The listing: 83 Bin-Scarth Rd., Toronto
Asking Price: $7,495,000
Taxes: $27,151.32 (2019)
Lot Size: 36-by-437 feet
Agents: James Warren, Christopher Killam, Gary Goba (Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.)
The back story
In 2005, the ravine property at 83 Bin-Scarth Rd. in Rosedale had fallen into disrepair after years of use as a rooming house.
The circa-1912 house had a traditional gambrel roof and a charming turret, but the red brick exterior was coated in grime and paint was peeling from the old-fashioned porch and wooden soffits.
From the end of the Second World War through the energy crisis of the 1970s, many of Rosedale’s stately mansions and century homes were divided into apartments and rooming houses, explains James Warren, real estate agent with Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.
The Toronto-based design firm Studio Pyramid spent more than a year returning the dilapidated building to a single-family dwelling, with a thorough renovation inside and out.
The newly remodelled home was on the market when Richard and Rana Florida made the decision to move from Washington to Toronto in August, 2007.
At the time, Prof. Florida had just accepted a post at the University of Toronto, where he joined the Rotman School of Management.
Looking back, Ms. Florida recalls the couple trying to decide whether to settle in Rosedale or the Beaches neighbourhood on Lake Ontario. They opted for the quiet enclave of Rosedale when they found the house set in a cul-de-sac at the end of Bin-Scarth, she says.
The couple liked the original plaster mouldings in the century home and the fact that it is filled with light, Ms. Florida says. For the professor and urban theorist, the location means he doesn’t have far to travel to U of T’s main campus.
Friends who visit from New York’s Upper East Side and Connecticut are amazed that Toronto has neighbourhoods with so much land in the centre of the city, Ms. Florida says.
“All of our friends who come to visit think it’s one of the most gorgeous neighbourhoods in North America,” she says. “The trees alone make it so magnificent.”
The house today
Today, the house has six bedrooms and five bathrooms in approximately 3,761 square feet of above-ground living space.
Studio Pyramid turned a maze of units into a more open and modern home with 10-foot-high ceilings and elongated windows.
The main floor has a formal living room with a wood-burning fireplace and French doors that open to the exterior, where a terrace with wrought iron railings replaces the original front veranda.
There’s a formal dining room at the centre of the home and a kitchen with built-in appliances and a marble counter top.
The combined breakfast room and family room have lots of built-in cabinets and a wall of windows overlooking the garden.
“You can see it’s a really happy family home because there are lots of places to sit and enjoy,” Mr. Warren says.
The newly renovated house didn’t need more than a few tweaks after the couple moved in, Ms. Florida says.
They upgraded light fixtures throughout the house and installed communications wiring that allows the sound system to be controlled from a smartphone.
Many of the closets have been remodelled. The couple had a new hardwood floor installed on the first level and added the thick marble countertop in the kitchen, she says.
The couple also did some redecorating when, several years after they settled into life in Canada, their daughter Mila was born. A year later, baby Valentina came along.
On the second floor, the girls’ bedroom has French doors opening to a Juliet balcony. Another room at the front of the house is currently used as a play and dressing room for the children but could be turned into another bedroom, Mr. Warren says.
The master suite at the rear is cantilevered over the backyard. A large bedroom has doors opening to a deck overlooking the garden. There’s a sitting area with a gas fireplace and built-in shelves.
The ensuite bathroom has a free-standing oval tub and a walk-in marble shower.
Upstairs, the third floor provides three more bedrooms and a bathroom but the Floridas mainly use that level for writing and other academic pursuits.
Today, Ms. Florida runs the couple’s Creative Class Group consulting company from her third-floor office.
The two have each authored several books in their third-floor studios: Prof. Florida revisited his 2002 bestseller The Rise of the Creative Class and wrote The New Urban Crisis.
Ms. Florida wrote her 2013 tome Upgrade, while the house provided the backdrop for many of the couple’s intimate dinners and elaborate fêtes, which were photographed for her book Creative Entertaining.
Outside, the sheltered porch at the rear provides shade in the summer months while heaters make it cozy heading into fall.
The former garage was falling down so Studio Pyramid winterized the structure and turned into a pool cabana with a stone floor. French doors open to the garden.
The red brick driveway that once led to the garage is now a sheltered spot for alfresco dining. Up to 12 guests can sit at the large outdoor table, Ms. Florida says.
The best feature
The couple hired Mark Hartley Landscape Architects to transform the backyard with the addition of a swimming pool, surrounded by a terrace and gardens.
The saltwater pool and spa sit right atop a leafy slope that descends from the pool’s edge to the valley floor below.
Pools on the ravine are hard to come by, Mr. Warren says, because they have to be constructed in line with conservation rules designed to protect the natural setting.
Today, rows of 50-foot European Beech trees stand in the garden, which has been the setting for many parties, Ms. Florida says.
Ms. Florida says she and her daughters take regular afternoon swims in the summer.
“Every day, we’re in there after naps.”
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