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Toronto Real Estate Home of the Week: Terrace penthouse has more space outside than in

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

The listing: 1 Rainsford Rd., PH2

Asking Price: $3,789,000

Taxes: $15,144.10 (2018)

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Monthly maintenance fee: $1,818.95

Agent: Marianne Miles (Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.)

The backstory

The owners were able to tailor the layout to their specifications.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

Five years ago, Suzanne and Stephen Miles were living in a large townhouse in north Toronto when they went to look at an unfinished penthouse atop a new condominium building in the city’s Beaches neighbourhood.

The sixth-floor unit had a view of Lake Ontario to the south on one side and a view of green treetops in the residential neighbourhood to the north on the other.

The 3,458 square feet of outdoor space on three terraces surpasses the 3,405 square feet of interior space.

The couple also liked the intimacy of the boutique building, which has only 28 units. The location at Queen Street East and Woodbine Avenue would position them close to the beach and its popular boardwalk. Their daughter and granddaughters lived a few steps away.

The unit was the last one in the building to be finished, but the raw space allowed the couple to envision an open and contemporary home that they could tailor exactly to their needs.

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“This literally was an empty box,” Mr. Miles says. “They had started to put some of the walls up.”

With 9-foot, 8-inch ceilings and a total of nine walk-outs to the outdoor terraces, the unit had a feeling of space and light. And it wasn’t too late to change the layout.

As empty-nesters, the Mileses didn’t need the five bedrooms of their previous home, but they still wanted plenty of space in which to entertain and host family dinners with their kids and grandkids.

The unit today

The Mileses installed walnut flooring throughout.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

The Mileses spent eight months working with the developer and designer Jenifer Glover of JG Interiors to come up with a floor plan and palette of materials that suited the space and their lifestyle.

“We spent a lot of time getting the place the way we wanted it,” Mr. Miles says.

The couple had lived in the traditional neighbourhood of Lawrence Park for many years, before moving to Valleyanna Drive and then the townhouse near Yonge Street and York Mills Road. Some condos they looked at didn’t have the quality of materials they wanted.

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“The finishes in the condos tend to be a little scrappy compared with what we’re used to.”

Moving one bedroom allowed for a large combined kitchen and living space.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

In reconfiguring the layout, the Mileses moved one bedroom in order to enlarge the combined kitchen and living space and provide a wall of windows with views toward the lake.

The unit today has a large central living space with an open kitchen, living area, dining area and lounge.

There’s a bar area with built-in wine refrigerators and plenty of space for an extended dining table.

In the kitchen, the couple had a large island installed and topped with Quartzite.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

The kitchen island is topped with Quartzite, a material that is harder than marble.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

The couple has tried a few different types of marble in previous kitchens and they found the surface wasn’t durable enough for them. Quartzite, a non-foliated metamorphic rock, is harder and more impervious to stains, Mr. Miles says.

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He spent a lot of time looking for stone with appealing colours, then based much of the palette in the rest of the unit around it.

“It’s an unusual look and it fits together with everything else that’s here,” he says. “It’s really the cornerstone of everything.”

In warm weather, the couple likes to slide open all of the doors in the main living area to the north and south breezes. The outdoor terrace is also a favourite spot for dining, with water to the south and the city skyline to the east.

The south terrace faces out to Lake Ontario, with views east to the downtown skyline.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

A hallway leads to the guest bedroom, which has an en suite bathroom and doors leading to the north terrace.

A private home office could also be converted to a third bedroom, Mr. Miles says.

The couple chose walnut floors and millwork throughout the unit. Ms. Miles already had many pieces of mid-century modern furniture from her parents and the walnut worked well with the teak and other woods in the collection.

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“It all came full circle,” she says of the vintage 20th century furniture.

The walnut millwork fit nicely with the couple's collection of mid-century modern furniture.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

Mr. Miles, who favours stone, wood and other natural materials, says much of the palette was chosen to work with the quartzite countertops and backsplash in the kitchen. It also suits the surrounding vistas, he adds.

“A lot of the colour selection is in keeping with everything outside, like the lake and the trees.”

Double doors lead to the master suite, which the Mileses created to be a tranquil haven removed from the main living area.

The bedroom has doors leading to the south-facing terrace and his-and-hers walk-in closets. The en suite bathroom has a standalone tub, a frameless glass shower with a bench, and a fireplace with a travertine surround. There’s a nearly 10-foot-long walnut vanity and a heated marble floor. Doors lead to the north terrace.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

The ensuite bathroom has a standalone tub and frameless glass shower.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

An open staircase leads to the second floor, where a family room has walls of windows and doors leading to the expansive rooftop terrace with a living green roof.

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Ms. Miles says she quickly co-opted the second-floor space as an art studio because of the light flowing in from three sides.

An open staircase leads to the second-floor space, which has light coming in from three sides.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

“That’s where I like to paint because all of the light up there is fabulous,” she says.

Outside, there are gas lines for a barbecue and built-in speakers.

The couple says they were uncertain about moving to the Beaches after living for so many years in the north end. But Ms. Miles says she much prefers the lifestyle near the lake.

Ms. Miles had always had an interest in art and found that moving to a community filled with artists inspired her own creativity. She took classes in painting and yoga and joined a walking group.

“I’ve become great friends with all of the artists,” she says.

She enjoys walking to shops and restaurants and the boardwalk alongside the lake.

“I hate taking my car anywhere now,” she says.

The best feature

The large rooftop terrace could accommodate an outdoor kitchen and hot tub.

Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka

The outdoor space on three terraces is larger than some backyards in the neighbourhood, the Mileses point out.

The couple chose stone that blends with the interior materials.

The rooftop terrace is large enough to accommodate an outdoor kitchen and a hot tub.

Ms. Miles says she favours the north terrace in the evening because she can sit and watch the sunset in the west. But the south terrace is the place to be for the sunrise in the morning.

“The sunrise and the sunset are beautiful all the time,” she says.

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