condo, I rocked a twin air mattress as my bed/couch (actually wore the poor thing out!).

Living large with our air mattress

Now I probably could’ve gotten cheap and easy furniture to tide me over (though even IKEA was experiencing some serious delays), but I wanted to start building my home with pieces that I love and would have for years to come. Despite the desire to have my new home immediately nested, it would take more than a little bit of patience. There was also the added level of anxiety from not being able to see or experience in-person any of these items. I’d never bought furniture/fixtures/appliances in this way before, but pandemic times call for adaptability. And so, slowly but surely, I started populating my new home. It’s taken about 8 months, but I finally have basically everything I need.

During those last 8 months, I have also embarked on a number of extensive renovations and re-designs of the space, which I’ll continue to feature on the blog over the coming weeks. It’s been a long journey, filled with a few tears, countless phone calls with furniture company call centres, a seemingly endless train of microwaveable TV dinners, and one toilet-less night. But there are few things more rewarding than coming to a place that feels like home. Definitely worth it.

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