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Real Estate


House of the Week: $1.9 million for an unabashedly modern family home

ADDRESS: 478 Melrose Avenue

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Bedford Park-Nortown

AGENTS: Paul Johnston, Right At Home Realty

PRICE: $1,875,000

THE PLACE: This newly built home on a corner lot in North York has three bedrooms, five bathrooms and a wholehearted commitment to a linear, contemporary aesthetic. 

BRAGGING RIGHTS: Designed as part of a series by architecture firm Atelier Rzlbd, the home is called the Patio House thanks to two punched in patios stacked on top of each other (so as not to disrupt the home’s box-like construction) that allow natural light to travel through the house. Other structures in the series include the Shaft House and the Charcoal House.

BIG SELLING POINT: The layout proves that concept homes can still be kid-friendly. Designed for family life, the open-plan main floor allows for flexible use of space and there’s lots of room to play in the basement.

POSSIBLE DEAL BREAKER: With an open plan, white walls and plenty of glass, this isn’t the place for indifferent housekeepers. Clutter and smudge marks would quickly ruin the effect.

• $1,875,000
• $14,000 in estimated property taxes (based on comparable neighbourhood values)
• 5 bathrooms
• 3 bedrooms
• 3 skylights
• 2 storeys
• 2 enclosed patios
• 2 entrances
• 2-car landscaped parking pad

  • Mac

    I can’t wait to come back to this page tomorrow to see the faithful readers rip this to shreds.

  • Megan

    What an eyesore!

  • Bisca

    Wow. I would feel the need to give a urine sample.

    In every room.

  • Lisaevp

    I think this is the worst house I have seen in a LONG time…

  • re-electrobford?areyoumad

    “The layout proves that concept homes can still be kid-friendly”…the only way this is kid-friendly is if you give them a big pack of crayolas and don’t mind the end result….

  • Beezle

    Only one colour and they went with orange? Really? That won’t look dated in about 12 seconds, no.

    Soooooo ugly. And you think they could have spared some money on some landscaping – the exterior looks like an office building that the owners stopped giving a crap about. And it’s sitting practically on top of the sidewalk! Desperately needs a fence IMO, unless you really want every passerby peering into your weird patios.

  • Roy Murray

    The interior is austere; harsh acoustics will be unavoidable even without the minimalist approach to furnishing favoured by the architect. There is no usable outside space and the west facing ‘patios’ will be too hot in summer, too cold in winter thus forcing their use as a lower quality indoor space.

    It’s a lot of money for a compromised home on a very exposed lot.

  • Beezle

    On the other hand, you get to be ‘The Family Who Lives in the Weird Corner House’ to all the neighbours. I guess that’s worth something…

  • Ellen

    I am a huge fan of modernist homes but this home on the outside is quite ugly.

  • Cruella

    I love it! Seriously but not for $2mil and certainly not for my family. Its for a single , swinging couple for lovely parties. Come on Toronto, lets start think outside the box and get off our typical bandwagon for what a ‘house’ should be. Remember, cityplace brought Glass condos to Toronto – before that we all loved the typical Tridel too much bricks & mortars. We need more creative out the box conceptual thinking like this- just not at this cost

  • peachy

    this would have been better received had the exterior been a little less ‘look at me’. pale colours do not work in traditional neighbourhoods – even dark grey would have tempered the impact. modern design can work amazingly well in older areas but it the over-arching design of places like this that makes the neighbours get upset at the prospect of modern infill housing.

  • Symon Demers

    why do i have an irresistible urge to tag that virginal streetside? best of luck in keeping all that glass clean.

  • Rose

    - Beezle, awesome comment!

    - Cruella, it’s not that Toronto lacks imagination, it’s just that this house is just too ugly, modern or not. I am a big fan of modern, from Mies to Wright, but this house is not too well thought out and lacks the harmony to its surrounding like some well-designed modern houses display.

    And for your comment on CityPlace? Check out the article in TL this issue: pending lawsuit and leaking windows and all, we’ll see how long these glass towers last in Toronto weather. I bet the bricks and mortar will be back in fashion soon…

  • torstar77

    I love contemporary design but this house is ugly and lack of harmony inside and out. It has bad “FengShui” and it will have negative impact on the people who live in the house.

  • John

    Rose ——-> You are betting on an article in TL to justify your story?! Get real. I dont think Cruella said Cityplace was well built, he/she just made reference to the glass towers. Toronto weather? ugh? Think Vancouver weather is the reason glass towers are all around and being built in an earthquake prone city ? hhhmmm….dunno… I am with Cruella on this one. Anways, to each his own.

