HOME OF THE WEEK
245 BELLWOODS AVE., TORONTO
ASKING PRICE: $689,000
TAXES: $2,900.11 (2011)
AGENT: Lisa Munro (Bosley Real Estate Ltd.)
THE BACK STORY:
An ice-cream made them buy it. Or so says Aaron Brindle, co-owner with his freelance editor wife Jennifer Murray of a renovated Victorian semi located within walking distance of the yummy gelati served up on nearby College St. “Before we bought this house we were living just a few blocks over on Euclid Ave., and wanted to stay in Little Italy,” says Mr. Brindle, a former CBC journalist now working on the Communications and Public Affairs team at Google. “We loved being close to our favourite restaurant – the fish sandwich shop on College – and we didn't want to give up a summertime evening ritual that involved ice cream and walking through Trinity Bellwoods Park.” This one, purchased in 2006, had it all – charm, location and room to grow. “It needed a ton of work,” concedes Mr. Brindle. “But we were drawn to the stuff that no amount of renovating could address, namely the fact that it has a schoolyard directly across the street and a view of St. Francis of Assisi Church on Grace St.”
Estimated to be 110 years old, the three-bedroom house with a finished basement underwent an extensive renovation to make it a fully functioning, contemporary family home. “During the renovation we went right down to the original studs, which were these amazingly wide, long and thick pieces of wood with square nails. I don't think they grow trees like that any more,” Mr. Brindle says. The objective was to create a bright, open living space on the main floor, and to make it happen, the couple hired designer Christopher Wood of Living Arts Design. “The idea was to take advantage of the high ceilings and to maximize the light, so you could be at the kitchen sink and see all the way through to this very serene back deck,” explains Mr. Brindle of the reno featured in the August 2009 edition of House & Home Magazine. “Somehow Christopher managed to make sure every room in the house had natural lighting,” says Mr. Brindle. “I'm not sure what his secret is, but he took a house that felt kind of like a rabbit warren and made it feel expansive and bright.”
In anticipation of the birth of their first child three years ago, the couple re-did the basement, turning it into a media room with play area. Another baby is now on the way, which is why the couple is selling; in search of a larger property, with ice-cream access, but of course.
Editor’s Note: The home sold late last week, with three offers being submitted before a scheduled open house could be held. A bid of $787,000 was accepted by the sellers. “This market is really aggressive,” commented Mr. Brindle.