By Adriana Ermter
Photography by Ryan Fung
Barry Cohen may just have the secret ingredient for exquisite luxury real estate: He works with an anonymous designer who’s so meticulous and innovative that he only creates one new home from scratch selectively. “This man is successful because he’s not just a designer,” says Cohen, who is the broker for RE/MAX, Barry Cohen Homes Inc. in Toronto. “He’s an artist, and every time he puts his soul into creation, the result is a big wow! He tours the world and brings features, amenities and ideas from everywhere — things I’ve never seen before. And he never wants to be named because he wants the home’s quality to be the jewel, to take all the credit.”
In this case, credit is very well deserved. This extraordinary manor is this coveted creator and Cohen’s latest collaboration — it’s a stunning $18.5 million gated estate located at 101 Old Colony Road in the prestigious Bayview Gardens neighbourhood. Situated on one of the most sought-after streets in the York Mills and Bayview area, the five-bedroom, 10-bathroom home is nestled on nearly an acre and is surrounded by lush greenery. A magnet for the rich and famous, the high-profile enclave is renowned for its large lots, mansion-style homes and its easy access to the private Donalda Golf Club, the nearly 150-year-old exclusive Granite Club and a multitude of beautiful parks, shopping areas and private schools. “The area is spectacular, and the home is palatial,” says Cohen. “Beyond the gates and heated circular driveway, the estate’s front Indiana limestone exterior with a simulated slate roof rises up through the trees to truly stand out.”
Once inside the oversized, premium mahogany wood, double front doors, a soaring cathedral gallery welcomes with heated white Italian large-slab porcelain floors that lead to 15,000 square feet of glorious living space. The first impression is pure elegance. Transitional by design, muted and neutral tones reign throughout the home with pops of gold shining from the light fixtures, auburn beckoning from the formal dining room’s velvet chairs and nickel detailing in the art deco railing lining the floating staircase. Glass-panel skylights stream natural light, giving everything an ethereal vibe, while linear steam-mist wall fireplaces add a cozy warmth to several rooms, including the gourmet kitchen. Adjacent to the breakfast area, this chef-inspired kitchen contains top-notch amenities and appliances, complete with a steam oven, pot filler, walk-though pantry, an integrated coffee maker, glass partitioned drawers and an expansive nine-foot island. Customdesigned contemporary cabinetry with walnut wood accents line the walls from floor to ceiling, while large windows overlook the manicured back gardens. “You want to live here,” says Cohen. “Not only can the entire family park all of their vehicles in the two showroom-like garages, but the 2,000-square-foot primary suite has 13-foot coffered ceilings, a large walk-in closet with two centre islands, a separate seating area, a breakfast bar, a huge walkout patio and a seven-piece ensuite with a 440-pound heat-retaining tub. It’s so private and comfortable that you won’t want to leave.”
The lower level encapsulates the ultimate in family living and entertaining. Beyond the recreational and lounge areas reside a temperature-controlled wine cellar, a piano bar with a grand piano, a service kitchen and a 1,500-square-foot custom and hotel-worthy spa, complete with a Zen massage room, manicure-pedicure seating, an elevated hot tub, dry sauna, hydro-massage bed, martini bar, plus an exercise and weight room. There is also a 750-square-foot theatre room with three-tiered, activated-vibrating floors, nine seats and 12-built-in speakers — making it the ideal place for family movie nights. There’s even a stage at the front of the theatre room where children and other artistic members of the family can sing and dance to their heart’s content while everyone enjoys a snack and beverage.
Perhaps the most scenic space on the property is the lower level’s vast windows and the walkout into the resort-like backyard. Green, airy and ensconced by tall, mature trees for privacy, the picturesque area houses a large glass-enclosed saltwater pool. To its side is an outdoor cabana, bar, lounge chairs, gas firepit and three-piece bathroom. “The resort-style gardens are the perfect finale to the ultimate home,” says Cohen.
“When we first started idealizing this masterpiece, the designer and I said, we’re either going to go big here or we’re going to go home. We went big and haven’t looked back. It’s truly an exquisite place.”