Country-living vibe by the park
This home in Toronto's west end features special stones transported from Prince Edward Country to remind its owners of their rural upbringing
THE LISTING: 27 Radford Ave.
ASKING PRICE: $1,398,000
TAXES: $5,201.00 (2017)
LOT SIZE: 20 feet by 119 feet
LISTING AGENT: Andrew Ipekian, broker, Keller Williams Referred Urban Realty, Brokerage
Everyone tries to make their house feel like home. Sometimes, it's a special blanket or a few photographs. But for Darren and Dominique Raycroft, this ritual involved transporting stones.
"There were a lot of trips back and forth between here and Prince Edward County," Mr. Raycroft said. "You can only fit so many of those rocks in a Volkswagen Golf's trunk."
Both of the Raycrofts are from the Prince Edward County region and when they moved to Radford Avenue in Toronto's west end, they wanted something to remind them of their rural upbringing. The special stones came from Ms. Raycroft's parents' property in PEC.
"The stones tied a piece of where we grew up into the home," Mr. Raycroft said.
When the Raycrofts decided to buy their first home back in 2011, they started their search in the Roncesvalles-High Park neighbourhood, as Ms. Raycroft had spent a part of her childhood in the area.
"We had just put an offer in to another home deeper into High Park and then we stopped on the way back to look at another listing," Mr. Raycroft said. "And we were immediately hoping that our offer wouldn't be accepted at the other place."
That other listing was 27 Radford Ave., a detached house on a sleepy one-way street with three bedrooms and two bathrooms spread over three floors.
"It felt different, it had this unique charm," Mr. Raycroft said. "It wasn't just a flipped house," Ms. Raycroft added.
Right away, they fell for some of the home's older features, such as the nine-foot ceilings, the original hardwood floors and fireplace, the brass hardware on the doors. But they knew when they bought it that the home would need to be updated.
"We did a lot of little touches ourselves the first few months," Ms. Raycroft said. "I didn't want to live for years making changes constantly."
So, they went about fixing up the place and adding their style to the home by changing things such as light fixtures, installing drapery and adding in a wall-length closet unit to the master bedroom. They also upgraded some of the plumbing, redid the entry, added some storm doors and replaced the furnace and air conditioner.
Thanks to a previous owner, they didn't have to do a kitchen renovation and they decided to leave the basement semi-finished for the time being.
"We thought about [finishing the basement], but it was just a matter of time," Ms. Raycroft said.
However, in the six years of their ownership, they did tackle on very big projects involving the backyard and garage.
When they bought the home, the backyard was sloped and only one side of it was fenced in. And the garage was more of an unfinished shack.
"It was kind of like a Frankenstein construction when we got here," Mr. Raycroft said, explaining that the old garage had a partition in the middle of it with no wall closing it off on the west. It also had a sandy dirt floor and the exterior was plastered with grey, light green and pale pink asphalt shingles.
So, starting in the first year of living there, the Raycrofts hired a team to help them level out the backyard, installed new fences and added in a patio area for outdoor dining (including using those PEC stones from Ms. Raycroft's family property).
In place of the shack now stands a two-car wooden garage. Beyond adding a concrete floor and electricity, the garage also features storage nooks on the inside and outside, so everything from a Ping-Pong table to their garbage, recycling and compost bins can be put away.
"It went from being, 'Oh, the garage,' to being part of the feel of the house," Mr. Raycroft said.
It is upgrades such as these that Andrew Ipekian, the Raycrofts' real estate broker, said add value to the house.
"We feel it's arguably the best value in Roncesvalles currently," Mr. Ipekian said when asked how he arrived at the $1,398,000 listing price.
He also pointed out that 27 Radford Ave. is not only close to good restaurants, a Loblaws, LBCO, the UP Express, the TTC and High Park, but the property itself features assets that aren't common in the area, such as the two-car garage and the nine-foot ceilings. Mr. Ipekian also thinks the basement could easily be transformed into an income-earning unit.
"The separate basement apartment adds huge value and the opportunity for people to do what they want with that space," he said.
For Ms. Raycroft, one of her favourite rooms is the sunroom, which has been turned into a nursery. The nursery occupies the second-floor of an addition that was added to the house before the Raycrofts bought it. Sticking out past the neighbouring homes, the room features three walls of windows.
"When it was a sunroom, we never used it," Ms. Raycroft said. "But I liked it for him [the baby] because it's the perfect size.
"And it's a bright, fun space," she added.
But now, as their child grows up, the Raycrofts have decided to move back to the county to be closer to their families.
"It's bittersweet," Ms. Raycroft said. "It's hard to leave. … I can't even really explain it, but it's the right thing for us."
"We did our best to respect the home's unique features and characteristics," Mr. Raycroft said. "Now, it is up to the next person to see where they can take it."