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Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor

Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor

Elana Safronsky is a lifestyle writer and managing editor of HGTV.ca

   

HGTV.ca Original Home Tour: Rana & Richard Florida's Backyard Oasis, Toronto

Posted by Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor Wednesday, September 29, 2010 2:48 PM EDT

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...And it's not over!  An abode such a that of Rana and Richard Florida would not be sans an outdoor oasis, and so in Part II (see Part I) of our peruse we bring you the pool, the pool house and the herringbone terra cotta...(that's what I wanted for my yard, but didn't get, *sigh*.)


View toward back of house.

HGTV: I really see the traditional roots of the house in the exterior, and yet the update is not too ornamental, how would you describe the look?
Rana Florida:  The cedar roof and copper treatments on the exterior makes it very reminiscent of a Cape Cod style house. 

HGTV: Tell me about the backyard transformation -- was there already a pool?
RF: Putting in a pool was our contribution. Growing up our family had a swimming pool. My five siblings and I had a blast spending our summer days in it...and so did all of our friends and family.  My mother was so fed up with the constant stream of visitors that she forced my father to get rid of it.  Since that trauma I have always longed for a pool.

The yard looked so tiny, I thought there is no way we can get a pool back here.  We hired landscape architect Mark Hartley and his team to design a backyard which would optimize indoor/outdoor living and take full advantage of the ravine-side setting -- I couldn't believe what they were able to do! They transformed the whole space and gave us a sleek, long pool which cantilevers off the edge of the ravine.  I love waking up in the morning and jumping right in.  We spend most of our free time lounging poolside.



The pool; the view!

HGTV: Pros and cons of a pool?
RF: Mostly pros.  We love the backyard bbqs and enjoy reading or just hanging out with a glass of Prosecco by the pool.  There’s a hot tub as well.  Cons: season is too short!

HGTV: The view...I can't...

RF: I know! Where else in North America can you have a house with a yard and a pool on the ravine IN THE CITY?!  It really is an oasis back here. The family room has French doors that open out onto the terrace; we have a private deck off the master suite which is great for pajama coffee parties; Richard’s guitar room (which could be another bedroom) has a charming Juliet balcony looking out onto a massive oak tree; the third floor bedrooms look out over the ravine and have skyline views of the city.


The pool house; roll-up garage door.

HGTV: You have a pool house.  What does one actually do in a pool house?

RF: It was a garage, and all we did was put in closets and some outdoor furniture and tada, it’s now the pool house.  A client of ours in Australia sent us a surfboard and we left the garage door on, so it looks very Venice Beachy.  We also installed an outdoor TV complete with a Wii so when the nieces and nephews visit, they pretty much live here.  Also, Richard hired a great team to add an integrated audio/video system inside and out. I still can’t figure out how to operate it but it’s so wonderful to have music throughout.  


Pool house interior; more great chairs!

HGTV: For what you thought was a small yard, you've managed to fit in everything.
RF: It's like having a whole other wing to the house.  Our amazing design team created several different rooms for eating, entertaining, lounging and cooking.  We don’t drive a lot and share one car so we gave up our garage to turn it into a pool house.  What used to be our driveway is now the outdoor dining area, and the patio [off the family room] is used for entertaining and lounging.


Al fresco dining table; herringbone terra cotta.

HGTV: LOVE the herringbone terra cotta – whose decision was that?

RF: That was Sasha and Milosh’s (Studio Pyramid) beautiful design.


Al fresco dining area; pool house.

HGTV: Tell me, how does your home make you feel?

RF: Lucky! [Good answer.]  I can’t believe we are fortunate enough to live in it.  I often don’t want to go on vacation because we travel so much for work and our home is such a fabulous retreat.

HGTV: Anything you would change?

RF: I might opt for a more modern kitchen, bathrooms and staircase.  I would also knock down the kitchen wall for more of an open feel.  I love to cook and would love to have a view of the pool and ravine from the kitchen.  I would also love a built in wine cellar...  We are constantly changing and rearranging -- more art and more chairs!

See? One can have everything...  More thoughts?

Topics: Pool, Backyard, Pool House, Exterior

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