16 VESTA DR., TORONTO
Asking price: $5,195,000
Lot size: 50-by-126 feet
Taxes: Not yet assessed
Listing agent: David Wagman, sales representative, managing partner, Forest Hill Real Estate
What exactly defines luxury? For Sina Sadedin, the builder of 16 Vesta Dr., original details are what make a home luxurious. Certainly, the best materials and a well-thought-out design can elevate a home from mundane to magnificent, but without custom touches, in Mr. Sadedin's opinion, a house can lack character.
Take for example, the wainscoting on the main floor of 16 Vesta. To balance out the 12-foot ceilings, Mr. Sadedin, who is trained in architecture but worked with architect Lorne Rose to design the Vesta home, made custom wall panels that were eight inches higher than the ones most builders buy, and each panel has a hand-drawn design.
"I always have a pen and paper in my hand when I'm standing in the house," he says. "When a design comes to mind, I sketch it down. It's the small details that make a big difference."
From the etched designs in archways to the ridges in the limestone exterior, this two-storey (plus a finished basement), 11-room home is full of these small details.
The back story
Vesta Drive is in the heart of Toronto's upscale Forest Hill neighbourhood. It's walking distance to the boutique shops and coffee houses on Spadina Road and close to some of the city's most prestigious private schools, such as the all-girls Bishop Strachan School.
But what really distinguishes Forest Hill from other areas in the city is its homes. Few of the original cottages that populated the area at the turn of the 20th century still exist. In their wake stand many stone or brick mansions. In 2010, when Mr. Sadedin started work on the property, 16 Vesta Dr. was a simple bungalow in bad shape. In the course of eight months, he and his team knocked it down and shored up the site – giving the new home a solid foundation – and built in its place a European-style luxury home.
"I really like Italian construction," Mr. Sadedin says. "So I am always looking at churches and older designs [for inspiration]."
To achieve this look, he spared no expense in his materials, importing many of them from Europe. There are several different kinds of marble in the house, including Calcutta, Carrera and Armani. Even in the basement, the floor is marble, heated underneath. And unlike typical homes, the marble features in 16 Vesta were built from larger slabs in order to preserve the natural pattern of the veins, creating a subtle but sophisticated design element.
The large kitchen island, for instance, is made from one large piece of Calcutta marble. Beside the sink, Mr. Sadedin carved out little horizontal grooves so that delicate, hand-washed dishware can dry on the island and the water can tickle back into the sink.
There is also a lot of unstained walnut in the house, including the floors in many rooms and some of the doors, like the massive front door, which was so heavy Mr. Sadedin needed eight men to carry it in and help with the installation. "So many designers and builders are just following each other. I don't want to do that," Mr. Sadedin says. "I wanted to design something different."
The home has many technological features. The security system and heating and cooling can be controlled by mobile phone. The owner can even view live-streaming video from the house's security cameras on their phone. It's a smart home in a practical sense as well: The basement includes a narrow room across from the garage that contains a dog shower, just like the ones you'd find in pet spas.
But the pet bathroom is nothing compared with the master bath. Covered in tiny mother of pearl tiles imported from France, the 11-by-19 foot ensuite bathroom has a freestanding tub, a double vanity, a chandelier, a closed-off water closet with a bidet and a towel warmer. The oversized shower stall is wired for sound, has body jets and a heated marble seat and can be transformed into a steam room that will pump out scented steam. Oh, and there's also a fireplace – one of six in the house. But Mr. Sadedin's favourite room is the wine cellar, with its mahogany walls and stone floor. It's big enough to store 200 bottles of the finest wine, he says. "It's got an old and traditional feel to it."