6 Patrick St - $725,000

The Essentials

I’ve been trying for days to figure out how to talk about this rather extraordinary property. There are no words, is how that thought process usually begins. And then I modify that to, There are words, of course there are; I just don’t know what they are yet. And finally a despairing, I’m just not up to the task. 6 Patrick St is that sort of place, it really is. An up and down duplex right next to McBurney Park. Each apartment like something out of an NYC design mag. Which ought to be enough right there to have you hunting for your phone. But there’s also a barn out back that would make a really fabulous loft. And there’s a lot the size of Montreal. And well … You see, this is where I begin to unravel, to come up woefully short.

So please, read on, I’ll have another go at this. And if that doesn’t work out, take a spin through the iGuide tour. I’ll just sit right here and gather myself. Deep breath. Come on, man, you’ll be okay.

The Bigger Picture

Let me start over.

I love this property. Cheri loves this property. And we think you will too.

I could stop right there and honestly feel that I’d said my piece. Trust us, I’d implore. But the urge is always there (and the sense of duty) to further elaborate, to embroider with colourful thread around the edges of the virtual tour’s wonderful photos and its nearly cinematic waltzes through these elegant downtown spaces. To try hard to bring it all alive for you. To tell you exactly how we’ve been thinking about this very special property. To expound just for a couple of minutes on exactly what it is we’re offering for sale here. And to finish with why we think it’s an important property, not just some fancy box of crackers with a high-efficiency furnace in the basement. We think it’s a spot that won’t easily be duplicated again, at least not while we’re in this crazy business.

It’s an old duplex near the park with a barn in the back yard. That’s to understate the basic facts by so much as to be nearly comic.

To take a slightly wider angle, 6 Patrick St offers a really lovely two-bedroom flat mostly atop an even better four-bedroom flat presently occupied by the sellers. Both apartments are very long from front to back. There is the sensation of distant horizons. They are both very bright places, and well-organized. And both have access to the pretty, private gardens behind the house.

The house went up in 1900. Its location was nothing special back then. There have been improvements most years since its construction, I bet, with the pace and flair of those changes picking up dramatically in recent years. But the truth is, the top hats down on King St a century ago would have had a hard time even finding their way here, to the outskirts of town, on the wrong side of the grass. There was no Arts Festival back then, and no Elm Cafe, no sense at all of how this neighbourhood would flourish and grow. Nowadays, the address raises the pulse a little. You’re at the heart of the action and yet there is also peace and quiet. The hubbub is at your doorstep, but only if you want it.

There are polished strip hardwood floors. And if you study them closely they’ll offer you a reflection of yourself and your stuff. The book you’re reading, for example, is there beneath your feet as a faint smudge, like a faded petal, the memory of a petal even, on the golden boards. And there are plenty of plaster walls still clinging purely to the lath, adding a richness and texture to the rooms. I’d wander back and forth some mornings like a swimmer doing lengths, I know I would. I’d pay attention to my breath, or to how the music swelled and diminished as I passed the stereo, that Doppler effect like an aural illustration of a life well-lived. I’d watch the sun play on the dining room table. Steam from the kettle gathering like a passionate sort of breath on the backsplash.

The sellers certainly have enjoyed the home. And they’ve lavished it with attention. They have protected and enhanced their investment. You won’t necessarily notice the structural reinforcements in the basement but the absolute silence as you walk over the floors, the way the marble just sits there when you put it down, rather than rolling helter skelter for a corner.

The tenants upstairs share a lot of my enthusiasm for the place, they must. I mean, look at how they live. It’s as if they’re re-enacting some feature in this month’s Dwell. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that their rent covers more than a quarter million’s worth of mortgage. Which means that you can live downstairs and have your net carrying costs be less than that of a two-bed semi these days over on Ordnance.

And I do think that might be the best way, the highest and best use of the place right now: live in an understated sort of luxury on the ground floor and to leave the good people upstairs right where they are. The math works handsomely if you do that. And everyone’s happy.

And then there is the barn. We haven’t talked about the barn yet. And it might, despite everything that’s gone before, be my very favourite part of the picture. The towering ceilings like some light-industrial cathedral. The concrete floors polished into grey-sky sort of brilliance. The sellers had a building permit approved for a bathroom in the north-east corner. The sewer line would be tied into the main house. I feel that you’re one conversation with a progressive planner away from green lighting the sort of loft conversion you’d dream of renting on some fall jaunt to NYC, or some windswept Cape Cod bluff. I really feel that sort of future is a possibility for this outbuilding. Not this year maybe, because you’ve still got to get the kids organized at their new schools and there are books to be written, careers to be nurtured. But soon. Just down the road and around that corner. A dream house then at the foot of the garden.

Because it is about dreams Or it should be, shouldn’t it? In part? And we think this is the sort of place you can indulge the most outlandish of those fantasies. You want that downtown life, with the faint sound coming through the front windows of kids playing on the swings? Well here you have it. You want as well to provide a marvellous space for your own family (and another family too)? That’s a yes, too. And you want a garden like something out of a Victorian novel, full of tropical plants and tree trunks from which to hang a hammock? Well that’s here as well. The barn? To my mind the barn is the real treasure, the jewel buried out there in plain site. It’s the insurance policy, the investment you tuck away for the rainy day. It’s what brings the place richly alive and it’s what will make the next chapter in the story of 6 Patrick St so damned exciting.

The Realtor.ca listing will appear here at some point today. And the rest of the tour, with floor plans, and those whirling cameras, is right here. We’ll do an open house on Sunday the 8th. And we’ll review any offers on the 9th. In the meantime, call us. We’ll go on some more.

The Gallery

Again With The Pictures Of Us

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