Stay Close to ‘Home’ with Boutique Condo Living

It’s hard not to notice that high-rise condos have taken over the urban scene across the country in recent years. The high-rises make sense: when you can’t build out, build up. And for young people and those who work in the heart of the city, a bustling downtown is attractive.

But in older, established downtown neighbourhoods, where housing tends to be fairly singular (detached and semi-detached homes on generously sized lots with large trees and lots of green space nearby), skyscrapers don’t fit.

That said, even these neighbourhoods have been changing. Many residents of older neighbourhoods are looking to downsize, but don’t want to move away from the area where they’ve raised their kids, walked their dogs and shopped. They don’t want to leave ‘home.’

There is a place like home.

Enter boutique condos. These buildings – unlike typical high-rise condo developments – tend to occupy a much smaller footprint, with larger units and traditional floorplans spread out over fewer storeys. And they’re located within footsteps of those leafy neighbourhoods.

A recent National Post article highlighted two Toronto developments, which have in common a mix of mid-rise condos and townhomes near established neighbourhoods with lots of outdoor space built in. They’re close to the amenities downsizers are looking for. In fact, they’re almost ‘home’: Downsizers – who typically can afford to spend more for housing than the young professionals seeking urban condos – can retain most aspects of their lifestyle in close proximity to the community they’re used to, but with less maintenance and more security.

They aren’t alone. Some boutique condo developers are also targeting younger families who need the kind of space boutique properties offer. But don’t expect boutique condos to come to a neighbourhood near you any time soon: not only is it harder to find land in older neighbourhoods, but those neighbourhoods tend to be more – sometimes prohibitively more – expensive for the average home seeker.

Boost Your Home’s Look for Less: Try These $500 Hacks

Itching for a home improvement project but low on cash? Not every project has to break the bank; there are plenty of jobs that will boost your home’s appeal for under $500. Here are a few ideas:

Paint: Paint your kitchen, paint the baseboards, paint your front door, and paint some furniture. It’s amazing how a few coats of a new colour (or a refreshing of the old one) can improve the overall look and feel of your home.

Work in the yard: You don’t have to have the best garden on the street, but a well-maintained front yard plays a huge role in curb appeal. Trim trees, replace or repair fences and install a new mailbox. If you haven’t touched your front walkway since moving in, consider a remodel.

Get organized: Most people have a place in their home that could benefit from a major reorganization. For messy closets, a DIY organization system can be installed individually or as a unit; big box stores have good selections at many price points.

Replace hardware: It’s expensive to replace cupboards and cabinets, but swapping out hardware can make a big impact for little money. Switch up handles and drawer pulls for updated (or antique) hardware to give your kitchen or bathroom a new look.

Replace your backsplash: If you’re handy, replacing your kitchen backsplash is fairly easy and instantly renews the look of the room. Tiles vary widely in price; know how much space you’ll need to cover and price out the project before shopping to avoid overspending.