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Home of the Week, 128 Montgomery Ave., Toronto

128 MONTGOMERY AVE., TORONTO

ASKING PRICE: $1,465,00

TAXES: $4,000 (2013)

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LOT SIZE: 20 feet by 110 feet

LISTING AGENT: Ira Jelinek, Salesperson, Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

The houses in Toronto's Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood are a mixed batch. There are still many duplexes, a few two-storey standalones and even some new builds with pale stucco exteriors.

But Azad Mardukhi noticed that this part of the city didn't have many modern houses. He decided to change that with 128 Montgomery Ave.

"This neighbourhood is changing. The demographic is changing," Mr. Mardukhi said. "So I wanted to be a trendsetter – for lack of a better word – on my street in terms of architecture."

The back story

Mr. Mardukhi discovered 128 Montgomery Ave. back in the summer of 2011. There was a for sale sign on the lawn, but it already carried a sold sticker. That didn't stop Mr. Mardukhi from calling the agent, though he wanted to find out what the house sold for. Thanks to his curiosity, he discovered the deal had fallen through. He stepped in quickly to buy the house.

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Right from the get-go, Mr. Mardukhi knew that he was going to tear the old house down and build something new. The house wasn't in terrible shape, but it wasn't worth saving either. Mr. Mardukhi described it as having an extensive history of "patching over and not fixing" problems. For example, parts of the house had three layers of flooring, where owners had decided not to remove old materials before installing something new.

Those deficiencies might have been corrected, but that would not have changed a home, which Mr. Mardukhi believes was built in the 1940s, that was simply uninspiring. "There was no sense of design or architecture," he says.

So he went about tearing it down.

The demolition was a bit tricky because zoning bylaws required that one wall be retained. But the move saved them 1 1/2 feet of house width, an important consideration given that the lot is only 20 feet wide.

With the wall secured, Mr. Mardukhi and his team went about digging. They went quite deep because he wanted to create the largest possible home given the lot and zoning restrictions.

"As we built we went forward, backward, below and above in terms of size. We pushed it out in every direction," he says.

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The finished house now has an eight-foot ceiling in the basement, an open-concept main floor and three bedrooms on the second floor. And everything is new, from the joists to the plumbing. The floors are white oak, giving the house an ashen aesthetic. Large windows protrude from a two-toned sandstone stucco exterior.

With some floor-to-ceiling windows and a design focused on lines (Mr. Mardukhi boasts that there is nothing round in the house), 128 Montgomery is now very modern.

"I like modern living, functionality and comfort so these are all of the elements we incorporated in the house," Mr. Mardukhi says.

Favourite features

An example of Mr. Mardukhi's tribute to functionality is found in his favourite room of the house, the master bedroom. There is a whole wall of built-in storage space.

"In these smaller homes, there is a design challenge: How do we give people adequate closet space without a walk-in?" he says. "So that's why we went with the white lacquered cabinetry, which doesn't 'shrink' the room."

There are his-and-hers cabinets, so there is two of everything when it comes to storage space. The ensuite bathroom also has plenty of space for two with its double vanity.

For agent Ira Jelinek, though, the main floor stands out.

"The open-concept space really shows off the floating stairs and the big glass panels that go all the way up from the basement to top floor," he says "That to me makes the house really unique."

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