469 EUCLID AVE., TORONTO
Asking price: $1,725,000
Taxes: $5,748 (2013)
Lot size: 20.5 feet by 127 feet
Listing agent: Michael Wacholtz, Freeman Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
About three years ago, Bill Crilly and two friends decided they wanted to rescue some of Toronto's tired and dated homes, so they started 3 Stones Custom Homes.
Their most recent project is 469 Euclid Ave., which was previously a segmented rental property that had been very lived in, to say the least. But despite its worn-down state, Mr. Crilly saw the potential of the 100-plus-year-old home.
"The moment I walked through the door – I didn't even have to get to the second or third floor – I knew this was a good opportunity for us," he said.
The back story
The house certainly needed a "full redo," said Mr. Crilly, the president of the company. And for some builders, it might have been too far gone. But Mr. Crilly and his team saw its potential in terms of the bones of the house, and couldn't have been happier with its location, just a short walk to lively College Street.
Over its years, though, the house had seen a hodge-podge of quick fixes and wear and tear.
"There were various tiles and ceramics throughout the house," he said. "And all of the fixtures, cabinetry and cupboards were well past their prime."
So, the first part of the process was reworking the layout. They had to turn a lot of little rooms into large, open, airy spaces. The result, which is especially evident on the main floor, is a maximization of space in the narrow house.
"I really love the flow of the main floor," said sales representative Michael Wacholtz.
To do this, Mr. Crilly and his crews had to get the house right down to its joists, where they found that over time these supporting structures had been cut back very far and they had to be repaired.
That wasn't the only surprise they found during the demolition. When they were pulling down walls, the crews also found Scientific American magazines and newspapers from the 1930s.
As they peeled back the layers of the house, they saw just how abused the place was.
"In some places it looked like someone had taken a pile of scrap wood and used that material to build little supporting studs," Mr. Crilly said.
So the renovation became more of a reclamation process. The team was not only beautifying the old great dame, but also healing her.
In terms of an aesthetic, they went with very clean and modern lines, which extend to the exterior. The goal was to give the home an aesthetic refresh and bathe the semi-detached house in light.
"We really wanted the light to cascade in," Mr. Crilly said.
Nowhere is this most evident than on the third floor, which is where the master suite is located. It balances solitude with openness. To ensure that it is a proper suite, there is an actual door, meaning mom and dad can have some privacy from their kids, without fear that sounds will reverberate down the staircase.
But instead of having a solid wall around the stairs, they built glass walls to maximize the light coming in from a north window in the staircase. A skylight also brings in sun through the ceiling.
The bedroom area segues into the first part of the walk-in closet. The small, second part is an offshoot of the spacious washroom, which has a soaker tub placed in front of a westward window, too high for people to see into but a perfect vantage point to enjoy the tops of the trees that line Euclid Avenue.
Another area of the house that saw major changes is the basement. Mr. Crilly and his team installed a sizeable bedroom with an ensuite bathroom at one end, a second three-piece washroom at the east and a large open space with bamboo flooring in the middle.
Mr. Crilly and his team also made the conscious decision to wire the basement so that it could easily become a separate apartment or a fully-loaded nanny suite.
"We kept things flexible downstairs," he said. "If the new owners want to make it an income property, an Ikea kitchen can easily be popped in there for a few thousand dollars."
For both Mr. Crilly and Mr. Wacholtz, the third floor is one of their favourite spots.
"The third floor is sumptuous," Mr. Wacholtz said. "It's really a great retreat."
One of its standout features is the cedar deck that looks out over of the back of the house. In the summer, you're surrounded by trees and rooftops, making it feel like you're in a midtown residential area. In the winter you can appreciate how close to the downtown core Euclid Avenue is. As the leaves fall they reveal a magnificent view of the concrete jungle.
"Yes, it is urban down here, but it doesn't have to be gritty," Mr. Wacholtz said.
The location near Little Italy was another reason why Mr. Crilly loves the house. It's steps away from some of the most celebrated restaurants in the city, is close to many downtown parks, including Trinity Bellwoods, and is a quick commute to either Bay Street or the University of Toronto.
"We believe that this is a home that people will be able to really see themselves living in," Mr. Crilly said.