94 VIA ITALIA, TORONTO
Asking price: $619,000
Lot size: 25 by 50 feet
Agent: Christine Cowern, Keller Williams Referred Urban Realty
The back story
Six years ago, Heather Findlay and Gabriele Guiducci decided to leave their King and Bathurst condo and find a house in which to start a family. Since Mr. Guiducci, 39, is an architectural technologist, the couple was willing to consider fixer-uppers. When they found this newly renovated, three-bedroom house just south of St. Clair West, they considered themselves as having lucked out.
The granite countertops and Jacuzzi tub were already here, so the upgrades that Mr. Guiducci and Ms. Findlay have done since have really increased the home’s livability. “We put storage in every room of this house,” says Ms. Findlay – the bit that gets Mr. Guiducci most excited is a methodically organized, double-wide closet in the master bedroom, with whisper-quiet doors he quickly points out are European-made. On the main floor, the couple knocked down the wall between the living room and kitchen to create more open space, then added pot lights in the ceilings and custom built-in storage shelving along one wall for their television, electronics, and favourite knick-knacks.
Using a federal home energy grant, they also added eco-friendly touches such as extra insulation and a smart Nest thermostat, as well as new doors, air conditioning and a brand-new roof. They also painted every room, choosing colours with the help of one of Mr. Guiducci’s colleagues, the interior designer Lisa Boyer.
“Gabriele kind of pushes me to embrace colour – it’s the Italian thing,” says Ms. Findlay, pointing out the bright orange doors on the cupboards in their living room.
When his mother visited from Rome, she hand-made curtains for every room.
Their reason for leaving isn’t surprising: Since moving here, they’ve become parents and space is at a premium. They have a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter, and both adults do much of their work at home. Ms. Findlay’s “office” is a tiny desk beside the television set, while Mr. Guiducci has commandeered the finished basement (which has a separate entrance and washroom, as well as two big storage spaces that could easily become a kitchenette – with a little work, a new owner could have a rentable basement apartment).
The yard, especially, is a bit small for two energetic kids, although it does have its charms: Because the house is surrounded by other homes, rather than highrise towers, there are clear sightlines in every direction. Morning light streams in through the east-facing front window, while dinnertimes are lit by the setting sun. “We’ve been super-happy here,” Ms. Findlay says. “But we’d love to tackle the next project.”
The best features
As far as this family is concerned, the biggest draw is Corso Italia itself. It’s a walkable neighbourhood with lots of established mom-and-pop shops along St. Clair, including an Italian bakery, where “the man with the white beard sneaks the kids a little piece of chocolate,” Guiducci says. A French immersion school is within walking distance, and the arrival of a Shoppers Drug Mart on St. Clair is seen as a welcome addition to a mature area that’s being modernized by a new influx of life. The couple’s list of enjoyable amenities is endless. They rave about their old daycare, Acorns (which Ms. Findlay says doesn’t have a “crazy waiting list”), and the neighbours who ply them with home-grown produce.
Directly across from the house are the big, green lawns of Loretto College School. For the past few summers, the family has helped to organize Dolce Vita, a neighbourhood tomato-sauce making party that’s grown into a movie and music festival on the school field attended by all of the new and old denizens of the area.
Mr. Guiducci and other local parents are also currently negotiating with the Toronto District Catholic School Board to fundraise for a new playground on the site. Calling the park “an extension of our life,” he vows to bring their kids to play on the new equipment when it finally shows up.
“It’s kind of hard leaving,” Mr. Guiducci says. “We put a lot of love into it, that’s for sure.”