Walk a Kb or Two in my Moccasins- Nobody 'splained it to me like that!

Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

24 Blencathra Hill
A Unique Hilltop English Manor House in Cachet Country Club

“The Cachet” started development between 1958 and 1963 as a Rural Residential Estate subdivision of 1-2 acre lots located far from the madding crowd. Few homes were built at that time with the real major development taking place in the 1970's. Cachet has become a unique enclave of custom homes with beautifully matured landscapes just up the street from main-line Unionville – amazing what a few years and the 404 highway can do to change things.

Each property embodied the characteristic needs, wants and visions of the original buyer – with the passage of time now a wide variety of sizes, styles and types of home are in existence with many properties experiencing expansions, renovations as well as re-construction. The western and southern sections with their new-to-10 year old mansion-home now buffer the established core with executive homes on more modest lots.

Markham decided to install municipal water lines to facilitate the small standard size lots on the southern edge of Cachet and as part of the plan all the properties will be hooked up to town water for domestic uses and those (like #24) with excellent existing artesian wells will use their “own” water for exterior and landscaping uses without the ‘water charge’. More details about this later in this description.

The Sellers acquired the property with the idea of faithfully re-creating a home that reflects an authentic Canadian architectural styling while meeting family needs and with a vision for accommodating the future (now present-day) desires of a twenty-first century owner. The house was built ‘the old way’ with materials that few builders could dare afford to use, and few homebuyers would dare to expect.

Sunnydene sits amidst the highest elevations in the area and is sited at the centre of a 1.4-acre estate lot that was described by a past president of Cachet Realty as "The finest lot in the Cachet". The lot measures approximately 140 by 480 feet and encompasses well over 60,000 square feet. Professionally landscaped with extraordinary privacy yet offering views not visible from the street, including downtown Toronto, capturing the night time city skyline.

The grounds consist of a gently sloping front lawn sheltered from the neighbours by mature trees on the boundaries, a winding driveway (constructed with highway-grade asphalt) with ‘island’ turnaround that stands before the oversized three-door garage, an almost-wild bush area covering the north-west corner, plus a serene rear garden dotted with walnut, chestnut ash, maple, poplar and cedar trees. Focal points beyond the flower and treed areas include two ponds with circulating water providing a magnificent water fall (illuminated after dusk) to greet you and guests at each passing of the property.

Built to replicate a Tudor Manor Home, the main body of the house was built with stone over block (all brick work above is in either herringbone or checker board pattern) with insulation between the two layers of masonry. Interior insulation was affixed between the masonry and the interior finished wall creating ~1.5 foot thick walls surrounding the living space of this energy-efficient fortress. In addition, insulation was installed between ALL rooms of the home to minimize ­­­­­­­­noise-transfer and to permit heating and cooling conservation – the house can be ‘zoned’ room by room. The asymmetrical front entry arch is constructed from custom cut Virginia stone and is a not precast replica.

The Roof, completely replaced about 8 years ago and its end covers are covered by slatetite, a compounded slate that will probably last as long as the masonry. Slatetite is more durable that real slate and not as susceptible to cracking or splitting (NB as a pre-caution the owners have stored 400 extra tiles) The home’s flat roof areas were also redone with five layers of tar and paper over an integrated insulation membrane and toped with rubberized sheet material.

All the eavestroughing, downspouts, peaks and valleys are copper (virtually unheard of these days) that is mellowing to its timeless best appearance. The chimney flue peaks were a hard-to-find upgrade made from special-ordered terra cotta.

All the windows are Pella casements (today’s standard of excellence) as are the four sliding walkout doors. Solid wood frames, double-glazed with integral muntin bars, aluminum exterior cladding (no painting) special ordered from the Amish craftsmen in Iowa. In addition, all the windows (except two ‘greenhouse windows’ in the kitchen) are ‘bronzed’ to filter the sun’s furniture-fading, ultra-violet rays.

