49 OLD ORCHARD GROVE, TORONTO
ASKING PRICE: $2,189,000
TAXES: $5,951.36 (2012)
LOT SIZE: 27.37 feet by 118.58 feet, widening to 38 feet at back.
AGENT: Jeffrey McCann, ReMax Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage
Old Orchard Grove is one of those classic north Toronto streets. It’s narrow and packed full of traditional, detached family homes. It’s also located in one of Toronto’s most affluent neighbourhoods, Bedford Park, which is just north of Lawrence Park. It’s an area of the city where houses are routinely offered for more than $1-million.
A few years ago, when Syroos Mohsenzadeh came across 49 Old Orchard Grove, it melted into the streetscape. It was a basic, perhaps even boring home; a ‘cookie cutter,’ one and a half storey, three-bedroom house, said agent Jeff McCann.
Because of the location and the pie lot shape, Mr. Mohsenzadeh knew that this property had potential and decided to take it from bland to beautiful.
“I had a feeling that people wanted something different, because most of these houses look the same,” said Mr. Mohsenzadeh. “I thought going modern would be nice.”
The back story
Mr. Mohsenzadeh has been working as a builder and designer of homes for more than a decade in Canada. In the past, he had done some modern designs, but usually just interiors cloaked in a traditional façade. But not 49 Old Orchard Grove. This time he was set on doing a total modern, eye-catching home. And with its boxy shape and linear details on its exterior, it stands out on the street.
Its interior is equally as striking. Like a lot of modern houses, the inside is largely white and defined by clean lines, glass partitions and big windows. But unlike a lot of these houses, there is a great level of subtle detailing that pulls it together. Take for example, the quadrangle theme that runs through the house. From the windows – which are varying sizes of rectangles – to square cut-outs in the ceiling that hide LED mood light to the rectangle designs on doors, four-sided shapes are all over. Which is, of course, totally intentional.
“Everything is square in this house,” said Mr. Mohsenzadeh. “And all of the fixtures, mirrors, faucets are the same, too. I wanted to have some harmony in the house.”
The other design element that ties 49 Old Orchard Grove together is how the space is divided up. There are no traditional levels in the house. It’s better described as a multilevels house. It looks almost like an Escher painting. Almost every room is separate from the next by a few steps. This delineates the space without putting up walls. And even though the rooms aren’t on the same plane, the absence of walls allows for a seamless flow from one space to another.
“The easiest way to think about it is that the front side of the house has two stories to it,” Mr. Mohsenzadeh explained. “The back side has three.”
So, what does this mean exactly? It means the master suite has a majestic feel to it with its 12-feet high ceilings. Other than the ceiling, the master is not overly spacious, but still comes fully equipped. There are his and her walk-in-closets and a very simple, sophisticatedly designed bathroom, which includes a shower stall that doubles as a steamer and a sauna.
The upper levels also include three other bedrooms and a study. While the basement is one large open space that segues to lower level of the backyard, large enough for a hot tub, Mr. Mohsenzadeh points out.
“Even in the backyard, I carried over the split levels,” Mr. Mohsenzadeh said.
The main space of the backyard, which features an apple tree, is three quarters grass and one quarter patio, with a gas hookup and a entrance into the kitchen and family room.
Up a few more steps and you’re back in the formal dining room area, close to the foyer. Up a few more from there and you’re in a second sitting room, looking out onto the street.
Mr. McCann and Mr. Mohsenzadeh agree that the family room and kitchen area is their favourite space in the house. For Mr. Mohsenzadeh, it’s the fact that this space is totally open, perfectly suited to be the hub of the household.
He is also very proud of the kitchen appliances he bought, including the standard dishwasher, microwave, oven as well as a food warmer and a Miele range and a glass hood that is more than $3,000.
“Honestly, I didn’t try to spare any expense,” said Mr. Mohsenzadeh. “Whatever the space needed, I spent the money.”
This is especially true of the windows in the house, including a massive two-storey window that runs up the south side of the basement and family room.
“The wall of windows [in the family room] is beautiful and designed in such as a way that it’s private from the neighbours and allows for great light,” said Mr. McCann. “It really is a thoughtful design.”
In total, Mr. Mohsenzadeh thinks he spent more than $80,000 in windows, which Mr. McCann says is more than double what is spent in a conventional new build.
The other reason why the windows were such an expense is because Mr. Mohsenzadeh tucked them into almost every room in the house, including bathrooms. For example in the master bath, the window is quite large but over six feet off the ground, giving the patrons total privacy. There are also skylights scattered throughout the home. To say it’s bright is a bit of an understatement, even on an overcast day. But that was the point, according to Mr. Mohsenzadeh.
“On a sunny day, you might need to put sunglasses on,” he joked.