Photos Of The Week!

What’s the difference between “Photos of the Week,” and my more-regular, “MLS Musings” blog posts?

Well as you probably assume, the “MLS Musings” contain photos, those bizarre and unforgettable, from active MLS listings in Toronto.

The “Photos of the Week” are from houses and condos I visit in person, whereby I often find a lot crazier features.

Let’s have a look at the ones I’ve collected over the past couple of weeks…



Let’s start with a doozie, folks!

Here’s an absolutely gorgeous renovation – one that’s tough to really find a problem with…


…except that the bathroom sink is in the bedroom!

Yes, really.

I showed this to a couple of people who were like, “What?  What am I looking at?”  It’s like those 3-D puzzles that were big in the early-90’s; sometimes you just need to stare at it until it jumps out at you.  The room looks so clean and polished until you realize it’s a fantastic mess of a renovation.

Not to be outdone, the bathroom itself had this odd hole in the floor:


And no, that wasn’t for a heating duct the way we see the vents on the floor in condo townhouses, as opposed to up on the ceiling.

That looked to me like a hole exactly the same size as the toilet drain, which was exactly across from the actual drain.

Is it possible they just cut a hole on the wrong side?

It reminds me of the time my mom shortened my Levi’s Jeans by two inches, both on the same leg…

For those of you that work in the construction field, maybe this next one isn’t that odd.

But it wasn’t just the knife on the floor of this 96%-finished condo, but rather the tape around the handle mimicking a classic jail-shank!


It reminds me of OZ.  I miss that show…

Let’s continue the theme of poor workmanship.

I always tell my buyers, “If you’re looking at a ‘newly-renovated’ house, don’t look at the big things, look at the small things.  Like where two pieces of trim join, or where the baseboard meets the flooring.”

If this is how the flippers of this house show what can be seen, imagine what they’ve done behind the scenes…


Such a simple task!

Take the bright-green painter’s tape off the ceiling fixture before you put the property on the market, or, for the love of God, do it on the first day of the listing, the second day, the third day…


Who was it that said, “Duct tape fixes anything“?

Was it from The Simpsons?  Or Seinfeld?  Or Home Improvement?

Well, the owners of this house figured that if one tube didn’t quite reach the other tube (it was off by two inches), they’d simply wrap duct-tape around the end of the first tube, and voila!


I laughed when I saw this.

Maybe heating and cooling isn’t my chosen field.

But I do know that if you’ve got electric baseboards wedged behind a gas radiator, then either one of them isn’t working (which is bad), or both of them are working (which is highly questionable):


I’m also not an electrician by trade.

But I do believe that the electrical panel is a little too close to the sink:


I’m also not a stager.  And as was perhaps noted by the readers of Wednesday’s blog, a professional photographer…

….but I know what I like, right?  This pretty set of wine glasses and flowers on the bed?  Even though it’s completely impractical to have wine glasses on a bed in real life?  Sort of how “practical” photos don’t really beat out “marketing” photos?  No?  Let that dead horse remain dead?

Okay.  But what’s that I see in the wine glasses?


Oh, okay.

It’s just jagged pieces of broken glass…


….like I said, I’m not a stager.

Here we see another lovely set of wine glasses, but this time there’s actually, you know – wine!

What type of wine, I wonder?


….this type:


Yes, you’re seeing that correctly.

It’s not wine, but rather sparking juice!

But not just sparking – it’s ORGANIC!

From now on, every time you see a bed in a house that looks staged, pick up the sheets and look at what’s underneath:


That’s bad, but this is far worse:

And last, but certainly not least, let me end on a positive.

I love the character that exists in some of Toronto’s Victorian-era homes.

Maybe I’m obsessed with history, and “how people did things” in just about every fashion before our time.

But I love looking at load-bearing walls that held up Victorian homes, when they’re made out of stones!  Not poured concrete, not cinder-blocks, not hundred-year-old brick, but actual stones that you’d basically find out in the woods.

In this Junction-area home, they kept they restored the original foundation, and used it as a feature-wall in the basement rec-room.

It’s absolutely gorgeous!



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  1. Frances says:

    We’ve stayed in a number of hotels that have the sink in the bedroom. It’s not something I’d want in my own home but I can see the point. And to CB, I am addicted to condo floor plans and I also have noticed the lack of closet space. Not to mention the wonky layouts and such space wasters as two full bathrooms in a one-bedroom-plus-den place.

  2. Bugeyedbrit says:

    The ;extra’ hole in the bathroom, surely someone just move the toilet and hasn’t yet repaired it(I hope!!) I may have had a fake box bed back in London in 2003…didn’t seem to phase my buyers, who gave me double what I paid in 1999….

    I just replaced my newel post and balusters on my staircase, did I do better than any of the above?


  3. Marina says:

    I would also love s blog post on exceptionally good features that you have seen, like that wall. Not in super posh homes, just stuff done well.
    A small bathroom with particularly clever use of space.
    An exceptional kitchen layout.
    A great set of built-ins.
    Great deck, closet, landscaping, banister, kitchen island, etc.
    Given how many homes you see in a week, I’d love to know what strikes you as particularly good, not just the astonishingly bad.

    1. @ Marina

      And here I thought that ONLY negativity sells! 🙂

      Thus the newspaper headlines we see touting the “40% drop in Toronto real estate.”

