35 ASHDALE AVE., TORONTO
ASKING PRICE $1,199,000
TAXES $3,495.97 (2015)
LOT SIZE 25 feet by 120 feet
AGENT Ben Azizi, Salesperson, Re/Max Realtron Realty Inc., Brokerage
We’re told in life that it’s not the size of an object that bestows it value. As the old saying goes: Good things come in small packages. But that doesn’t hold true for the Toronto real estate market, where land size is king.
And the lot size of 35 Ashdale Ave. is one of the first things Alex (Amir) Heravi noticed when he first found the property.
“There are only a couple of houses [in Leslieville] that have a private driveway and a garage in the back,” said Mr. Heravi, who owns Heravi Development, a building company that largely focuses on residential projects in Leslieville.
At 120 feet in length, there is more than enough space for the two-car garage, a carré of grass and a deck in the back.
“It’s a premium lot size for the neighbourhood,” added Mr. Heravi’s real estate agent, Ben Azizi. “Because this – this kind of length and width [25 feet across] – it isn’t something you see very much in Leslieville.”
The back story
“Originally, I wasn’t planning on selling it because of the size of the lot. I wanted to keep it for myself,” Mr. Heravi said.
The original dwelling was an older looking, three-bedroom house with white vinyl-siding, a front porch and little awnings over the two second-storey windows. But it was a detached house: Ashdale’s east side is lined with them while the west side is all duplexes; and it was on an excellent lot. The only problem was the structure on the lot.
“It was in bad shape,” Mr. Heravi said.
After deeming there was nothing left to save, he decided to tear the entire thing down and also made the call to build to sell, not build to live.
“Everything you see is new,” he said. “Even with the underground plumbing and drainage, I replaced it all.”
When pressed Mr. Heravi can’t think of a single thing he kept – even the sod in the backyard is new – and despite the investment costs, he is glad he did this.
“At the end of the day, you might save $15,000 or $20,000, but then you’re always going to know that your plumbing is wrong,” he said. “Once I replace everything and do it correctly, everybody is happy.
“Plus, if I try to squeeze and save $15,000 on a house, then I’ll lose it afterward because my reputation will be lost,” he added.
As for the house’s aesthetic, Mr. Heravi tried to build a house that would suit younger families with entertaining aspirations – hence the playroom in the basement and the open-concept, party-friendly main floor. He also decided he would go fully modern in its look.
“It’s risky to do modern ’cause you don’t know how buyers will like it,” he said. “The way I finished the front [exterior] look, I was only 50-50 on it. I asked myself, ‘Should I do this way or not?’”
In the end, while the house is completely new, it still harks back to the original insofar as its three main bedrooms on the second floor. But because Mr. Heravi added a substantial addition off the back, each bedroom (including the nursery) is bigger and has its own set of closets and access to an ensuite bathroom.
But the basement, which used to be unfinished, saw the biggest change. Now, there is a bedroom, a three-piece bathroom and a very large rec room. Mr. Heravi also installed a sub-pump and a backwater valve.
“If there is a blockage or anything like that in the city pipes, this backup flow valve has dampers that only open one way,” he explained. “And if any kind of flooding happens … the damper closes and the water doesn’t get into your house.”
Anyone in the Beaches or Leslieville who experienced the flooding caused by city pipes backing up in 2008 will appreciate this detail and the potential house-insurance discount it ought to provide.
The best feature
Mr. Heravi’s favourite thing about the house is how open the main floor is. To accomplish this, he installed metal support beams.
“It cost me $10,000 more, but it’s solid,” he said. “Those beams aren’t going to move.”
By keeping it open, he not only allows light to flow through the oversized windows at both the front and the back, he also maximized the living space and was able to easily fit living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room and a 13-by-8-foot family room off the back.
“The family room is facing the backyard with its big sliding door,” Mr. Azizi said. “It really feels cozy and like home back there.”
And in the end, Mr. Heravi was glad he went full modern on the exterior with its boxy details and stucco and wood detailing.
“People are starting to show interest in modern design,” he said. He knows this because he has seen the interest himself.
After the exterior was done, neighbours and passerbys were stopping in front to take it all in and snap a quick pic.
“This house is one of my favourite houses that I’ve done so far,” Mr. Heravi said. “Because of the feeling that I got from the neighbourhood.”
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