Photos Of The Week!

And not “MLS” photos, but rather photos from my daily meanderings around the city.

Maybe I’ve been camera-shy over the last few months, as I don’t have more than a dozen of what the kids call “doozies” saved up, but I assure you, the ones I have below are the true cat’s meow.

Plus, now that my “Men In Belted Sweaters” magazine subscription has been discontinued, I find myself with an extra three hours per week to sort through my photos…


Everybody and their mother wants to buy, “fix up,” and flip real estate.

But not everybody – and especially not their mother, is equipped to do it.

First impressions, folks.  They’re important.

Maybe don’t put both locks on upside-down, so that the very first thought in every buyer’s head is “Oh my God, this house is going to be f’d up…”


When it comes to things like “wiring” and “building code” and “presentation,” my advice is to ignore it all, and simply put a light-switch on the ceiling, and don’t do a proper job mudding and sanding the drywall either:


Also, put a toilet in a random place in the house.

Toilet, no sink.  Sanitation is soooooo 1996.

Then, skimp on the cost of a full door, and just use 2/3rds of one:


And in case the photo of that “bathroom” doesn’t show how insane this is in practice, think about how only a person with no legs can use the toilet, with the door closed:


It’s common practice for Realtors to leave a business card behind when they show a property.

It shows the seller that they were in the home.

But it’s also a good way for you, as a buyer, to gage the interest level in the home.

A good rule of thumb – if the stack of cards are as big as your thumb, there’s been a crazy level of interest.

Now try to guess the proverbial “jellybeans in the jar” here – how many cards?


Seventy-six cards.

Yes, I counted.

My clients were late…

Here’s something fun!

How many parking spaces do you expect in your standard $2,500,000 home?

A two-car garage would be nice, but you can’t always get that.

But what about a zero-car garage?

Here’s my car (for you car guys – a Lexus IS 250), which I don’t think is even a “mid-size” sedan, and which won’t fit in the goddam garage!


Seriously, I measured with a tape.

Yeah, those clients were late too…


I would LOVE to hear the conversation that transpires between the two owners of these two houses:


“Hey Joe, are you having issues with your analog signal?”

“Yeah Bill, it hasn’t been working lately.  And by lately, I mean in the last eight years.”

“I might just adjust the rabbit-ears on my TV set.”

“Not sure if it’s UHF or VHF that’s the problem, but I’m hoping to have it up and running before the next Baby Blue Friday Night Movie…”

Have you been to prison?

Damn.  Okay.

Well, have you seen Oz?

Or Wentworth?

Or any movie or TV series about prison?

Do you know what a “shank” is?

Well, the owner of this house had about a dozen of these in his basement:


Okay, I’ll admit, I am not a structural engineer.

But there’s no way this staircase, made from a recycled bookshelf, is up to today’s building code:


I am a firm believer in the value of staging.

I stage almost every property I list for sale, to some degree, and I am 100% convinced that it results in more money for the seller.

However, if you stage a property while on drugs, and blindfolded, you end up with something like this:


And last, but certainly not least, now that summer is (almost?) upon us, it’s a good time to remember that on the roof of your 550-unit condominium, there is a hot tub that comfortably seats three people:


And yes, you can trust that the staff at your condo are cleaning this daily, checking the PH levels, and making sure the urine content is hovering somewhere around par.

Happy Monday!


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  1. Frances says:

    I think those free standing toilets are “just in case” fixtures. If something happens to the upstairs toilet, you have something to fall back on. We have one in the basement in the bathroom of an old basement apartment. Yes, it has a door but there’s no basin and, currently, no t.p. either.

  2. Rob says:

    That’s not a repurposed bookshelf. Each of the vertical parts are a couple of two by fours joined together to form a beam and the horizontal parts are two by fours again, far heavier a build than a bookshelf. Someone laid toe pieces of plywood to make shelves out of the space beneath the landing. The stairs to the basement in my house are built the same way and were strong enough to support lowering a 1500 lb gun safe that the previous owner bought into the basement so I’m not too concerned about any staircase built that way’s ability to carry the weight of people going up and down. I honestly don’t know if those stairs would be up to code today but a heavy build of many two by fours would be a lot more solid than what you find in new construction town houses etc.

