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Real Estate


House of the Week: $349,000 for architect Rohan Walters’ colourful Coxwell tower

ADDRESS: 157 Coxwell Avenue

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Woodbine Corridor

AGENT: Jennifer Scaife, Royal LePage Estate Realty, Brokerage

PRICE: $349,000

THE PLACE: A narrow, towering box on stilts that attracts more gawkers than a Rob Ford weigh-in.

BRAGGING RIGHTS: The Rohan Walters–designed one-bedroom has its own press following, and since it was built in 2003 has been affectionately dubbed a house in a box, a Rubik’s Cube on stilts, a pile of Lego blocks and, unsurprisingly but still lovingly, a mad house.

BIG SELLING POINT: Eco-friendly touches, like radiant floor heating and a natural ventilation system, aren’t just virtuous, they help keep utility costs to a minimum—just $95 a month. The savings will come in handy if you ever want to do this.

POSSIBLE DEAL BREAKER: There are no closets, the kitchen is the size of a bus shelter and a heavy gust of wind will put your sea legs to the test. That said, the house has already had six offers, one of which—from a couple with two kids—has been tentatively accepted.

• $349,000
• $1,272.64 in property taxes (2011)
• 800 square feet
• 3 storeys
• 2 outdoor patios
• 1 bridge leading to front entrance
• 1 glass inner garage door window
• 1 bedroom
• 1 bathroom

  • Foghorn O’Kalashnikov

    I live not far from this house and see it all the time. It’s quirky and fun but I am surprised at the six offers. The place is very small, a lack of a kitchen is a huge problem, the cladding appears to be falling apart and the neighbourhood is …. well, it sure ain’t Riverdale. I can’t imagine living there with my dog let alone kids!

  • cathie

    It has been let go and needs cosmetic attention but I’m not surprised at the 6 offers. Small and affordable, you’re not in a condo living cheek to jowl with your neighbours and there’s a backyard for the kids. I bet there’s a huge demand from young families for this type of home. Not everyone wants 3000 sq ft because they don’t need to buy the latest and greatest of everything, they live within their means and they care about the environmental impact of keeping a large home. They should build more like this.

  • Perry P

    I’m more concerned about the safety of those stilts.

  • Alexandra

    Did they not see the fact that it is ONE bedroom? Where are two parents and two kids sleeping?

    What an impracticle living space for a family. No storage, not enough sleeping space, tiny kitchen that is difficult to cook in.

    What a nightmare!

  • ChelseaCanuck

    It’s odd that the outside of the house is so modern and quirky and the inside is so old-fashioned and rustic. The abundance of wood and cheesy upholstery right out of an 80s basement family room are quite at odds with the quirky exterior.

  • Really?!

    1. I feel sorry for the neighbour who has to look at that monstrosity every day.
    2. I can’t believe that I can’t change a thing on the facade of my ‘historic’ home, but the City let them construct this?!
    3. No closets? With only 900 sq feet, where will the 2 parents/2 kids hang their coats?

  • a

    I LOVE it!

  • East Ender

    Does the property really extend all the way back? At that price, I’d be surprised if they don’t build an extension or a garage/carriage house in the back. That’s a lot of property for $349K.

  • Brian

    For those concerned about the lack of spacedont forget that there is plenty of land area and that the lot backs onto a park. I looked at this parcel 15years ago a and lost out to Rohan. Perfect for a funky addition.

  • Ignatz

    A real foundation and a new exterior and this would be a fine modest house. It just doesn’t look like it’s been kept up very well on the exterior.

    Also, don’t ever get Mel Gibson mad….

  • Jim

    If you read more about the house it’s a fascinating piece of architecture. The stilts serve to reduce rumbling from nearby streetcars, and the radiant heating set-up means monthly utility bills are under $100 dollars. No, the house isn’t for everyone but the family who purchased it reportedly plan to build a second, similarly structured pod.

    When you think about what people pay for a hamster cage sized bachelor in Cityplace (which if you ask me is a far uglier development), the price point suddenly seems less insane.

  • Tod

    Good point, Jim. Thats how I look at it. To each his/her own, hence that family loves it for a reason. This is a steal compared to a 800sq ft Cityplace “st. Jamestown” condo!

  • Basil

    Only good thing about that monstrosity is the $95 a month utility bill. I do agree with Jim tho’ that it is better than a similar sized over priced condo. Hopefully the new owners will attempt a little landscaping at least – like getting rid of the chunks of concrete strewn about the backyard.

  • teedot

    wtf?? Toronto Life showcasing homes under $400K???? The median price at the end of 2011 was $385k, meaning half of all Toronto houses sold for less than that. Not all readers can aspire to million $-plus bidding wars.

    next you know they will feature actual ratings of affordable restaurants instead of just slapping them with a $30 circle.

  • DryDry

    This home is a woeful piece of shabby ill-built crap.