The grand entrance captures the English manor house effect - double doors in the Buckingham style with solid brass door pulls from Spain, massive floating oak staircase with substantial hand railing and balusters rising above the Italian marble floor. The theme continues with custom routered oak wall panels on the main floor and matching wainscoting on the upper level capped by an English wrought iron chandelier and wall sconces. Four new solar tube skylights illuminate this 17 foot high entry with vaulted, coffered, illuminated, antique plaster medallion and cornices

Hidden behind a foyer doorway are the Ladies’ powder room and coat closet with mirrored sliding doors. If you venture through the foyer or down the main stairs after dusk you will discover the convenience (and safety) offered by the motion-sensitive automatic light switches
Stepping down into the Living Room, enjoy a large elegant space with nine foot ceilings, custom, imported plaster work reflecting the Moorish influence on English design, herringbone oak floor, custom-made classic baseboards and Kingston Hue (mauve tones) stone fireplace with integrated wood box.

Another expanse of oak panelling leads you to the Den and the first glimpse of the rear gardens. The den is fitted with random width, gunstock brown, 3/4 inch pegged oak flooring: solid oak, not engineer wood as is common today, an oak beamed ceiling, beautiful window and door trim, the ‘other side’ of the living rooms Kingston Hue fireplace with another separate firebox and its own stone wood storage box, an English wrought iron chandelier and a Pella sliding walkout to the flagstone-set-in-concrete patio area.

Please note the thickness of the wall as you follow the pegged oak flooring into the Library -a peaceful at-home sanctuary with views of nature at either end. Glance around and absorb the solid oak corner shelves and cupboards, custom plaster on the walls, routered oak pilasters, beamed ceiling and brass wall sconces.

For many families, the Lounge or Family Room is of great importance. Currently, most of the owner’s leisure time is spent in this wonderfully comfortable room - bathed in light from a wall of bronzed glass, tongue and groove 3/4 inch Georgia Pecan floor, (significantly harder than oak or maple and will wear forever), grand Canadian Shield stone fireplace (Kingston Hue in beige tones) with oak mantle and stone wood box, another walkout access to the illuminated patio, built in oak bookcase, beamed ceiling, wainscoting, built in wine bar, 7 pivot-head potlights PLUS access to a camouflaged spiral staircase to the master suite.

Walk across the accessible foyer, through, one of three solid mahogany doors (with ‘lion’s head’ brass pulls imported from England) and step down into Dining Room with full nine-foot ceilings.
Wrapped in California black Walnut, these walls are detailed with assiduously crafted raised panels and matched walnut window seat cradled by the bay window. This walnut extends over the beautiful solid marble (not a stone veneer) fireplace with integral wood box. The walls and ceiling complimented with grapevine cornice and a flowered ceiling medallion.

Extraordinary, gunstock brown, tongue and groove, ¾” oak floors in random 3, 4, 5 & 6 inch widths - a true pegged floor with each plank drilled and secured with 1” screws, each hole bevelled and capped with a matched plug, plus each plank is also attached with a nail through the groove. The room is trimmed in walnut baseboards.

The Kitchen is the heart of every home, the gathering-place for friends and family. In keeping this home modern with preservation of natural patina where suitable, a magnificent new kitchen recently replaced the original - a wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling modernization took place.
Heated stone floor with separate thermostats for breakfast and work areas keeps winter feet warm, along with another enjoyable fireplace (yes, a fireplace in the kitchen). All new oak cupboard boxes with custom extended-height Manitoba white oak doors. All appliances are top-of-the-line and stainless steel (included in sale).

Such modern items as double-drawer dishwasher and microwave-in-a-drawer give this kitchen, with its all granite countertops, the ultra-modern feel that the domestic gourmet will cherish.
Truly a masterpiece kitchen - far beyond description and worthy of a lengthy examination on the house tour.

Immediately adjacent to the kitchen is a full bank of 3 double (or six single) pantry cupboards in the multi-purposed Pantry/ Mud Room/ Laundry and a second, main floor washroom (here a three piece bath for ideally situated for a cleanup when returning from the relaxation of yard work). Two access points to the great outdoors here, one of the solid wood panel doors leads you to the rear deck and the other takes you out to the roof garden above the garage.

The Upper storey continues the main foyer’s majestic theme; its extra-wide halls’ oak flooring is 3/4 inch in gunstock brown.

The three secondary bedrooms all have new carpet, beautiful oak baseboards and trim, illuminated closets. The front bedroom with commanding front yard and city views offers an extra-deep kid’s closet with hiding spot, while the middle bedroom provides full privacy. The third regular bedroom facing to the rear has dramatic views of the park-like yard has an ensuite 3-piece washroom, with floor to ceiling tiled shower and pedestal sink as well as a walkout door to its own roof deck over the library.

