Art Interiors: a Long Delayed Visit

I heard about Art Interiors years ago, and have always wanted to visit, but for whatever reason never managed to despite it not being too far from my house.

Last week I got their newsletter via email announcing that their ‘Festival of Smalls’ was happening again, so I committed to finally paying them a visit.

Art Interiors was started in 1993 by two women in Toronto as a place where people could buy original pieces of art at affordable prices (starting from about $35). A lot of the art they carry is that of young up-and-coming artists, but they carry the work of more established artists as well.

Once a year, in the month before Christmas, Art Interiors has what it calls its ‘Festival of Smalls’. The pieces of art aren’t any bigger than 16″x20″ and are less than $250 each, so it might be a neat place to look for that perfect gift for that person on your list who already has everything.

Here are some of the pieces I admired:

Title: Living Room Chair by Erin Vincent

This might be neat on a wall near a similar chair if you have one, or maybe close to a modern one for a little contrast. I’ve always thought these chairs look a little like thrones, so it might be amusing in another room in your home . . .

I spotted this one on the way out the door:

Title: I Lost Them All III by Lori Doody (sorry for the blurry picture)

I think this one would be perfect in an entranceway or laundry room.

Their website has a quite extensive selection of available art, and you can purchase online, but there is more available at the bricks-and-mortar location. If there is an artist whose work they carry and you admire, they can also email you as new pieces arrive.

I spotted this on their website when I got home:

Title: Training by Elizabeth Lennie

I think I like this piece because I spent so much of my childhood doing just this – laps in a pool. I’ve admired Elizabeth Lennie’s work for a while, so it was neat to see her work on Art Interiors website.

Art Interiors is located at 446 Spadina Rd, Suite 206 in Toronto, ON. The Festival of Smalls is running until December 24th, 2011. Shipping can also be arranged for those who can’t visit their Toronto location.

Please note: I did ask permission first before I took the pictures above (except the last). Please click on the pictures above to link to the artist page on the Art Interiors website.

Mi Casa

As I mentioned in a previous post, my condo is in a lovely Spanish Colonial style heritage building in midtown Toronto.  It’s a low-rise building with just 24 units and, as it was built in 1928, has all sorts of character that I feel is missing from newer buildings.

The Front Stairwell, and one of the Lights Flanking the Front Door

A major bonus with my unit is the room sizes are actually reasonable – my bedroom is 13’x9′, and my closet, instead of being some pokey little cube is almost 7ft long!!  Try finding that in a new-build (and actually be able to afford it).

I’ve been trying to come up with a way to describe the layout of my home in a way that would enable you to picture it and I’ve had a little trouble.  As the saying goes – ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, so here you go:

Floorplan of my condo

Living in History

My condo is in a building that was designated a heritage property by the city of Toronto on July 8, 1998.

Heritage Toronto Plaque

The following is excerpted from a City of Toronto report (May 25, 1998) recommending the heritage designation for the building.

The property is identified for architectural reasons. The apartments were constructed in 1928 according to the designs of Toronto architects Kaplan and Sprachman. W. Pidgeon and Sons Limited were both the developers and the contractors for the project. Albert E. Pidgeon, a member of the firm, occupied a unit.

The apartments are designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, identified by the red clay tile roofs, curvilinear gable, round-arched openings, and stone details imitating adobe stucco. The I-shaped three-storey plan is covered by a hipped tiled roof with gables on the south face and double chimneys on the east, south and west ends. The principal (south) facade is symmetrically organized in three parts. The centre section contains the main entrance at ground level. A projecting entrance porch has a red tile roof supported on brick piers. A round-arched stone-clad opening contains a single wood door with multi-paned sash and arched sidelights with single panes. Iron light fixtures in the shape of griffins holding globe lights are placed on either side of the entrance. A two-storey round-arched window opening over the entrance lights the interior stairwell. Pairs of rectangular windows are separated by a spandrel and surmounted by an arched transom with leaded glass. On either side of the entrance bay, each of the three stories has single flat-headed windows with brick lintels and extended stone sills. The centre of the wall is topped by a curved gable with corbelled brick and stone coping. The end sections of the south wall have flat-headed window openings, organized in pairs and threes and linked by continuous sills. Trios of round-arched window openings mark the third storey. Above, the gable ends of the roof have stone corbels and brackets. The end walls of the south wing are devoid of openings. The north extension of the building has red brick cladding and regularly spaced fenestration. On the interior, the entrance hall with its ceramic tile floor and the wood staircase are important features.

The property is set on landscaped grounds on a tree-lined street. It is a well-designed example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style and a visible feature amid the mainly single residential buildings in the North Toronto neighbourhood.

My Building

A Google search of the architectural firm who designed the building will find that they were noted theater architects who designed between 70 and 80 percent of all movie theaters in Canada between 1919 and the 1950’s including the Eglinton Theater which is located not far from my building. It opened on April 15, 1936 with a screening of ‘King of Burlesque‘.

The Eglinton Grand (source:

A Co-Ownerwhat?

I wrote in an earlier post that my home was quite low in price for the area. Before you start thinking I bought a dump, the reason my unit was priced much lower to similar in the area is simple – it’s a co-ownership, not a condo.

When I first heard that the unit was a co-ownership, I assumed I knew what that was – I mean, I’ve watched ‘Sex and the City’ – Carrie lived in one, right? Wrong.  She lived in a co-operative, which is not the same as a co-ownership. Anyone else confused?

At the time I was looking I did a quick internet search (gotta love Google) so I’d have a basic understanding.  Below you’ll find some of the differences and similarities between condos, co-ops and co-ownerships.  *Please note that these are as I understand them to be – if you’re considering purchasing a co-ownership, please consult your real estate lawyer for all the details.


  • Each unit is a separate property which can be bought and sold
  • Condos can be mortgaged
  • Owners of the units in the building will also own shares in the common elements of the building that are proportionate to the size of their unit


  • The entire property is owned by a corporation
  • The ‘buyer’ of a unit owns shares in the corporation, and is granted exclusive rights to use that specific unit
  • Shares can be mortgaged
  • Buyers are not registered on title for the property
  • Generally most banks will not loan for a co-op, but some credit unions will


  • There is just one property, and all the owners are listed on the title for the property
  • Owners have a proportional share of the entire property and are given the exclusive right to occupy their unit
  • Shares can be mortgaged
  • Generally most banks will not loan for a co-ownership, but some credit unions will

One of the reasons that co-ownerships are generally less expensive than ‘regular’ condos is that financing can be difficult.  In order to qualify for my mortgage I needed to have 30% down – this cuts out a large portion the buyer demographic looking to move into a one-bedroom unit, which in turn drastically reduces demand.