House of the Week: 50 Farnham Avenue
50 Farnham Ave, or "Farnham Lodge" if you want to get formal, is a real silver fox of a house. It's one of the oldest residences in Toronto, built in 1844 for chemist Edward Hooper (founder of Hooper's Pharmacy), and is listed in the City's inventory of heritage properties. Despite its impressive history, the Georgian-style house has been thoroughly renovated. Various owners have left their respective stamps on it over the years, including brick facing in the early 1900s and a recent verandah addition. This old lodge doesn't really look its age, at all.
Hooper couldn't have known that the area he chose for his estate â what was once an empty six-acre lot â would become a prime piece of midtown real estate. The property is just minutes from transit and amenities at Yonge and St Clair, and there's ample space for parking. The house is set unusually far back from the street and hidden from view by shrubs and cedars. It's more Deerhurst than Deer Park.
Those who like their historical houses to look appropriately old might be disappointed with the house's current interior. This is no museum: the dining room is outfitted with mirrored panels, marble floors can be found throughout, and some of the original fireplaces have been swapped out for modern styles. Some features have been retained, though, including high baseboards and coffered ceilings. Hooper is probably rolling in his grave over that pastel purple bedroom, but I'm sure a present-day princess would like it just fine.
This house offers a chance to own a small piece of Toronto's history without sacrificing contemporary style or fancy finishes. The house feels bright and livable and needs next to no updating, unless you feel compelled to remove the seashell wallpaper in bedroom four's ensuite. There's nothing more satisfying than peeling off ugly wallpaper, provided it doesn't put up much of a fight.
MOVE ON IF
Give it a pass if glitzy French countryside just isn't your style. Another potential dealbreaker could be the lack of space in the backyard--the pergola-covered flagstone patio is a nice touch, but there is a definite lack of grass. Be prepared to take your dog around to the side or front, and abandon all dreams of an in-ground pool (sigh).
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