The main full upstairs washroom was rebuilt with exquisite Spanish porcelain tile work -18” x 12” on the walls and 12” x12” on the floor. Kohler water closet, double ceramic pedestal sink with polished nickel taps (and chrome waste pipe), custom-ordered 10-jet Jacuzzi tub with brushed nickel fixtures and overhead light. Safety and enjoyment-enhanced showers come courtesy of the auto-adjusting temperature control and an extra-wide, ‘Rain Shower’ head.

Through the double doors at the south end of the hall, holding sway over this entire wing of this floor, behold a true, Master suite & Retreat. Rich 3/4 inch gunstock brown, pegged oak flooring leads past the nursery/ sewing room (or walk-in closet if you wish), the double mirrored closet and the current walk-in closet to the commanding, double-sided fireplace built of a white quartz-like stone called Alaskan Blue Hue. Throughout this entire master suite are imported "grapevine" cornice, wall and chair rail mouldings plus oak trim and baseboards.

The master bedroom area gives access to a well-mirrored ensuite bathroom completely modernized for luxury. White marble heated floor with marble wainscoting. Separate his and hers sinks, mirrored walls, luxurious bath (for two) with whirlpool and jacuzzi and even an automatic inline water heating system to maintain relaxing water warmth. If you are one to enjoy a shower for two, then the master shower enhances that particular pleasure with separate thermostats for each side.

A coffered dome centers the room for an in-bathroom chandelier...but why stop there? When exiting the tub or shower dry down with a heated towel from one of the two heated towel racks. Admire the cityscape as you pass to either the bed area or the adjoining master lounge just past the double sided fireplace.

Family room-sized squire’s retreat is a well-appointed upstairs lounge (oak bar with sink, ceramic top, tumbled marble backsplash plus wine rack) with walkout to a roof deck overseeing the rear of the yard to the east with wrap-around access to south and east views of the rest of the ‘world’. Please do not overlook the private staircase to the family room that permits egress without disturbing others in the bedroom wing of the home.

The Basement; A completely finished Basement Level is accessible by oak stairs from the main entry and a second staircase from the pantry. The main door into the house from the garage is also at this level due to the terracing of the lot (to have restructured his hillside lot to establish the garage at grade with the main level would have taken away from the beauty of the lot and disrupted the elegance of the manor house architecturally).

The main basement room is currently used as a billiards or game room and has oak wainscoting, a continuation of the foyer’s wall panelling, a corner trophy cupboard, a ‘hide-away’ cold room, 9 pivot-head pots with a fully tiled floor laid in two patterns -one foot squares in light beige and 10 inch squares in white (unfortunately the turn of century streetlamps will be excluded).

The basement also has 4 more, full height finished rooms to facilitate a home theatre, a work-out or nanny’s room, a children's play area or party room in Tudor motif, plus a finished mud room immediately inside the garage and an unfinished furnace and utility room with workbench
Located in this utility room are two oversized 100,000 BTU zoned furnaces (main & lower floor and upstairs) with 2 three ton air-conditioning units. Both furnaces have electronic air cleaners and humidifiers.

A unique hot water system has the full house on a circulating system for 'superfast' hot water when demanded.

Super-adequate, 400-ampere electrical system (with less than 50% being utilized) has capacity for the grandest future plan or need.

A new municipal water system currently feeds the domestic needs of the house. Originally it operated perfectly with a drilled well (a shame to have been replaced with municipal water because the existing artesian wells have performed so wonderfully throughout Cachet).

The existing well water supplies outside water through its original pressure system for all gardening and landscaping needs, while the municipal water is used inside. This double water system saves significant costs since the well water is not billed through the taxed water system of the municipality.

The main vacuum for the central vacuum system is located here too for easy servicing.
The three-door garage is approximately 30 x 30 feet and has its own heating system, if desired and will accommodate 6 vehicles. It has three automatic door operators, is illuminated by a multi-bank arrangement of fluorescents. Fittingly, the garage’s walls are finished, its ceiling, all walls and the pillars between the doors are fully insulated.

Further details and appointments available through
Robert Ede,
Sales Representative
RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd.,
Office 416-494-7653
Direct 416-819-7333

View Interiors and Exteriors on display www.thereisnoplacelikethis.com

Electronic photo array from robertede@gmail.com

E. & E.O


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