      I certainly don’t want to hone myself as a negative Nancy here. The entire impetus for TRB back in 2006 was the fact that agents are always so phony, and transparently positive, offering zero value when they just marvel at the shiny appliances, great view, or new counters. My value has always been getting down on my hands and knees and looking for hidden defects…

      So when I pen my “MLS Musings” or “Photos of the Week,” I try to be comical in nature, but also point out what you want to avoid in the complicated, fast-paced, and high-stakes Toronto real estate market. I’m constantly sickened by the lack of effort I see by listing agents, and thus the MLS Musings was born.

      Years ago, I thought about a similar “Photos of the Week” feature for properties and features that I actually like, but it was when Pinterest and Instagram were new, and I thought it would just mimic the idea of putting photos of your lunch, or kids, or something else that people really shoudln’t care that much about, for all to see.

      But you’re right, I could start a new feature in a positive tone. I consider myself to be a cup-half-full kind of guy, despite the tone I take on my blog, or the features I write.

      Let me mull this over.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      1. T says:

        “And here I thought that ONLY negativity sells! 🙂.

        Thus the newspaper headlines we see touting the “40% drop in Toronto real estate.”

        Right… the price and sales drops are not nearly as in your face as when real estate prices were exported to be going up over 30% year over year last spring. CP24, 680 news, torstar, globe and mail – you couldn’t get away from it for 5 min. It was all anyone and everyone was talking about in the GTA.

        But now that the tables are turned you feel it’s negativity that sells? Wow. You are missing some critical thinking and objectivity here.

    2. GinaTo says:

      Great idea Marina. And yes, in regular homes, not just super-fancy ones.

  4. Condodweller says:

    It’s great to see a positive feature David! It would be great to see the occasional good news story as I am sure you see good features that we wouldn’t think of that can be highlighted next to all the negative ones. Let’s put a positive spin on the sink in the bedroom as another commenter pointed out. While it may not be common it makes total sense to me, along the lines of my comment on the small condo post where I said that a separate toilet makes sense and in Europe it’s common. In fact I have seen the sink outside the bathroom in several hotels I stayed at recently both in Canada and the US. One of them had two sinks i.e. one in the bathroom and one outside the door.

    The shards of glass in the wine glasses are just a prop so let sleeping dogs lie. I’d have a safety issue with it if a child decided to drink it.

    The other ones are actually champagne glasses. You have to have a bit of an open mind here to understand why the stager might have done it. Your religion may allow you to drink alcohol and use it as a prop, but some religions frown upon alcohol. Flavoured sparkling water is often used to replace champagne in countries with these religions. Look at sporting events where the winner customarily sprays champagne.

  5. Sardonic Lizard says:

    That hole near the toilet is actually another toilet to make our Asian guests feel right at home.

    1. Condodweller says:

      Nah, it’s an environmentally friendly toilet with a convenient access port to suck out the container contents…

    2. T says:

      Disgusting and racist comment. Is this what goes on in the world of realtors these days? Low brow, disgusting, racist, off-putting ‘humour’. You are lucky you can hide behind anonymity. Post your real name with a comment like this and see what happens.

      1. Sardonic Lizard says:

        >> Disgusting and racist comment.

        What planet are you on? Have you never been to Asia? The majority of their toilets are designed and built on the floor.

  6. Anna says:

    The sink in the bedroom is super common in Britain, and is really very practical. It’s unexpected here but I’ve always quite liked it – the family cottage was built by Brits and all the bedrooms have sinks, which makes getting everyone ready for bed go a lot faster since everyone can brush teeth/wash faces etc in their own rooms.

    1. IanC says:

      My sister had a few houses in BC where they put the ensuite sink outside the washroom. It’s different, but can be practical.

      I’ve also seen the broken glass in the drinking glasses as well. It was on an HBO prison serial.

  7. CB says:

    David, thanks for this subject, I was going to ask you to do something like this.
    This week we moved from one older rental in the St. Lawrence Market area to newer apartment this week. (Not 88) We were unhappy with our landlords, which is a long and boring story.
    In a new apartment Husband wanted a city view. I wanted updated finishes.
    As I’ve said before (a million times) we are from the US and have renovated, built, “landlorded”, flipped, and finished a ton of houses and one surgery center. I want things done well, but I recognize that nothing is perfect in this world. If I were buying in this newer building, I’d want to really look at each individual finish. The tiling is done perfectly, the flooring is not.
    The modern beautiful kitchen, with everything built in, is not as workable as I had expected. At least there is a large island, unlike David’s favorite kitchens that are all on one wall. I can see how the builder made it look good, but function was not considered. Most owners have added pull out drawers to access the deep recesses of large cabinets.
    This is an interesting learning experience. If we do buy in the St. Lawrence Market, and I’d like to, I’d want an older 1980s-2000s building that we renovate.
    And please, what is with the lack of closet space? I looked at a floor plan of a HUGE expensive condo and there wasn’t a coat, linen, broom, or pantry closet. Where the hell do you put the vacuum cleaner?

  8. Paully says:

    My kids love that sparkling juice!

  9. Pete says:

    I like the sink being separate from the toilet/shower. It’s practical in a shared situation where one person can have privacy to take care of things in the bathroom while the other can still brush their teeth etc.