    As for the TV antennas, personally, I’d run the VHF feed into my receiver and get great FM and mount a three or four bay bow tie UHF antenna on a rotor and run that into the TV and pick up all the over the air HD channels in the whole Golden Horseshoe area and put the boots to Rogers.

  3. Maggie says:

    Great pics. That half-door toilet setup is very silly. I think I read somewhere that at some point in time those freestanding basement toilets were for when you were gardening and you didn’t want to go inside and dirty up the house or something along those lines.

  4. Ed says:

    David, time to take the winter tires off.

  5. Marina says:

    So where do you suggest he keeps his dozen shanks? The kitchen? That’s unsafe – kids might get their hands on them 😛

    I remember when we were looking at houses we saw some really unbelievable stuff – a shelf of disembodied dolls heads, taxidermy projects, holes in the wall badly patched up or not patched at all…

    The final straw was what can only be described as the Murder Tub in the main bathroom of a semi. Put me off fixer uppers for life.

  6. Joe Q. says:

    I liked the toilet one. If it weren’t for the non-existent knee clearance, the truncated door would be at least useful for tall people to keep an eye on the kids while attending to other business.

  7. Paully says:

    Analog TV is dead and gone. The over-the-air signals are digital now, most are HD and are completely uncompressed, unlike cable HD signals which can be somewhat compressed. So if you have a clear line of sight to the broadcast tower, you can actually get a better quality picture than via cable. I receive over twenty stations here in Willowdale, including everything local on the CN Tower and all of the big US networks out of the Buffalo area. If your condo faces south, you should try connecting an antenna to your TV, you will be impressed by the quality. Monthly cost? $0! Nada! Zilch! Zip! Don’t knock it until you try it!

    Friends of mine once lived in a house with a bathroom that was incredibly narrow. They actually had to cut a square out of the drywall between the studs in front of the toilet to provide enough knee room to sit and use the toilet!

    1. GinaTO says:

      We also have an over-the-air digital antenna on our house (Junction Triangle) and get the same channels. Love it! We were able to see the Raptors game Sunday, with no cable, since it was playing on one of the American channels (ABC?).

      We once visited an old, ugly house in Roncys with a stand-alone toilet in the basement – right next to the drum kit and the Def Leppard cassette tapes. We joked for a long time about listening to classic rock while having a poop.

    2. Libertarian says:

      I used an indoor OTA HD antenna when I lived in a condo by the lake. It was great! I don’t know why they aren’t more popular. As Paully wrote, it’s free! And on an internet plan through Teksavvy (or a similar company), which charges much less than Rogers or Bell, and you have all the entertainment you could want for much less.

      As GinaTO points out, most of the bigger sporting events are now on the main networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and hockey is still on CBC).

      Even people hate those new skinny packages from Bell and Rogers, they’d be better off getting an antenna.

    3. jeff316 says:

      We have OTA TV too and it was a great purchase. If you’re handy and willing to install it yourself (I’m not) you can have a good 20-30 channels for $200 or less. You can get more with a fancier set up (two properly spaced antennas, amp) and get more channels, but there will be lots of repeats and the setup gets ugly. We almost never use our netlfix for the kids anymore, thanks to OTA TVO.

  8. moonbeam! says:

    Haha the lonely & cramped toilet is pretty common.
    We had one like that on Airdrie Ave. in Leaside in 1980, right beside the washer & drier in the basement, but at least the veneer-thin door was full-size.
    My sister had a free-standing working toilet (no cubicle at all!) in her unfinished basement on Dixon Avenue in the Beach, also beside the washer & drier.
    Very convenient, if you’re alone in the house doing laundry!