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Posted December 15, 2009, Toronto Life

Toronto Life features Paul’s efforts in to find the perfect minimalist home.

Spare Me
For several interested buyers, the question was, how minimalist is too minimalist?

The Seller
Patrick Flynn, a 60-year-old finger print technician for the Toronto Police Service and a former member of The Bopcats, a 1980s rockabilly band.

The place
A 745-square-foot loft in an art deco industrial warehouse in Regent Park. From 2005 to 2007, Flynn rented the apartment to Michael Ondaatje, who used it as a studio while writing Divisadero. Flynn moved back in two years ago; he’s selling now because he’s building a 600-square-foot “dream house” on a vacant lot at Gerrard and Coxwell.

The problem
Flynn knew his home wouldn’t appeal to the average buyer. The kitchen has little counter or cupboard space, and the narrow bedroom is the size of a closet, with a raised metal platform too small for a queen mattress. the Showings Flynn’s agent, Paul Johnston, held four open houses, two of them for agents only. The agents weren’t optimistic, but the price was low—Johnston arranged 75 showings. Many visitors admired Flynn’s aesthetic but were appalled when they saw the sleeping area. “They got into delirious debates about how big a bedroom needed to be, and whether they could make it work,” Johnston says. “Six potential buyers did some soul-searching and returned to see it several times.”

The sale
It came down to one woman, a yoga enthusiast who “really dug” the serenity of the space, says Flynn. But she wanted him to throw in his Sistemalux pendant light and Castiglione suspension lamp. At first Flynn balked—he has few possessions, and these were hard to part with—but after several sign-backs, he agreed. He’s now living in a 300-square-foot studio at St. Clair and Bathurst while he builds his new house.

© 2017 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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