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home of the week

Properly.ca

3794 11th Line, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Ont.

Asking Price: $999,000

Taxes: $5,517.00 (2021)

Lot Size: 127.44- by 55.01 -eet

Listing agent: Chad Stover, Properly Inc.

The backstory

With the holiday season fresh in the minds of homebuyers, Babak Amoozgar has a tip for potential shoppers interested in his recently listed converted church: It’s not the height of the ceiling that limits the size of your Christmas tree, it’s the width of the doors.

“The first year, I thought I needed to get a 12-foot tree,” said Mr. Amoozgar, who loves to entertain and had a living room with a 17-foot-high ceiling to fill. “What I didn’t realize is it has to come through my front door. … We really had to squeeze through.” It sounds very much like that famous scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold realizes he bit off a little more than he should have when it comes to tree-girth. Even though it was glorious, and set the tone for every family Christmas party since, Mr. Amoozgar scaled down in the subsequent years … a little. “Now it’s only 10feet. We still have to get a ladder to put the star on top.”

The kitchen is on a raised platform, and has a central island with a dark base and a white countertop with bar seating and sink in the middle of the space.Properly.ca

That’s one thing you get with a converted church: grandeur. The former St. Luke’s Anglican church (built for the tiny community of Pinkerton, Ont.,) north of Bradford in Simcoe County isn’t a cathedral, but there is a sort-of mini-tower over one of the front entrances and its main living space is the converted nave complete with Gothic-inspired lancet and Palladian windows with stained-glass. That’s what won over Mr. Amoozgar and his wife, Kate, who moved from downtown Toronto in 2017.

“I didn’t want to move to the country, but the house was so beautiful and unique, and the truth is we’re out in the country, but it’s only 12 minutes in to the city. … We run into town three times a day,” Mrs. Amoozgar said. “I really like my house to be a reflection of myself… and this house is so homey and warm and it really suited our style.”

The couple met in Toronto but grew up in “cookie cutter suburban homes” in Aurora and Thornhill, so the escape to the country came with some mixed feelings. When they initially booked a showing of the church – which was being sold by the renovators who redid the home with all new floors, updated kitchen and a top-to-bottom refresh – it was under contract for a conditional sale to another buyer. That deal fell through, and the Amoozgars swept in.

The house today

On the north side of the living room/nave is a brick wall with fireplace and TV.Properly.ca

Despite being out in the country, this is not a huge lot: it’s essentially carved out of the farmer’s field to the rear and has another neighbor right across the street. It’s not far from Highway 400, but there’s no off-ramp to 11th line, so your options are to exit at the Bradford to the south, or head north to the exit near Cookstown and double back.

Through the yellow front door you enter into a foyer that’s a mix of painted brick and wood wainscoting, which leads into nave/living room, next to the west-facing wall with its glass windows. The living room vaults upward to a dark-painted wood ceiling, and the grey-painted walls extend back to a kitchen that’s open to the living room but separated by an arched wall. On the north side of the living room is a brick wall with fireplace and TV, in the south-east corner of the room is a wood-fired stove.

The second bathroom has a mid-sized ensuite with a double vanity, stand-alone tub and separate shower.Properly.ca

Built in 1878, the space doesn’t feel worn down with use. “We don’t have any creaks. It doesn’t have that old feel,” Mr. Amoozgar said.

The kitchen is on a raised platform, likely the former altar, and has a central island with a dark base and a white countertop with bar seating and sink in the middle of the space. Behind it is the range-top and hood just centering a rear wall of black counters, silver-metallic backsplash and white shaker-style cabinets (and a wall-mounted double oven). Off to the side is an eat-in seating area, on the other side is a pantry wall with the double fridge-freezer and more wall-mounted appliances.

In the south-east corner of the living room is a wood-fired stove.Properly.ca

Off to the left of the kitchen is the hallway leading back to the rest of the house, which was formed by two perhaps three rounds of additions over the decades. Before we enter that, there’s an exterior door that opens onto the rear deck and yard with a barbecue, seating and a strip of land that snugs up to the cultivated field behind.

Lining the hallway to the bedrooms there’s a washer-dryer and laundry sink, closets and the main bathroom for the house. The stand-alone shower is finished in pale grey and white tiles, but the rest of the room has a bolder scheme with a painted and lacquered vanity with a dark bronze bowl sink set against green-blue aquamarine-painted walls.

Around the corner from the bathrooms are the three bedrooms. These spaces are more modest, a baby’s room comes with a glass door leading to a strip of deck and seating area off the side yard above the septic tank, a second bedroom is doubling as the office.

Despite being out in the country, the house is not on a huge lot: it’s essentially carved out of the farmer’s field to the rear and has another neighbor right across the street.Properly.ca

Past some exposed brick (evidence of those sequential additions) is a primary bedroom with its own rank of three lancet windows to remind you of the religious roots of the building. A walk-through closet takes you into the second bathroom, a mid-sized ensuite with a double vanity, stand-alone tub and separate shower. This space has a more restrained palette: light yellow walls, white tub and sinks with silver fixtures, tan and grey striped tile floor and a dark slate tile in the shower.

Best feature

The living room vaults upward to a dark-painted wood ceiling, and the grey-painted walls extend back to a kitchen that’s open to the living room but separated by an arched wall.Properly.ca

The living room/nave is the star of the house, and there are a lot of memories connected to it. “We got married in this house: an officiant came and married us inside in front of our main window,” Mr. Amoozgar said. “We had our wedding party here as well, there were 100-plus people here, which was awesome.” But as their family expands the couple is looking for more of the rooms to have similar largeness, and maybe more land, too. They’ll miss the being close to farm life (Mrs. Amoozgar said there’s more donkey noise than traffic noise) even if it does include the occasional impromptu cattle drive when the neighbour’s cows get loose. Before this, they lived in a small townhouse in Toronto and they are not going back to that, in fact they are hoping to find something that will fit next year’s 10-foot Christmas tree.

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