In another time, and what felt like another life, I used to own a house on James St. A pretty red-brick house on the south side of the street, close to Patrick, and across from the little limestone rowhouses that must have been built as stables, don’t you think? I laid down a blue slate patio behind the house, and it’s still there, though I hope you wouldn’t say it’s my best work.
That old house of mine is rented now, and its new owner has moved into the Annandale building on Sydenham Street. Last year, friends and clients of mine bought the very similar, and well-renovated brick home right next door on James.
It’s a street that’s played a part in my life for a long while now, that’s what I’m getting at. And it’s just one block north of where I live now, and happily, on Charles. So I’m at home here, in every sense. And I like listing houses on the street.
111 James is the latest to hit the market. And the house will attract all sorts of attention, I’m convinced of it.
The sellers bought it in 2011, and have lavished it with all the right sorts of attention. The vinyl siding came off first and the original clapboard has been restored and then protected with a linseed stain, which means most obviously and most importantly it’s not going to peel on you and need redoing every five years. It’s a fantastic shade of green too, not quite olive, more the colour of a lichen you’d see stretched like a skin over limestone and granite north of the city. (I’ve got a pair of Fluevog boots almost the same colour and maybe if this house kicks around long enough I’ll wear them for an open house; it’ll be the first time I’ll have colour co-ordinated myself with a whole house.)
New metal roofing has gone on too, and is the perfect lid for this sort of project. Shingles (except maybe cedar) would have just diminished the look, the elegant aesthetic here. And the laundry room / mudroom addition that runs from the front to the back inside has been wrapped in a board and batten that will be fun to watch as it ages.
There are honking great limestone steps up to the front door, and extensive landscaping, and a new private deck around back, and some eco-lawn that’s shade-resistant and slow-growing. It really is the prettiest house around.
Inside it’s just as impressive. The kitchen is at the back of the house and it’s new and it’s lovely, drenched right now with sunshine and views over the yard. It’s well laid-out with everything in its right place and it’s easily big enough to eat in, or hang out in. And it gives you access to that mudroom I mentioned which is floored with slate, and is a space that simply doesn’t exist in many houses in these parts.
There is fresh designer paint and new mouldings. There are three bedrooms and a third-floor loft that’s clean and white and spacious and which would make an impressive master bedroom, or library, or yoga space, or … hell, you name it.
It’s been a labour of love is what it’s been. But it’s not just a skin-deep sort of attraction. The invisible bits – the insulation and so on – have also been addressed here. It’s an efficient home, not just a beautiful one.
The listing is here.