153 ADMIRAL RD., TORONTO
ASKING PRICE: $1,929,000
LOT SIZE: 32.29 ft. by 103.6 ft.
TAXES: $10,491.05 (2013)
AGENT: Susan Wainstock, Salesperson, Sage Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
153 Admiral is a bit of a trompe d’oeil. Sitting on a curve at the north end of this prestigious Annex street, many mistake the Edwardian giant for a detached home.
But it’s in fact a semi, although its adjoining other half is quite recessed from the street, hence creating an optical illusion that the two are severed.
About 10 years ago, Trish Del Sorbo was also tricked by this when she first came across the house. She and her husband were only looking at detached houses at the time because they were a young couple with a baby on the way.
“I saw the listing and couldn’t figure out why we hadn’t seen it yet – thinking it was a detached,” said Ms. Del Sorbo. “When I was walking up I realized it was a semi so we weren’t even going to go in, but I thought ‘Well, we’re here, let’s just go in.’”
“And then we immediately fell in love with the character of the house.”
The back story
The first thing that really caught Ms. Del Sorbo’s eye was the country kitchen that has a decidedly French flar, as well as a Viking stove and a Fisher & Paykel fridge.
“The kitchen is such a highlight,” she said. “You just don’t see a farmer’s kitchen very often, with its open shelves and antique cabinets.”
The previous owners had painted one of the walls with chalkboard paint, making the space not just a place for eating and entertaining but one for organizing.
The previous owners also did a lot of restoration work to the home, including repairing the Edwardian crown moulding, said agent Susan Wainstock.
A few features of the century-old home didn’t need to be repaired, including the ivory tiling with raised gold painted details around the wood fireplace in the front sitting room and some crosshatched windows in the formal dining room, which is also on the first floor.
Upper floors of the house are loosely divided into adult space and kids’ space. The second floor is home to the master suite, which Ms. Del Sorbo really transformed during her time at 153 Admiral.
Originally, that floor had two small bedrooms on its east side, one of which had a sunroom off its back end that looked over the backyard. Ms. Del Sorbo decided to merge the two rooms, making the smaller one a spacious walk-in closet, complete wall-to-wall built-in storage and a marble-topped island in its centre. The sunroom was transformed in a modern master bath, with a custom concrete double vanity and matching shower bench under a large rain shower head.
“You walk into [the master suite] and you’re excited by the space,” she said. “And you walk out, you feel good, you’re relaxed.”
The other room on the second floor is currently used as a family room, which features a small balcony that overlooks the quiet one-way street.
The kids’ floor also saw a lot of change under Ms. Del Sorbo’s watch.
“The third floor was an art studio before we moved in,” she said. “It was just a lot of empty, hollow space. One of the rooms up there even had a toilet in it.”
So she took out the old toilet and made two bedrooms, sized appropriately for little kids. But the bulk of the upper floor is still quite open – and features the original, well-worn floors – and gives the kids plenty of space to play.
“We were really trying to make that space kid-friendly,” she said.
The last major change Ms. Del Sorbo made was to the basement, which she described as a “cement pit.” And when all of the renovations were done, the basement featured a home gym area, a guest bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and a wine cellar that can hold approximately 1,200 bottles.
For Ms. Del Sorbo, there’s no denying her favourite space is her extra-large dressing room. And Ms. Wainstock understands.
“Who wouldn’t want a dressing room like that,” she said.
But another area of the house that is equally unique is the outdoor space, which, Ms. Del Sorbo said, has hosted a good number of parties since she had it landscaped.
The backyard is segmented into three spaces: a lounging area with a built-in semi-circle couch, a kids’ playground complete with a slide, and an outdoor kitchen that features a barbecue and a marble-topped bar with stools.
“The style of this house is a little eclectic, but it keeps the integrity of the house,” Ms. Del Sorbo said. “We wanted to keep it nice but not cookie-cutter.”
Ms. Wainstock agrees.
“A lot of homes in the Annex have been renovated generically, but this one hasn’t,” she said. “These owners have appreciated the history; they have kept its charm.”
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