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60 Dale Ave.

What: A chic yet cozy one-bedroom, two-bathroom Rosedale pied-à-terre occupying 1,500 square feet of space on a 22-by-100-foot lot.

Asking price: $1.749-million

Taxes: $8,911.09 (2009)

Agent: Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. (Peggy Molloy)





There's no knowledge of the original occupant.

But given the property's origins as a carriage stable built circa 1920, assume it was a horse.

Here he would have lived amid bales of hay, sheltered behind stone walls fitted with narrow windows opening onto tree-lined Dale Avenue in the heart of Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood.

Gone with the era of the buggy, the horse long ago bolted from the premises.





In his place is the present homeowner, Graham Watson, a Canadian businessman who, since purchasing the property in 2007, has had it reconfigured into one very stylish house.

Mr. Watson's reinsurance business keeps him on the road much of the time, living mostly in hotels, and he wanted a house to rival those five-star boutiques in terms of luxuries while also feeling homey and refreshing.





"I wanted a nice pied-à-terre in the city, something comfortable to come home to," he explained by phone from London, where he was waylaid last week because of the Icelandic volcano.

"It's not exactly a family home," added his companion Jo Workman, nudging in on the conference call. "It's more like a one-bedroom apartment, but one that's very individual in terms of style."





That's perhaps an understatement for a home that, while embracing the narrow dimensions of a former stable, has used those spatial limitations to create an interior that is nothing short of tour-de-force.

Andrew Fee, owner of Soma Studio, a multi-disciplinary design firm in Toronto, transformed the property into an oasis of contemporary living, taking his cue from the client.





"He wanted something that was contemporary in design, which is significant because most people who move into Rosedale usually want to keep the period of the house," Mr. Fee says. "And so this created a nice design direction for me because it allowed me to create something quite different with the space."

Each floor covers just 500 square feet, and to accommodate all that he wanted to do - and this included an upper-level master bedroom with a floating orb fireplace, an en suite with a sculpted freestanding soaker tub, and a lower-level kitchen/dining room that can, incredibly seat nine at table thanks to Mr. Fee's ergonomic design - he first moved a central staircase that a previous owner had planted smack-dab in the middle of the floor.





"It led up all three levels, but this also served to cut the space into small chunks that were hard to work with. So from a design perspective, it was important to move the staircase to make room for more space on each floor," Mr. Fee says.

He also removed all walls except two, and installed built-in cabinetry as well as space-saving furniture, most of which he designed himself, to create even more of an illusion of enlarged space.

He unified the interior by consistently using such natural materials as rift-cut white oak and split-face Owen Sound stone on all three levels.







Among the home's striking features are handrails designed to fit the new floating staircase. They are hand-wrapped with natural tan saddle leather.

Mr. Fee says he got the wraparound idea from looking at old tennis rackets. "I loved how they used to wrap the handles and so I asked a friend of mine to do it for me."

That friend was Kai Kruger, a master saddle maker.

The horse has come home.

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