21 BOSWELL AVE., TORONTO
Asking price: $5.95-million
Taxes: $29,534.36 (2012)
Lot size: 50 by 93.5 feet
Agent: Jimmy Molloy (Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.)
The back story
Alan Saskin watched the construction of a modern dwelling on a Yorkville cul-de-sac for many months before he took his family to see it.
The design by Lynn Appleby is contemporary, but the plan behind the glass and steel is actually traditional.
The centre hall runs from the front entry to the back garden, leading to a four-storey glass and aluminum tower, which contains the staircase of steel and limestone. The staircase leads to the second floor and its rolled steel and limestone catwalk. The catwalk, set on steel girders, floats above the main floor and gives access to the rooms on the second floor.
"It's a classic Georgian home – though it's a modern loft version of it," says the homeowner, standing in the foyer and pointing out the centre hall plan. "You walk in and you're invited all the way to the backyard."
The family decided that the interior of the 6,000-square-foot house would provide the perfect backdrop for their art collection.
Still, the spare white interior contained so much glass and steel that the couple thought it needed some softening.
"We tried to warm it up and make it home," she says.
In addition to their paintings and sculpture, they added warm maple built-ins and lots of lighting.
"It's a real house for art lovers," says real estate agent Jimmy Molloy of Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.
The house today
The family enjoys gathering in the great room, where they can set up tables that accommodate 45 people for dinner. The 50-foot-long room has ceilings 17 feet high.
When the couple's son got engaged to be married, they held a party in the great room. The orchestra set up in the loft overlooking the great room.
"It's a good entertaining house," she says.
The modern kitchen has sliding glass doors that open to the exterior and create the feeling of dining alfresco.
The ceiling has exposed structural steel beams.
Upstairs, the master suite has a 12-foot-high ceiling and walls of glass. Doors open to a roof garden and private deck. The whirlpool bath is wrapped in stainless steel and an outdoor shower has a 12-inch rainfall shower head.
The loft overlooking the great room is currently used as a home office. A garage-style door can be rolled down to create privacy for plotting hostile corporate takeovers.
"It's got so much whimsy," says Mr. Molloy of the house. "It's got a lot of style."
The best feature
Most of the rooms in the house provide views to the back garden and its 30-foot-long salt water swimming pool.
Privacy walls of hand-crafted stainless and powder-baked steel surround the property. Indiana Limestone slab walkways border the gardens and columnar oaks.
The pool is a draw for guests of all ages, says the owner, who often holds parties in the garden while coloured lights create a show on the pool's surface and on the water falling from a dramatic modern waterfall.
Jets create waves that allow the homeowner to practice his surfing.
"It's actually a very fun house to live in.," says the owner. The pool is a bit of a magnet."