A piece of Hollywood

Grand River Heights home favourite of film in­dus­try

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Tracey Thomp­son

IF the house at 259 Ox­ford looks fa­mil­iar, you’ve prob­a­bly seen it at a the­atre near you. Most River Heights res­i­dents will rec­og­nize it as a favourite set­ting for the film in­dus­try. It has been the set of at least four fea­ture films, the most no­table be­ing the film ver­sion of Mar­garet Lau­rence’s book “The Stone An­gel” fea­tur­ing Ellen Burstyn.

It’s not hard to see why the ma­jes­tic home has been a favoured set for the film crowd. If you’re look­ing for a grand, old house that is full of char­ac­ter and charm, this is it. The 4,300-square-foot home is cur­rently on the mar­ket for $725,000.

Built in 1912, the two-and-a-half storey house evokes a real sense of grandeur and pres­ence on one of the neigh­bour­hood’s most de­sir­able streets. But it also ex­udes a sense of warmth and co­zi­ness, hav­ing been home to a bustling fam­ily of six for the last decade who have trans­formed it from a some­what di­lap­i­dated old house to a home.

“A house (such as) this de­serves to be cared for,” says the cur­rent owner, who is mov­ing sim­ply be­cause it’s just too much house as some of their kids are now mov­ing away from home. “We saw the po­ten­tial – it had good bones and was full of char­ac­ter and charm.”

She and her hus­band have lit­er­ally re­done ev­ery­thing in the home, from dec­o­rat­ing to the struc­ture of the house, says re­al­tor Garry Parkes of Royal LePage Dy­namic.

“It’s got the orig­i­nal char­ac­ter, but they’ve done so many up­grades,” says Parkes. “It’s a nice bal­ance of old, beau­ti­ful char­ac­ter, but all up­dated.”

That in­cludes a new roof, mostly new win­dows, a re­vamped heat­ing sys­tem with en­ergy ef­fi­cient steam boiler, a new dou­ble car garage and roughed in cen­tral vac. The house is also im­pec­ca­bly dec­o­rated with rich colours on the walls in keep­ing with the early 1900’s era of the house.

For the cur­rent owner, she knew the house was spe­cial as soon as she saw the grand chan­de­lier-style light fix­ture hang­ing above the en­try­way out­side the front door. That led into an im­pres­sive large foyer com­plete with French doors, pan­eled glass and a beau­ti­ful grand maple stair­case.

The din­ing room on one side of the clas­sic cen­tral hall plan is huge, with am­ple room to host a large din­ner party. In fact, the house is ideal for en­ter­tain­ing. The own­ers say they have en­ter­tained at least 150 peo­ple in the house at one time and there was am­ple room to spare.

The beau­ti­ful din­ing room fea­tures two walls of huge, al­most floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows that al­low nat­u­ral light to flood the room and clas­sic touches such as a hand­crafted box-beam ceil­ing. The liv­ing room is equally el­e­gant in style, fea­tur­ing one of the home’s three wood-burn­ing fire­places, which is faced with the orig­i­nal tile and wood. The spa­cious liv­ing room leads onto a long sun­room that runs along the side of the house.

The bright sun­room is also ac­ces­si­ble from the cozy main floor li­brary. The li­brary is the ideal spot to curl up with a book in front of an­other one of the orig­i­nal wood-burn­ing fire­places, which is flanked by built-in wood book­cases. Just out­side the li­brary is the main floor pow­der room, which is lo­cated at the back of the main floor and has a wall with glass block fea­tures to al­low nat­u­ral light to il­lu­mi­nate the space.

The home’s kitchen, which has its own set of stairs lead­ing to the sec­ond floor for the old ser­vant’s en­trance, is both large and func­tional. One side of the room fea­tures a bank of crisp white cupboards with am­ple counter space and an orig­i­nal butcher-block is­land. The other side of the kitchen houses a ta­ble that can seat eight with lots of room to spare.

The kitchen also has gar­den doors that lead out to the raised deck, hot tub and pa­tio. There’s also a mud­room at the side of the house with the con­ve­nient mod­ern fea­ture of main floor laun­dry.

Up­stairs, the sec­ond floor of the house of­fers three spa­cious bed­rooms and a roomy den. The den con­tains the home’s third wood-burn­ing fire­place and of­fers ac­cess to a sec­ond floor deck as well as the mas­ter en­suite. The mas­ter bed­room is very roomy and has a newly-ren­o­vated en­suite with dou­ble glass shower and his and hers sinks as well as a large walk-in closet.

The other two bed­rooms on this floor are also roomy and bright. They share the sec­ond floor bath­room, which has been main­tained in the orig­i­nal style with a charm­ing claw foot bath­tub and sub­way tile.

The third floor of the house fea­tures three more bed­rooms with high ceil­ings and large win­dows. The dormer-style of the house pro­vides in­ter­est­ing an­gles to the rooms and al­lows for charm­ing touches like built-in win­dow seats.

De­spite its size of over 4,000 square feet, re­al­tor Parkes points out that the house still feels warm and homey.

“It is grand from top to bot­tom,” he notes. “But de­spite its size, it doesn’t feel cav­ernous and the scale of the rooms all work to­gether.”

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