7 ASHLEY PARK RD., TORONTO
Asking price: $3,998,000
Lot size: 60.33-by-236 feet
Taxes: $10,489.00 (2013)
Agent: Ana Santos, sales representative, Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
Rose Barroso, owner of Barroso Homes, has been building custom luxury homes for the past eight years but prior to that, her working life was more in the air than in the dirt. Ms. Barroso was a flight attendant, but that all changed after her husband – who is also in the construction industry – encouraged her to take her part-time passion of building homes and turn it into a full-time career.
The back story
"Seven Ashley Park did not begin as a home that I was building for myself," says Ms. Barroso. But somehow, it turned into one.
When Ms. Barroso purchased the one-and-a-half storey bungalow that used to occupy the lot in 2010, her goal was to remove the old structure and build a modern family home. But as she designed the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom house, it became not just any family home but one that fit her family perfectly.
"When I was designing it, I thought about where my children would sit when they came home from school and we wanted to chat," she says.
The answer? The extra-large kitchen island on the main floor. It is the hub of that level, which includes the family room, dining room and living room, as well as a guest room with an en suite bathroom and walk-in closets.
"I wanted everything [on that floor] to be in common," she says. "I want the children to be watching TV, and I want to be in the kitchen and still be able to see what they are watching."
The open-space concept flows down into the lower level as well, where you'll find a rec room, wet bar, another fully equipped bathroom, a gym room, plenty of storage and a spa bathroom, complete with a sauna.
The upper floor is a little more closed off to afford some privacy. It consists of three bedrooms, all with their own three-piece bathrooms, and a massive master suite that has not only its own foyer and a dressing room but also a private balcony. And that's to say nothing of the outdoor space. In the backyard, there is a deck, playscape and pool, as well as snow-melting mechanisms for steps, the back patio and the driveway. The attached garage has enough height to accommodate a car lift, says Ms. Barroso.
To build this 7,200-square-foot house, Ms. Barroso worked with architect Ali Malek-Zadeh of Urbanscape Group. She credits Mr. Malek-Zadeh with introducing her to contemporary design, admitting that at first she was hesitant for fear that the home would lack warmth. She says the result has been just the opposite.
"I think it's the layout. It's very comfortable, very family-oriented," she says. "Plus, not everything in the house is white. Yes, there is a lot of white but there are punches of grey and red."
For Harvey Kalles agent Ana Santos, it's the grey, seven-and-a-half-inch oak floor planks that give the house its homey feel.
"It's very natural and it will wear really well," says Ms. Santos.
But for Ms. Santos, this home is not only a fantastic place for a family to put down roots, it's also great location for hosting parties.
"I see a family who enjoys entertaining [buying this home]," she says. "The home is laid out and set up to be ideal for entertaining, inside and out" – especially if you're holding a party down in the lower level's rec room with its adjoining wet bar. And the back wall of the bar is actually fully-displayed wine cellar that Ms. Barroso built out of tempered glass that is treated to control temperature and prevent light from affecting the 900-plus bottles that can be stored inside.
For Ms. Santos, however, one of the most impressive features in the home is its technology. The house uses a Control4 app to control everything from blinds to heating to security and even electronics.
"Ms. Barroso has the TVs set up in her kids' rooms instead of having alarm clocks for them," says Ms. Santos. "At 7 a.m., the TV turns on to their favourite cartoon channel. And at 7:20 a.m. it turns off, so they know that when it goes off they better be ready and coming downstairs for breakfast."
But beyond being a convenient wake-up call, Ms. Santos says the system really gives the homeowner complete peace of mind.
For Ms. Barroso, her favourite room is the master bedroom, with its custom, white leather bed frame.
"I remember sitting in that spot with my legs crossed [while the house was under construction] and envisioning how I wanted the bed to be positioned, how I wanted to feel when laying down in the bed," she said.
When designing the room, Ms. Barroso really strived to give the room a bed that fit its size and captured the outdoor beauty, visible through a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows.
"In the summer, it's as if you're lying in the middle of a forest," she said. "But it's comfortable. You just don't want to leave."
A big reason why Ms. Barroso loves the room is because it's so simple. Despite its size, she doesn't consider the suite to be indulgent. It just uses the space to create a quiet sanctuary.
"That master suite is a little bit of heaven."