toronto-star-logo

Ryan Starr | Toronto Star | Friday, October 31, 2014

For developer John Vandyk, the design of the homes he builds is an intensely personal matter. “It’s in my DNA,” the owner CEO of Vandyk Group of Companies says in an interview to discuss his firm’s latest project, The Craftsman, a 299-unit midrise condominium complex in Mississauga’s Clarkson Village.

Vandyk has dubbed the development a signature project for his company, which has been in operation more than three decades. “I don’t want to sound egotistical,” he says, “but this will be a piece of art.”

As the name suggests, the design of The Craftsman — a community that will be built on a 4.5-acre infill site on Lakeshore Rd. W., adjacent to Birchwood Park — was inspired by the Arts and Crafts style adopted by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Vandyk holds the acclaimed American architect and designer in high regard — Vandyk’s own home was designed in Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style: low to the ground, with sweeping horizontal lines and an open floor plan.

The Craftsman residences will have a similar exterior aesthetic, featuring clean lines, expansive windows, wood and fieldstone facades, and an earthy colour palette. Inside, the minimal use of shear walls means the spaces will be bright and open, with warm wood and natural hues. “It’s a timeless design,” Vandyk says.

The development will include three connected, four-storey buildings that form a W-like shape, with a three-storey-high glass lobby and rooftop terrace with fire pit, and barbecue and dining areas for owners and residents.

Between the buildings will be a pair of landscaped courtyards with meandering stone walkways, sculpted hedges and water features. Vandyk notes he purchased a line of limited-edition planters from The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation that will be placed in the courtyards. “Extreme thought was put into those courtyards,” he says, adding the aim is to create a community within the community. “There was no expense spared there.”

Homes at The Craftsman range from 605 square feet to 1,750 square feet. More than half of the residences will be over 950 square feet, Vandyk says.

Prices start at $309,990 and go to more than $1 million. One third of the homes in the project, currently in the preview sales phase, have been sold. The public launch is slated for the new year.

Amenities at The Craftsman include a fitness centre and yoga studio, and hobby and gardening rooms. There will also be the Clarkson Club, a central entertainment area with flat screen TV, games tables, indoor/outdoor limestone-clad fireplace and lounge seating. (For private functions there will be a fully equipped catering kitchen and private dining area.)

The Craftsman suites, designed by Toronto’s Union31, will have nine-foot ceilings (12-foot ceilings on the top, fourth level), with engineered hardwood flooring in the main living areas and floor-to-ceiling windows. Most homes will have walk-in closets, pantries and laundry rooms.

Kitchens come with quartz countertops, glass-tile backsplashes and islands, with appliances integrated into flat-panelled custom cabinetry. Bathrooms will have porcelain tile, quartz countertops and frameless glass shower doors.

“John always said, ‘We have to do this turnkey,’ ” explains Vandyk’s sales and marketing vice-president Linda Mitchell.

“Many of our buyers will be moving out of homes that they’ve been renovating and upgrading over the years, and so they’re not going to go backwards.” “We don’t want them to come to this stage in their life and have them pay for this and pay for that,” she adds. “So it’s all there.”

Smaller suites at the project are intended for first-time buyers looking to move out of their parents’ homes, but not stray too far from Clarkson. “They weren’t designed for the investor market,” stresses Young.

The quality of finishes on offer at The Craftsman was what appealed to Melissa De Dominicis, who bought a 960-square-foot, ground-floor unit with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an 800-square-foot terrace that’s nearly as large as the suite itself. “The standard features are top of the line,” says De Dominicis, a teacher who lives in the area. “So I didn’t have to do any upgrades.”

The architecture also drew her in: the clean lines, stone work and fountains on the outside, and the open-concept floor plan on the inside. “A lot of the places I’d been looking had different shapes and angles,” she says. “And I didn’t like that.”

Several years ago another developer proposed building a townhouse project on the Craftsman site, but ran into hardship amid the financial crisis, according to Vandyk, who notes his company purchased the property from a financial institution and went through an extensive community consultation process before coming up with its ultimate vision for The Craftsman.

Many of those who had registered for that previous development have been given the chance to purchase units at The Craftsman. “These are people who have been on a list for three years since the last project didn’t proceed,” Vandyk says. “There hasn’t been anything else in the area, so they’ve just been waiting.

“The community deserves something that’s going to be timeless, not your same-old, same-old,” Vandyk adds. “So I think this will be a great story for the neighbourhood.”

The Craftsman Condominium Residences

Location: 1575 Lakeshore Rd. W., Clarkson, Ont.

Developer: VANDYK group of companies. Interior design by Union31.

Size: 3 buildings, 4 storeys with 299 units, from 605 sq. ft. to 1,750 sq. ft.

Price: From $309,990 to over $1 million.

Information: craftsmancondo.com , 905-823-4044. Sales Centre at 1601 Lakeshore Rd. W., Mississauga

The community deserves something that’s going to be timeless, not your same-old, same-old