Thanks to the growing Maker Movement, more people are enthusiastic about reclaiming once foreign-made, mass-produced consumables. Whether it’s something old school such as macramé plant hangers, or cutting edge and technical such as computer hardware, DIYers are becoming more prevalent. Not to mention profitable. According to a recent Economist article, Brooklyn-based Etsy, for example, generated sales of more than $1-billion (U.S.) in 2013, the vast majority of which was driven by small, part-time, at-home producers (of which there are over one million worldwide).
Last Sunday night, before the sun went down, my boyfriend and I decided to stroll through my favourite Toronto neighbourhood and casually look for a new place to live. Right now, we rent a 1950s, 800-square-foot, ground-floor apartment near Sherbourne and Bloor. It’s a nice spot (we have our own garden and the building is quiet), in a nice area (we’re caught in a sweet spot between subway access and a lush, peaceful ravine). But I’ve always loved the neighbourhood around the Art Gallery of Ontario, at Beverley and Dundas West. The streets — leafy with lots of Victorian semis — are incredibly charming, and it’s near the Grange Park, OCAD, U of T, Kensington Market and Chinatown. Plus, my boyfriend and I are getting to that stage in life where renting is starting to feel too student-y (he just turned 30 and everyday I feel my 20s slipping away).
The first For Sale sign we noticed was for a tumble-down brick bungalow the size of Timbit. It looked a bit sad, with a yard of concrete pavers enclosed by a wobbly chain link fence. But before I could utter the phrase fixer upper, I was choked by the price. Over half a million dollars. The revelation made me feel both insulted and poor. I briefly tried to rationalize the price — good location, cute shape (with a little peaked roof) — then my brain started to hurt, so we moved on.