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Holt Renfrew creativity at home Add to ...

257 Euclid Ave. No. 2

What: The Little Italy townhouse of John Gerhardt, the influential creative director of Holt Renfrew. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling offers approximately 1,800 square feet of above-ground living space on two loft-style floors.

Asking price: $769,900

Taxes: $4,880 (2009)

Agent: Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. (Brian Elder)

In John Gerhardt’s life, an overseas flight to a photo shoot or a visit to a European designer’s studio is just a regular day at work. His partner, information technology consultant Boris Masip, also jets away on business frequently.

So when the partners land at home, they each want to return to an inviting and rejuvenating place.

Mr. Gerhardt says the unit on Euclid first attracted them because it provides a haven that doesn’t ask for much in the way of upkeep. For Mr. Gerhardt, who once lived in New York, the building immediately brought to mind the converted lofts of the meat-packing district, which offer chic spaces behind the front door and a vibrant neighbourhood immediately outside it.

The condominium townhouse is one unit of five in a boutique building, which has served various uses over the years, including the gathering place of a religious group for a period.

The building was overhauled about six years ago to create an urban residence for people who would rather stroll up the block to the sidewalk cafés of College Street or down a few houses to the bars and restaurants of Dundas Street than stay at home to tend the yard.

On Euclid, the white cube stands apart from the attached row houses and workers’ cottages. When people pass by, they often stand and stare.

“We knew it was really unique when we saw it,” Mr. Gerhardt says. “Within the context of the neighbourhood, it really stands out.”

The unit has a small terrace on the second level and a low-maintenance square of greenery and pea gravel in front. The covered parking is in the rear.

“Neither of us is gardeners so it worked in our favour,” says Mr. Gerhardt of the absence of flowerbeds and lawn.

He says the unit suits people who like to entertain at home, as he and Mr. Masip do. He enjoys having one large main-floor area for cooking, relaxing and dining. The kitchen has a large island topped with stainless steel.

“The space is so open and so conducive to our lifestyle,” Mr. Gerhardt says.

The creative director crafts the image of Holt Renfrew in its stores, window installations and books of spring and fall fashion.

This spring, Mr. Gerhardt placed the nude palette favoured by such designers as Donna Karan, Alexander Wang and Paul Smith into Holt’s windows across Canada.

At home, he likes the high ceilings and the expanses of wall that provide a backdrop for the collection of modernist paintings and photographs that he and Mr. Masip have assembled.

“I think anything small would get lost.”

Upstairs, the house has a large master bedroom with a wall of windows overlooking Euclid and a partial wall just tall enough to offer seclusion.

“It’s perfect positioning for the bed,” says agent Brian Elder of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The large master bathroom has a walk-in shower and two vanities. The den has a gas fireplace and a walk-out to the terrace.

Mr. Elder points out that residents have access to streetcar lines whether they head to the north or south.

Mr. Gerhardt enjoys the location between the established cafés of Little Italy and the emerging and alternative haunts on Dundas.

“Dundas is just opening up like crazy,” he says. “It’s probably the most exciting street in Toronto right now.”

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