The Chase: an aspiring baker looks for a place with a half-decent kitchen close to her day job

The Chase: an aspiring baker looks for a place with a half-decent kitchen close to her day job

The buyer: Michelle Hotchkiss, a 46-year-old payroll manager.

The story: Hotchkiss bought a two-bedroom condo at Queen and Dovercourt 10 years ago. “I’ve seen the neighbourhood go from kind of scary to hot and trendy,” she says. But it was starting to get too trendy—10 new high-rises were going up nearby, and Hotchkiss was worried the area would get too dense. She was also running out of space in her own unit. She had just graduated from the pastry program at George Brown, and her kitchen wasn’t big enough for her new hobby. Her second bedroom was stacked with trays and decorating utensils, which made it hard for her to have guests. She wanted a larger condo with two bedrooms, an ensuite bathroom and an on-site gym. Hotchkiss set a budget of $450,000 and focused her search on places within walking distance of her job in Liberty Village. She looked at 10 condos over the course of a single week before finding the perfect one.

Telegram Mews (near Spadina and Bremner). Listed at $354,900, sold for $345,000.
The first thing Hotchkiss noticed was that it smelled like perfume in the lobby. She thought they might be pumping it in to mask something worse. “I know you don’t live in the lobby, but it set off an alarm. I started to wonder: what else isn’t right?” she says. The unit itself had a small kitchen with a tiny fridge, meant for someone who doesn’t cook much. She decided to pass.

Fort York Boulevard (at Gzowski). Listed at $425,000,
sold for $425,000.

This condo checked off all the big boxes: two bedrooms, big kitchen, walking distance from work. But she just didn’t like it. The kitchen cab­inets were the wrong colour, the layout was cramped, and there was too much light from the street at night. She didn’t want to renovate again—or have to keep her blinds shut all the time—so she opted to keep looking.

Fort York Boulevard (at Fleet). Listed at $439,000,
sold for $425,000.

Hotchkiss knew this was the one as soon as she stepped inside. The suite, which was 950 square feet, felt massive. She could immediately imagine herself baking in the kitchen, which was huge, with dark cabinets, granite counters and a large island. The unit faced south with a view of the lake, got plenty of natural light and offered quick access to the lake and local parks. The owners had already moved out and had set an aggressive closing period of just three weeks, so Hotchkiss put in a bid under asking, and it was accepted on the spot. After only a week of searching, she’d found a place that she could bake in for years
to come.