In real estate, as in love, there are homes that you have a fleeting crush on, ones that you want to have a family with, and others that are just so out-of-your-league gorgeous they become the stuff of fantasies. Such is the case with 87 Highland Crescent, which I’ve loved from afar for years and which is now on the market. Am I going to be placing an offer? Given an asking price of $6.85 million, I’m afraid my feelings will have to go forever unrequited: with Canada’s maximum 25-year mortgage terms, even if I (miraculously) had a 10 per cent down payment, and borrowed the $6.2 million balance, every month I would have to give the bank about $37,000 (assuming a reasonable interest rate of 5.24 per cent per year). $37,000. A month. That’s more than my yearly take home pay. The only way I could swing that would be to invent a time machine, go back about 10 years, and tell my teenage self all about Facebook so I could scoop Mark Zuckerberg. Anyway, the house actually appeared on the market two years ago at a higher price — $7.995 million — so whichever gazillionaire buys it can sleep easy on his mountain of money knowing he got a relative deal. David Bowie is rumoured to be a fan of the home’s architecture, so maybe he’ll snag it for Iman. Sigh, below is why I love it so much.
I don’t remember where I saw the Shim-Sutcliffe–designed house first — it’s been published in countless magazines and newspapers including Toronto Life, the New York Times and Wallpaper. The rich materials — mahogany window frames, Douglas fir ceilings, weathering steel walls — stood out for me, as did the warm, updated take on classic mid-century modernism (the design not-so-subtly cribs masters like Alvar Aalto and Carlo Scarpa). But it was in 2007 that I really fell hard for the 4,200-square-foot, four-bedroom place. I was working for a small (yet great) local architecture office — AKB — that was doing some interior renovations on the house. I had to go and help measure something in the garage, and while there, owner Yvonne Fleck graciously offered me a tour. In pictures, the home looks stunning. In person, the meticulous craftsmanship and care that went into every single detail really stands out. Fleck has a superlative art collection, but the paintings, photos and sculptures on display were almost redundant given the impeccable architecture.
Though its on the outside, a stepped lily pond is essentially the lynch pin of the house: it’s visible from the main living spaces, including the dining and sitting rooms.
The lap pool has a dark lining to make the water look more serene. The look works especially well with the light grey decking (which I think is Trex).
In the dining room, all kinds of materials are coming together — including raw concrete, mahogany, Douglas fir, tile, drywall, glass and steel — yet the space still feels harmonious.
As a contrast to the opulent materials and over-the-top detailing in the rest of the house, the bedroom is really restrained and simple. A perfect place for relaxation.