House of the Week: $2.3 million for a Victorian semi in the Annex with a backyard WFH retreat

House of the Week: $2.3 million for a Victorian semi in the Annex with a backyard WFH retreat

Address: 198 Howland Avenue
Neighbourhood: The Annex
Agent: Alix Johnston, Royal LePage Estate Realty, Brokerage
Price: $2,298,900
Previously sold for: $1,060,000, in 2013

The place

A three-bed, three-bath semi in the Annex. It’s a late 19th-century Victorian with an original red-brick façade. On the inside, at 2,770 square feet across three storeys, this place has a bright, recently renovated interior, with original wainscotting and ceiling cornices. Previous owners added a square, red-brick extension at the back.

The history

The house was built in 1890 by the Howland Land Syndicate, an historic real estate development group.

Fast-forward to 2013, when the current owners, who work in finance and marketing, bought this place from renowned Toronto photographer Elizabeth Siegfried for just over $1 million.

Over the next year, the owners did a bunch of renovations, putting in a new kitchen and merging the top-floor bedrooms into a primary suite. It all cost approximately $350,000.

After moving to Oakville in 2017, they kept the house and leased it to friends, for $7,000 a month.

When the pandemic hit, the owners converted the backyard shed into an office, giving their friends additional workspace during lockdown. The renters recently bought another place down the street, so the owners decided to list the property.

The tour

As part of the 2013 reno, the owners completely rebuilt the wood-burning fireplace in the living room. They also added a marble backsplash:

The dining room has a bay window and original wainscotting:

In 2013, the sellers installed marble countertops in the kitchen, which also has Viking and Miele appliances:

Built as part of the posterior addition, the family room has built-in storage and a bay window overlooking the backyard:

Up on the second floor, the owners furnished this space as an open-concept sitting room:

The owners used this part of the sitting room as an office:

There are heated floors and a skylight in the second-floor four-piece bathroom:

This second-floor bedroom is part of the rear addition. It’s got built-in shelving and a view of the backyard:

The other bedroom on the second floor has its own walk-in closet:

In the primary bedroom, located up on the third floor, there’s wall-to-wall custom storage and a window bench overlooking the front yard:

The five-piece primary ensuite bathroom has a soaker tub, heated floors and two skylights:

The primary bathroom has a walk-out to this nearly 200-square-foot private deck:

There’s wall-to-wall built-in storage in the basement rec room:

Photographer Elizabeth Siegfried used this windowless room in the basement as her darkroom. The current owners converted it into a workout area:

Here’s the backyard. As part of their initial renovations, in 2013, the owners installed a new stone patio:

Big selling point

During the pandemic, the sellers converted this backyard shed into a WFH retreat:

All this space needed was a fresh coat of paint, some furniture and a new carpet (it gets a strong WiFi signal from the main house):

Possible deal breaker

The house doesn’t have a garage or driveway. But if you’re worried about parking, whoever buys this place will have an opportunity to take over two gated parking spaces nearby, which the current owners are leasing from a neighbour for a total of $170 a month.

By the numbers
  • $2,298,900
  • $7,534 in property taxes
  • 2,770 square feet
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 2 leased parking spaces
  • 1 fireplace