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Shock of The New : not so shocking after all…

Posted April 11, 2014 by Paul in Messages from Paul

I giggle a little bit when a neuron misfires and I’m suddenly connecting what I do today for a living, with what I studied in university. Let’s go back…

Most people think I must have studied architecture, or graphic design, or some equally visual field. Fact is, I laboured through a 4 year BA while simultaneously promoting bands, djing, throwing raves and scouting nightclub locations. But back to my communications degree, and these wonderful ‘quasi texts’ that I swallowed whole. One was Neil Postmans’ “Amusing Ourselves to Death” (hardly academic, but as close to analytic poetry as writing gets), another was “The Shock of the New” by Robert Hughes. “Shock” resonated with me, not just because it profiles the history of modern (western) art, but because it tried to explore the reasons why modern art caused discomfort. Why the movement strained against the prevailing form, and was disruptive. Why some people, hated it.

So there I was in class, digging these textbooks, while promoting jungle DJs and chill-out lounges. And importing energy drinks. It sort of made sense to me – study those who disrupt and disturb, and carve out your own universe by promoting and exploring the counter-culture of the rave generation. A lot of late nights, most of them not spent studying.

Fast forward to 2008, on the front porch of a lovely modern home I was helping to bring to life. The bricks were being put on, and a passerby yelled out “It looks like a bloody prison”. Shocking. New. A modern home, on a street – indeed a neighbourhood – where not a single home was straining against the norm. Not a single structure was eliciting a response much beyond banal comments about paint colour.

So here I am, today, watching the gentle wave of exceptional modern homes wash across the city. There are fewer sidewalk screamers, and indeed a growing acceptance and embrace of modern architecture for modern times. This modern home shift doesn’t feel old yet, when it does I’ll move on to something else. But for the moment, it reminds me of why we need to agitate, why we need to test and challenge – because without the Shock of the New, life is beige. It took greats like Rothko in the art world, Sven Vath in music, and the brave souls who have fought for modern homes today.

Modern Niche is Really Growing in Toronto

Posted July 6, 2013 by Paul in Messages from Paul

It’s amazing how a ‘niche’ can grow so extraordinarily quickly. Only a few years ago, I was helping to bring the very first new wave of modern housing design to the city – seemingly fairly alone in the wilderness with only a few brave pioneers. A few homes at a time… Today, to my delight, modern and distinctive properties are top of mind for so many buyers in the city. So much so, in fact, that for two years running our new developments have been awarded “Project of the Year” for low-rise at the BILD awards – the building industry’s…

The Truth About Toronto Real Estates

Posted February 14, 2013 by Paul in Messages from Paul

There. I’ve gone and done it. A snazzy headline to catch your attention which suggests some long-winded and divinely accurate analysis of the future of Toronto Real Estate. Heck, keep reading, we might even invite you to buy a book or attend a seminar… Ahem, sorry for any disappointment. As my past clients know, when the conversation of investment comes up, I really try to focus attention on what I believe to be the true consideration: what will living in a particular home, in a particular neighbourhood, truly mean to you? What kind of ‘investment’ in your own happiness and…

Will You Keep on Building Higher, ‘Till There’s No More Room Up There…

Posted November 8, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

If you are of a certain age, I challenge you to keep that song out of your brain for the next hour. Not so easy, is it? As a teenager and into my early 20s, I worked fairly consistently as a dj. While my true love was early house music – and I sought any opportunity to fill my crates with obscure 12″ tracks, picking up gigs at such illustrious venues as the Lizard Lounge or Rockit – what ultimately paid the bills were good old high school dances and weddings. I was not a wedding singer, but the next…

Where Do We Go From Here?

