768 SPADINA RD., TORONTO
Asking price: $1.985-million
Taxes: $9,740.23 (2012)
Lot size: 52 by 132 feet
Agent: Elli Davis (Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.)
The back story
The house on Spadina Road just south of Eglinton Avenue had been in the same family for decades when lawyer Gillian Stacey purchased it about 10 years ago.
“Most people would have knocked it down,” says agent Elli Davis of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., who helped Ms. Stacey purchase the house at the time.
Ms. Stacey says she didn’t want to see another house knocked down and replaced with a faux French château.
“I am a big fan of restoring, not destroying, and although the house was a bit neglected, I could see that it had solid foundations and wonderful potential.”
Spadina Road has become more of a thoroughfare over the years, but Ms. Davis says many people like living so close to the area’s schools and the streetscape of Forest Hill Village, which is just down the street. The boutiques of Eglinton West are also nearby.
It is on one of the busier streets, but it’s less expensive as a result, Ms. Davis says, adding that “it has great access to everything.”
She also says an asking price of less than $2-million is rare in Forest Hill, and properties such as this one provide a portal into the established and prestigious neighbourhood.
“I think the potential buyer for this house is a young buyer who wants their kids to go to the Forest Hill public or private schools, Ms. Davis says.
Forest Hill Public School,
Bishop Strachan School for girls and Upper Canada College for boys are some of the institutions that draw parents to the area.
The house today
Ms. Stacey worked with architect John O’Connor of Basis Design/Build to reconfigure the interior.
“He brings a very big-picture view to his projects,” she says.
Mr. O’Connor designed the main floor, for example, so that sightlines lead straight from the front door through to the end of the back garden.
“In the summer, when the
koi pond is uncovered, it is a very Italian way of bringing the outdoors inside,” Ms. Stacey says.
She adds that the architect was also able to find a way
to turn an extraneous hallway into a first-floor powder room.
The formal living and dining rooms remain, but the house now also has a large modern kitchen and family room overlooking the backyard.
Upstairs, two bedrooms were combined into one large master suite with a fireplace and doors leading to a balcony. The ensuite bathroom has a hydro jet tub and a separate walk-in shower. Two other bedrooms and a bathroom are on the second floor.
The third floor can become a large fourth bedroom, but Ms. Stacey uses it as a media room and home office.
There is a bathroom with a walk-in shower and a Japanese soaker tub with views of the garden.
On the lower level, a recreation room has a wet bar and gas fireplace.
Ms. Stacey brought in Christopher Wood of Living Arts Design to handle the decor throughout the house after admiring his eclectic streak and ability to mix old and new.
“Somebody once described my house as a theatre set – I took that as a compliment,” she says. “I want an environment that you can live in – not just visit like a museum.”
The best feature
In Ms. Stacey’s view, the best feature is the garden, which was recently transformed by Green Apple Landscaping.
“There is a secret garden behind the garage with a rock waterfall and, when the whole garden is in bloom and green, you can’t believe you are in the city,” she says.
Ms. Stacey says she has hosted an annual outdoor summer party for more than 80 people in years past.
“Even when the party got rained on, people found a
way to get back outside to
the garden – it is that enchanting.”