The listing: 643 Carlaw Ave.
Asking price: $4,295,000
Taxes: Not yet assessed
Lot size: 26.5 feet by 107 feet
Agents: Adam Brind (Core Assets Real Estate)
When Darko and Sladjna Radjevic purchased a stalwart red-brick house in the Toronto neighbourhood of Riverdale, they knew they wanted to do a major revamp. The circa 1912 home across from Withrow Park had a traditional front porch and the smaller windows typical of the era.
“The house was facing the park but not really open to the park,” Mr. Radjevic said.
The couple decided to rebuild the house with a more contemporary style and an industrial aesthetic reminiscent of a New York brownstone. They added on at the rear to create a house with about 3,000 square feet of living space.
The house today
Guests and residents arrive to stairs that lead from street level to a front entrance below grade.
Mr. Radjevic says that design allowed him to expand the home’s living space by opening up the lower level with a doorway and floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and rear.
Inside, the entryway is spare and modern, with polished concrete floors and wall-hanging closets that hide away all of the coats, boots, and paraphernalia that a couple with two young daughters collects.
A boulder that was uncovered during excavation protrudes from the concrete floor.
Mr. Radjevic says he decided to keep it as a conversation piece and a reminder of the region’s geology.
In one corner, an indoor garden includes a 12-foot-high ficus tree that extends up into the living area above.
The idea was to bring the outside in, Mr. Radjevic says.
“There’s always green space wherever you look,” he said.
The home’s original side walls remain, but the front and rear façades were removed to bring in more light. Mr. Radjevic took the brick from those walls and had it cut to create a brick veneer that he applied to the interior walls in the foyer and other rooms throughout the house.
For the exterior, Mr. Radjevic ordered new brick so that the house would retain some of its original appearance.
“One of the ideas was to fit it inside the streetscape so it’s not standing out for the wrong reasons.”
The lower level also has a bar area, a bathroom and an infrared sauna.
The recreation room at the rear is an addition created by digging out and extending the existing basement. It has a custom-made white oak table the couple plans to leave with the house. Wooden stools and a heavy oak bench provide seating for eight.
The room gets plenty of light from floor-to-ceiling windows with a door to a secluded courtyard. Stairs lead up to the backyard.
An elevator rises from the lower level to each of the three floors above.
“These urban houses, they have to go up,” Mr. Radjevic said of the verticality. “The elevator is a little bit of luxury.”
The home’s second level provides the family’s main living space. At the rear, a large, open kitchen and family room overlooks the backyard. A door leads to a wooden deck outside.
Wooden window frames are painted black to resemble the steel-framed windows in the lofts of Tribeca and other industrial areas of New York.
Mr. Radjevic says the palette of white-painted brick and black marble is muted by design.
“The backyard is the colour.”
The kitchen’s minimalist black-and-white cabinetry hides all of the appliances and a prep area behind sleek doors. A hidden compartment holds the Instant Pot and other countertop appliances.
Mr. Radjevic says the kitchen is a multifunctional space that allows two people to be cooking at the same time. A dining table for six is an extension of the kitchen island.
Mr. Radjevic points out that the kitchen’s design makes it easy to quickly close off any mess from cooking so that dinner can be enjoyed in an uncluttered space.
The lounging area has a TV cabinet and a built-in frameless corner fireplace.
At the front of the house, the living room has large windows facing the park. A door opens to a Juliet balcony. There’s also a gas fireplace built into the wall.
Upstairs, the house has three bedrooms and a bathrooms with a large window shaded for privacy. A revolving medicine cabinet hides toiletries away.
One of the bedrooms is currently used as an office with a door leading to a 240-square-foot terrace partly enclosed by brick walls and a black iron railing. There’s a dining area and a sitting area overlooking the park.
“You have these different outdoor spaces that you use at different times of day,” Mr. Radjevic said.
Mr. Radjevic says hilly Withrow Park is a popular community gathering place, with a playground, tennis courts and a skating rink in winter. There are two baseballs diamonds and a dog off-leash area.
“This is a very kid-friendly neighbourhood,” he said.
The best feature
The top-floor master suite offers 600 square feet of seclusion, plus 160 square feet of outdoor space on a private terrace.
The sleeping area overlooking the terrace provides a view of the treetops and the city skyline beyond.
A walk-through closet separates the sleeping area from the bathing area at the rear. There’s a small kitchenette for making coffee in the morning or cocktails in the evening.
Mr. Radjevic points out that the counter and double sinks are carved from a single piece of stone.
The outdoor terrace is a secluded place to relax.
“It’s superprivate,” he said. “You’re in the trees.”