Best of both worlds
River Heights classic blends character with modern amenities
AS alluring as River Heights is, there’s one factor that sometimes deters people from buying in the area: the age of the homes. While it’s true character comes with age — and there’s no denying homes in River Heights are laden with it — so do deficiencies, particularly in the area of a home’s livability. In many cases, an 80 or 100-year-old home will have to be upgraded in key areas (kitchen, bathroom, electric, mechanical) — a deal breaker for many prospective buyers. However, there is the occasional home that doesn’t require extensive upgrades, and 251 Cordova Street is one of them, said Cory Kehler of Re/Max Professionals. “This is a home that’s been renovated over a period of four years,” said Kehler. “An addition was put on the rear of the home to make way for a new kitchen, and all the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems have been updated. There’s no knob-and-tube wiring, and instead of a boiler and no air conditioning, this home actually has a new forced furnace with HRV, and central air conditioning.” That said, when you happen to glimpse the home from the street, it looks like any other River Heights classic with its stucco exterior, hunter green-trimmed, latticed windows and cedar shake roof. Poke your head inside, and it’s a different story. A quick tour through the home reveals a beguiling combination of traditional and modern design features that meld together beautifully. “The home was actually built in 1930, but with the renovations, you now have a home that gives you the best of both worlds — yesteryear character, and modern amenities,” said Kehler. “This home was a labour of love; the detail in this renovation is incredible. New windows were chosen to match the old character, new doors are as close to the design of the old ones as possible, all the original oak hardwoods were restored, ceiling mouldings were matched, and the classic, high baseboards were retained.” As important as it was to retain character, it was equally important to infuse the home with modern amenities — hence the thoroughly contemporary kitchen that inhabits the addition at the rear of the 2,500 sq. ft. home. “Like the master suite (more about it a bit later), the kitchen was expressly created to provide its residents with modern amenities,” said Kehler. “One of its biggest draws is the family room at its rear, which features a wall of glass with a series of windows and doors that allow natural light to stream inside. Patio doors lead to a large, covered deck, where you can actually see kids playing in the private, fenced back yard from the family room, and kitchen. The finishes — cherry oak cabinets, taupe granite countertops, tan tile floor and top-end stainless appliances — are gorgeous.” Meanwhile, the home’s front portion leans more to the classic side. A formal dining room with wainscoting on the walls runs off to the left of the kitchen, while a living room with ornamental brick fireplace across the way provides a big, warm space to visit with guests. “No detail has been missed,” said Kehler. “Brand new windows in both the dining room and living room — all the windows in the home are new — match the home’s classic character, and the restored oak hardwoods just gleam. Details like ceiling mouldings and the wainscoting in the dining room retain the home’s character, while other features, such as two oversize transom windows over the fireplace in the living room, add character, and let in more natural light.” Like the home’s main level, its upper level has been modernized by re-purposing the bedrooms. “The old third bedroom has been turned into a full bath with clawfoot tub, tempered glass shower and a nice touch, an old-style hexagonal tile floor that takes you back to the era the home was built in,” he said. “The vanity is also old-style with its grey marble countertop and sink, and simple design with routered detailing.” Then, the former main bath was turned into a space that offers contemporary convenience. “It’s now a second floor laundry room, a feature you don’t often see in River Heights homes of this vintage,” said Kehler. “And the former master bedroom is now bedroom number two, with lots of space and tons of glass on both sides to let in all kinds of light.” The spacious new master bedroom, it turns out, is as modern as they come with a luxurious ensuite, walk-in closet (with window) and another very desirable amenity. “It comes with its own private balcony with pergola,” said Kehler. “The bedroom itself is huge, and the ensuite — it’s a combination of new and old design themes — comes with a tile floor, tempered glass/tile shower, classic clawfoot tub and old style light fixture. It’s a space that’s a wonderful combination of old, and new.” Kehler said one more design feature makes the home unique in River Heights. “It actually has an attached garage with loft storage. You don’t see that often in this area.” In a nutshell, 251 Cordova provides you with the best of both worlds, he added. “You could decide to build new, but you can’t get character like this, plus all the modern amenities. Add in a super-central, mature location, and it doesn’t get any better than this.”
This house in River Heights boasts character with a modern finish.
Contemporary conveniences such as matching sinks are
found in the main bathroom.
Crown moulding tops off the space in the modern kitchen. At left, more modern finishes.