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What to do when you buy a brand new condo in the DNA building at King and Shaw but you're craving the warm look of a vintage loft? If you're Narrative public relations pro Laura Serra, you get your dad to lay a brick wall in the living room and replace an oversized kitchen island with a rustic counter fashioned from reclaimed wood.
"As much as I love the clean lines and all white everything of Scandinavian design, I collect too much crap" says Serra. Her art in mismatched frames, stacks of magazines and coffee table books and antique finds came together to make an eclectic, personal space.
Original budget: "I'd always lived with roommates, and rent was cheap, so I needed a mortgage that wouldn't break more than $1,000 per month."
Unit price: $170,000 in 2006. The condo was recently appraised at $350,000.
Wish list: A central, walkable location, lots of closet space, a separate and closed-off bedroom, a bathtub ("I'm a huge bubble-bather") and access to an outdoor space from the unit.
Number of properties checked out: Three. "My family wasn't too keen on the pre-construction process [buying before the condo was built], so I satisfied their concerns by going to see a few others in the neighbourhood. I hated them all."
What she got: A 700-square-foot top-floor one-bedroom/one-bathroom unit with a balcony.
What she says about her place: "My life and taste have changed so much in the last seven years. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to make the jump to a house, but I do know I'd like to live in a smaller building that's a bit more refined. At the same time, this is the home I grew up in. It's so me! It's hard to pull the trigger."