the DAVISVILLE FACTOR
J. DAVIS HOUSE SITS IN A TRENDY NEIGHBOURHOOD, BUT TAKES ITS DESIGN CUES FROM LOCAL HISTORY
Davisville has always been Yonge and Eglinton’s quieter, lesser-known cousin. But codevelopers Mattamy Homes and Biddington Group are banking on buyers who are in on the secret. J. Davis House, Mattamy’s first condo development, sits just a few steps north of Davisville and Yonge and suites are quickly being absorbed by purchasers who fell in love with the neighbourhood long ago.
Designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects, the ninestorey, 191- suite structure takes its inspiration ( and logo) from its historic location. Davisville Village was named after the area’s first postmaster, John Davis. The original post office building in which he worked still stands on the northeast corner of Yonge and Davisville, though in its current incarnation, is houses, perhaps predictably, a Starbucks.
Davis was also the largest employer in the neighbourhood, founding the Davisville Pottery factory. Historical details like this are echoed in the interior design of the presentation centre, where large ceramic pots are on display. “It’s a nod to John Davis and also meant to symbolize the history,” says Renato Iamonaco, senior associate responsible for the interior design at Graziani + Corazza. Another tribute is the tiny symbol of a water pitcher floating just above the J. Davis logo.
Graziani + Corazza marry historic and modern finishes throughout the building, but most spectacularly in the large, atrium-style lobby. “We wanted to let the volume of the space speak for itself,” Iamonaco says. With a two-storey height and floor to ceiling windows, the lobby exploits the look of sunlight on natural materials like brushed bronze, marble and stone. “The lobby has a classic, timeless feel — not overly ornate or trendy. It’s what this neighbourhood demands — upscale, classic, clean and modern.”
John Chimienti, senior associate at Graziani + Coraz- za, explains how the architectural vision for J. Davis germinated: “When we were first visiting the site, we really looked around at the local buildings, where brick was a main material,” he says. “So we wanted to integrate the use of masonry and those historic ‘ punched’ windows to reflect the streetscape, something reminiscent of a Chicago industrial look.”
Chimienti says the building’s boutique size and location are what sets it apart from other developments. “What really differentiates this project is the scale. You have a mid- rise building with far fewer units than you would normally find in condo towers, like at nearby Yonge and Eglinton,” he says. “It’s couched in a residential neighbourhood and that makes the location that much more exclusive for people who want to live midtown.” There’s also plenty of green space close by, including Oriole Park, Fiona Nelson Parkette and Al Green Sculpture Park.
“We find most of the purchasers here are end- users,” says Linda Robinson, vicepresident of sales and marketing at Mattamy. “Once people buy here, they want to stay. They like the proximity to Yonge and Eglinton — but not the hustle and bustle.” With the Davisville subway station close by and access to lots of local specialty shops, the buyers appreciate the convenience.
That’s what attracted buyer Ted Arniotis, a 24-year-old professional, who works at the Ministry of Environment not far away at St. Clair and Avenue Road. Yes, he plans to walk to work. Plus, “I bought a one- bedroom facing the east side,” Arniotis says, “I like knowing that my view will never be obstructed.”
Arniotis appreciates access to the city but more peaceful views, so he chose to face houses rather than Yonge Street on the west side. “I love the treeline here and the views of the houses. It’s where I grew up and I wanted to stay here. But most of all, I’ll appreciate the 170 feet of terrace.”
Because Arniotis’ interior space is relatively small at 520 square feet, outdoor space was critical. “I’m always barbecuing and entertaining friends. It really extends my living space, and that cinched the deal for me.”
Robinson seconds Arniotis’s take. “We really understand the need for people to have that outdoor space — especially if they’re downsizing from a l arge house with a backyard or garden. But it’s not just empty nesters who insist on that outdoor space, it’s everyone. That’s why every suite here has access outside.”
Aside f r om t he penthouses ( the details of which are not yet released), the largest terrace rings in at 1,210 square feet on the southeast two-bedroom-plus-den suite. Some other units feature Juliet balconies.
Three features and finishes packages showcase natural palettes (in white, off-white, dark brown and black). Ranging from 390-sq.-ft. studios to 1,275-sq.-ft. two-bedroomplus- den units, suites boast nine- foot ceilings, floor- toceiling windows, wide-plank laminate flooring, European cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Prices begin in the mid $200,000s.
Graziani + Corazza believe they also know a little about their sophisticated, urbane buyer: Each kitchen comes with a built-in wine fridge.