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Real Estate Home of the Week: Hockey reigns at former NHLer’s home in lovely Leaside farmhouse reno

Home of the Week, 33 Heather Rd., Leaside, Toronto. Owner Nick Kypreos is a former NHL player who builds a full-sized ice rink with boards in the backyard every winter.

The Listing

33 Heather Rd., Leaside, Toronto

Asking price:$3.495-million

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Taxes: $16,895.18 (2011)

Lot size: 80 by 150 feet

Agents: Charlene Kalia and Erin Ashby (Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.)

The Back Story

The house at 33 Heather Rd. was one of Leaside's original farmhouses. Of course, it wasn't called Leaside back in 1902 when this house was built for John Edmund Lea. But it wasn't long before the Town of Leaside was named after the family.

John Edmund's grandfather was John Lea, who emigrated in 1819 from Lancashire in England. The Lea family settled the area and John Edmund's father, William, built an octagonal house in 1850. That house was named Leaside.

In the early 1900s, Canadian Northern Railway purchased land from the Lea family and created Ontario's first planned community. The Town of Leaside was folded into East York in 1967 and became part of Greater Toronto in 1998.

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John Edmund never married, according to Jane Pitfield, who wrote the book Leaside.

The author adds that, when the Town of Leaside was designed, little consideration was given to this house, which was one of the original dwellings in the area.

"The new organization of streets left the house with its front door facing its backyard," writes Ms. Pitfield.

The House Today

The historic dwelling has become home to a very contemporary family.

Owner Nick Kypreos is a former player in the National Hockey League who builds a full-sized ice rink with boards in the backyard every winter.

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The property, which widens to 92 feet at the rear, has been the setting for many kids' parties and family get-togethers.

When Mr. Kypreos and his wife, Anne-Marie Kypreos, purchased the house in 2004, previous owners had expanded the original red brick farmhouse but maintained its traditional appearance.

Mr. Kypreos says the couple were drawn to the history and quiet beauty of the house.

"It was incredibly unique," he says. "It's kind of unassuming from the front."

The Kypreos' hired Kelly Lam to undertake a renovation which would provide even more room for the couple and their three children.

On the main level, they created a large foyer, a new front door facing the street, and a wrap-around porch.

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"It was really important to keep that feel as a farmhouse," says Mr. Kypreos. "All we did was try to enhance it."

The kitchen has been rebuilt with face-framed cabinetry, a large centre island and a casual dining area overlooking the family room.

The couple also extended the family room with a turret that juts into the backyard. Five large windows provide front-row views of the hockey games. The three Kypreos kids - two boys and a girl - all play hockey.

Mr. Kypreos, who hoisted the Stanley Cup as a player with the champion New York Rangers in 1994, finished his hockey career back in his hometown with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1995 to 1997.

Tie Domi and Bryan McCabe are two former Leaf teammates who have laced up in the backyard of 33 Heather Rd.

On other occasions, the Kypreos family has hosted "signing" parties to launch the hockey season for their children and their respective teams.

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"It's been fun," Mr. Kypreos says of the backyard rink that can accommodate games with his kids and his former cronies.

During the summer, the backyard is the setting for a wooden play structure with swings, slide and climbing bars. There's also a large vegetable garden.

"It's been good for the kids, bringing in something that we're going to have for dinner," says Mr. Kypreos.

Upstairs, the farmhouse's original four bedrooms have high ceilings and tall windows. There's a four-piece bathroom and laundry room on the second floor.

At the time of the renovation, the Kypreos' added a master suite above the family room at the rear of the house.

"This is where we got a little greedy," says Mr. Kypreos of the large master bedroom with a sitting area and heated river-rock floors. The ensuite spa bathroom has a soaker tub. The large walk-in steam shower has entry from two sides, a bench and a rainfall shower head.

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The Best Feature

The focus on hockey is continued on the lower level, where the basement has been dug out to create the high ceilings needed for a large recreation and home theatre room.

A bobcat moved the earth out and the enlarged space now includes two additional bedrooms, a four-piece bathroom and a laundry room.

In the media room, a large screen drops down from the ceiling.

"That's the first thing I envisioned when we looked at the house," says Mr. Kypreos, who is now a broadcaster and hockey analyst on the Sportsnet cable television network. "Besides the backyard, it was really important for me - because we were starting a young family - to have a good basement."

He bid at auction on a pair of red and a pair of gold seats from the former Maple Leaf Gardens. The seats are now on display alongside NHL memorabilia.

Mr. Kypreos says the recreation room has lots of space for table tennis and the home theatre system.

"It's really kind of fun getting the kids together and watching some movies."

Mr. Kypreos says the entire house has been designed to be very kid-friendly.

"You won't find any roped-off areas here."

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