Posted September 29, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

I’m asked with enough frequency “where do I see the market going”, that I’m able to hopefully provide a fairly considered response. Entirely accurate? Well, ultimately only time will tell. The two greatest developments of late in my business have been the emergence of consequential infill “at grade” housing, and some very exciting mid-rise developments. I’ve had the honour of helping to bring some exceptional developments to the market, some of which we are now seeing ‘emulated’ by other builders. That’s entirely flattering, of course, but it also creates a challenge for the buyer: trying to identify the authentic from…

The Future of Midrise in Toronto

Posted June 26, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

One of the most rewarding aspects of this career is the simple act of helping people find “home”.  I don’t ever want to think of what I do as the banal trade of commodity – as though I am negotiating pork futures or esoteric investment vehicles.  Rather, in my finest hours, I know that I help people find the comfortable, well lit space in which to go about the joys (and pains) of daily life. The places where celebratory memories will be made, where neighbours will become friends, where local shops will become familiar purveyors.  Home, and family, and neighbourhood…

What’s Next? Unique Urban Homes

Posted January 14, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

I’ve been extremely privileged to be part of a number of teams that have brought modern infill housing to the city. It’s been an exceptional few years – working with passionate developers, architects and designers. The success of these developments, from block to inhabit claremont to trinity bellwoods townhomes has been a testament to Torontonian’s desire to live in engaging and exciting neighbourhoods in the very core of the city. We want to live in the vibrant city core, in neighbourhoods that are thriving and growing. 2012 is full of exciting opportunities: a new home development in west queen west,…

Join The Unique Urban Homes Team

Posted December 5, 2011 by Paul in Messages from Paul

  It has been an exceptional year for modern and unique homes in Toronto.  As the market grows, so too does the desire to grow the team. I’m presently looking people to come on board in two key areas: sales and administrative support.  These are both positions which require core capacities which are at the very heart of what we do.  Namely: – have a passion for great design and intelligent city building. – be passionate about a role in helping to promote and sell unique and modern real estate in the city. – be utterly reliable, organized, earnest and…

Isn’t it Bloody Exciting?

Posted September 6, 2011 by Paul in Messages from Paul

I shy away from the pervasive question about the “sustainability” of the Toronto housing market – as I’ve pleaded before, the complexities of the world’s financial markets (and consumer sentiment) far outstrip my liberal arts background.  Even my addiction to the Economist makes me a lousy expert in the field of “what’s going to happen when…”. But isn’t it bloody exciting? When you are barrelling along Adelaide, or wandering Queen Street East, biking across Bloor or walking the dog through Roncy, don’t you sometimes just gather in the evidence and think it’s damned exciting?  The building boom in this city…

Come Join The Team – I’m Hiring

Posted June 29, 2011 by Paul in Messages from Paul

JOB TITLE: Real Estate Office Coordinator DATE:  Commences Summer 2011 JOB SUMMARY To provide comprehensive administrative and managerial support to a growing, market-leading real estate firm in the city’s core. This dynamic position will be rewarding for those who thrive on organizational excellence, a capacity to multi-task with flair, and a desire to be part of a young and energetic team. REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS You will be reporting directly to the owner of the company, and providing assistance to 2-3 other members of the team. DUTIES & ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS To maintain an overall smooth and effective workplace operation. Duties include:…

Make Millions with No Money Down!

Posted June 8, 2011 by Paul in Messages from Paul

If you are of a certain age (ahem), you may recall the histrionic of Tommy Vu – a Vietnamese poker-player who turned real estate investment guru. He had some embarrassingly vulgar infomercials in the 1980s, promoting get-rich schemes predicated on no-money-down investment properties.  To be crude, the point was his students would get rich, and the dudes would get women.  Money and sex still sells.  “Look at all these beautiful women!” Vu would chant, with buxom bikini-clad bombshells flanking him. While there are ample rumours about Vu’s scheme landing him in jail, the simple truth is that his crass antics…

© 2014 Unique Urban Homes Paul Johnston

All Rights Reserved
Paul Johnston, Salesperson, Right at Home Realty Inc Brokerage
895 Don Mills Road, Suite 112, Toronto, Ont M3C 1W3

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