11 KINGSWAY CRES., TORONTO
Asking price: $5.25-million
Lot size: 100- by 320-feet
Agents: Robert Pettigrew and Clare Estlick (ReMax Professionals Inc.)
The Back Story
The white Cape Cod-style house at 11 Kingsway Cres. stands in contrast to the older stone English manor next door, but while the two houses differ in appearance, they do share a history.
In 1929, the area on the west side of the Humber River was being developed as Kingsway Park by builder Robert Home Smith. Like others in the neighbourhood, the house at 11 Kingsway Cres. is half-timbered and full of the Arts-and-Crafts details favoured in England.
In 1951, that sprawling property was divided, as were others along the winding Kingsway Crescent. The house at No. 11 was built by an architect for his own family, says current owner Susan Watt.
"These parcels of land were actually the side gardens to the big estates," says Ms. Watt.
Ms. Watt notes that several Cape Cod-style houses were built in the area mid-century. Today, some of those have been subsumed by a new wave of building, as builders replace the neighbourhood's traditional houses with larger ones.
The House Today
Ms. Watt and her husband, Ken Manget, brought in architect Peter Higgins to expand the original house for their family of six.
"I'd always wanted a 16-foot Christmas tree," says Ms. Watt. "The very first thing I told him when we sat down to talk was, 'we need a place for a 16-foot Christmas tree.'"
She points to one end of the family room, where a curved alcove has tall windows and a few feet of extra height to the ceiling. That's where the elongated tree stands each Christmas.
"Every single year."
The sunken family room has a vaulted ceiling. Adjoining the family room is a large kitchen with two refrigerators, two built-in dishwashers and a gas-fired range. There's also a mudroom and a breezeway to the garage. A Dutch door lets the family keep the top half open to let the fresh air flow through in good weather.
The formal dining room, living room and library are in the original part of the house on the main level.
The house has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
The master suite on the main level has views over the ravine and an ensuite bathroom.
On the second floor, the four children each have their own bedroom. Two of the bedrooms share a semi-ensuite bathroom.
The main bathroom has an air-jet tub and a separate glassed-in shower enclosure.
Above the addition, Mr. Higgins created a playroom for the children.
The house, which was once included on the Canadian Cancer Society's fundraising Christmas house tour, has also served as the setting for many TV commercials and films.
The house was also the fictional home of the Hardy Boys in a TV series centred on the young detectives. A movie version of Ken Follett's novel The Third Twin also used the home as a backdrop.
Since sometimes scenes were shot in a studio, the house had to be recreated as an elaborate set.
"It was so weird to go into the studio and see our house - right down to the door knobs," says Ms. Watt.
The Best Feature
The property's position on a ridge above the Humber River means that the backyard provides views over the treetops.
Ms. Watt says the house has more table land at the rear than any other along that stretch.
That expanse of flat land allowed them to build an in-ground, salt water swimming pool. A large terrace provides a spot where the family and guests can dine under a white canopy.
"All of our entertaining from June to September is outside," says Ms. Watt.
Many, many children's birthday parties have taken over the backyard, she adds.
"We've raised four kids here and it's been great for us."