  • David W. Sturgeon

    This must be the most ugliest NEW home that I have ever laid my eyes on, that’s for sure, eh ! You would have to be right out-of-your-skull to even thnk about purchasing this super ugly estate ! Who the heck ever thought of this stupid piece of ugly and stupid property. The person must have been mixing their drugs or something like that to imagine even thinking of building this mistake ! This is NOT a House OF The Week in my books, at all !

  • Appleby

    I feel sorry for the poor people who live next door to “that” how on earth did they get planning permission it sticks out like a sore thumb?

  • ka

    I actually love this house

    it is interesting and very very cool

  • havingalook2

    I think it is great, modern, exciting, clean, but North York, say south of Bloor perhaps, but North York. But hey it is great. I guess people forget about the funky house on Coxwell just north of Dundas or what about the three houses in a row just off Leslie Street north of Eglinton Ave. And they are or were out of their time and place. Now they are simply part of the neighbourhood. I could easily and would love to live in this house if was not in North York. And isn’t it what you make it. And yes landscaping would be welcomed and I am sure there will be some come time. It is new after all. So without being pelted, I really liked it and in next to no time it will simply fit in to the “hood” as it is already there and not likely going anywhere. I would love to see what the other two houses mentioned in the piece look like, the ones part of the series of houses.

  • Gloria

    This really is an eyesore and to think of the price. No privacy and wide open to the public on a busy looking road. All the glass inside is enough to hurt your eyes and imagine all the cleaning required. It will definitely take a different sort of person to purchase this place. Good luck to the sellers!

  • Mike

    Really boring exterior and bland interior (and I love good modern design). Too bad they didn’t use a talented architect like Drew Mandel for this infill project, who would have added interest and texture. Unfortunate that neighbors have to look at this now…

  • hollybop

    What an assault on my eyes. I’ve seen a few comments about landscaping. C’mon people-how do you camouflage a barnacle like this one? I like modern too but this is just plain ugly. Imagine a cold, grey, rainy November afternoon and wanting to curl up with a good book. You arrive home to … a giant ice cube!? Go to the street view of the original house on Google Maps. It almost made me cry. There are much better uses for 2 million dollars. Great fodder for architecture classes though.

  • Christina

    I had a look at one of the other houses by this designer named SHAFT HOUSE when it was for sale last year. The builder really cheaped out on the details, I was really considering purchasing it but decided against based on that. I wouldn’t want to sink 1.8m into a house to find that same thing happened with this place.

  • cathie

    I’ve seen this house in person and its not as bad as the pictures (honestly). It looks like a medical building. For $1.9M, I’d want landscaping- the one tree on the front lawn ain’t good enough. Although maybe thats part of the design – who knows how architects think. For potential buyers, there’s definitely something better out there.

  • margarets

    The little house that was there before was better. It had two big trees and a fenced backyard that wasn’t huge, but it was private. No doubt the interior needed a bit of a makeover, but overall its traditional quality gave it a bit of charm. I’ll bet there were some cute little period details inside that old house.

  • Methinks

    I’m just here to read the comments. Priceless!

  • Myself

    Absolutely fugly.

  • pc

    Devine darling. This is not for people who don’t appreciate good architecture and design. Cookie cutter dwellers need not apply.

  • schmee

    Part of why it looks so weird is that the main image is the side of the house, not the front. A decent hedge, some nice artwork and classy mid century furniture with a few low key paint colors and this house could be alright.

    But the orange tile has to go.

  • Jimmy

    I like the house a lot, but I have some comments:
    1 – spend a few grand and get some 10-15 ft trees. Or some rough cedar bushes – they grow a foot a year.
    2 – the brick will be filthy after a year or two – have fun pressure washing your house for 3 or 4 days
    3 – with kids, they’ll soon regret the dark floors – dings and scratches coming your way a plenty
    4- this house would look wicked with ivy growing all over it
    5- I don’t think there’s enough storage space in the kitchen
    6- There’s nothing about this that isn’t kid friendly. My main floor is open like theirs. My kids scream back and forth.
    7- the little decks are awesome
    8- stacked tiles look like crap!
    9- this house needs some plants and some crap on the walls

  • Catarina

    It’s ugly. Plain, simple, ugly.

    It looks like on the outside, it should say “Dental Clinic, park in rear.”

  • Betsey

    I think this is absolutely stunning. I love it and would buy it in a second if it wasn’t so far north. The clean lines, cubist/modernist aesthetic are totally refreshing. I am so sick of boring traditional houses. All this home needs is great furniture and lots of fabulous colourful art to adorn the gallery white walls and bring life to the space. Although I do agree that the white exterior is a bit much especially given the neighbourhood and white exteriors wear very quickly with the weather, a grey exterior definitely would be better.

  • cat

    Not so impressed with this design.

  • Gaby Brossard

    I think they need some ART!!!!! just a minimal amount of course….

  • Brandon G. Donnelly

    Gorgeous house.