The listing: 103 Arundel Ave.
Asking price: $2.89-million
Lot size: 25.33 ft. by 140 ft.
Taxes: $5,510.66 (2016)
Listing agent: Fatima Bregman, salesperson, Re/Max Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage
In a hot market such as Toronto, buyers know you have to move fast. But most don’t end up moving as fast as Tim Wisener and Chris Van Lierop did to purchase 103 Arundel Ave.
The couple were hiking in British Columbia on a Saturday last July when they found out their home on Simpson Avenue had sold and their agent, Fatima Bregman, had found them a new property.
The problem was there were no photos – only the listing agent’s description that included the phrase “museum-like qualities,” Mr. Wisener said. “And we weren’t going to buy a house sight-unseen.”
So, they hopped on a red-eye flight back to Toronto.
“We got off the red-eye at 6 a.m., we came to 103 Arundel by 9 a.m. and by 11 a.m. we owned the house,” Mr. Wisener said.
The Back Story
Ms. Bregman is clear on why she thought the house would work for Mr. Wisener and Mr. Van Lierop: Its structure was sound.
“The potential was the exterior – with a very traditional, classic Edwardian Toronto home – and I knew Tim and Chris could work their magic on the interior,” said Ms. Bregman, who had worked with the couple on their Simpson Avenue home.
“I knew it was a gut job to the studs,” she added. “Although the previous owner had maintained the property, the home was showing its age.”
The home had spent the past 60 or so years under the ownership of one Greek man, who had a penchant for decorating with wainscoting trimmed in red leather and brass studs.
“The finishing weren’t to many people’s taste, but it was a gorgeous, solid brick house,” Mr. Wisener said. “It was a great big old house that needed some love to turn it into a new house for a new family, who could live in it for another 60 years.”
They took possession in August, 2015, and soon started on the renovation: After work totalling nine months, the home now features an open concept main floor, with kitchen, powder room, family room, living and dining spaces; a fully finished basement that has a rec room and bedroom with an ensuite bathroom; the second floor features three bedrooms and two full bathrooms; and the top-floor has the master suite. Mr. Wisener and Mr. Van Lierop also landscaped the backyard and built a new two-car garage.
Unlike a lot of people who flip homes, Mr. Wisener and Mr. Van Lierop have been living at 103 Arundel since February. “That’s the only way you can figure out how things work,” Mr. Wisener explained.
Plus, it has given them a chance to discover another corner of Toronto’s east end, which they’ve fallen in love with. When asked to explain his passion for the neighbourhood, Mr. Wisener said: “It’s the parks, it’s the schools, it’s an engaged community.”
Ms. Bregman understands the appeal because she has lived in the area for 18 years and has worked in real estate, specializing in the Danforth and Riverdale areas, for 17 years. “The greatest change I have seen is the demand for the neighbourhood,” she said.
Thanks to the surge in demand, the prices of single-family detached homes in this pocket of Toronto has also grown substantially. For example, in July, 1999, the average price for a single-family residence in this neighbourhood was about $188,452 ($261,885 adjusted for inflation) In July, 2016, the average price of a detached house stood at $883,544.
Listed at $2.89-million, 103 Arundel Ave. is on the upper bracket of houses in the area.
“We are at a premium but there are very few homes that have this calibre of renovation and this much space,” Ms. Bregman said.
But with the price, comes many luxuries, one of which is the master suite on the top floor. Separated from the staircase with a pocket door, the attic space has been transformed into a spacious bedroom, with two walk-in closets, a master bath and walk-out deck.
“I absolutely love the bathroom off the master suite,” Ms. Bregman said. “It’s a beautiful master retreat because you have a great indoor space with the fireplace and you also have a beautiful deck that lets you feel like you’re in the treetops.”
Mr. Wisener also loves it up there, especially the deck, which is private given its high walls and lack of neighbours with similarly high outdoor spaces. “You roll the pocket door shut and the rest of the house can just disappear.”
The other standout for both of them is the main floor, with its openness and the extra depth that the renovation has provided.
“Most homes in the neighbourhood do not have a main-floor family room,” Ms. Bregman said. “So it’s one of the more unique features of the home and it’s very much what families are looking for today.”
Mr. Wisener enjoys the sight lines on the main floor. “No matter where I sit in this house, where I look, it’s leaves, it’s tree, it’s green.”
The main floor also features some of the defining touches of style, including the walnut trimmed cabinetry in the kitchen and detailed woodworking on the living room walls.
“There’s a bit of luxury to the space,” Mr. Wisener said, gesturing to the wood detailing on the walls. “This is kind of what the old red leather wainscoting [in the original home] ended up as.
“But we decided against the brass studding.”