Toronto residents Adrian Tauro and Sloan Mauran recently finished their vacation home at 95 Middle Road — and the residence offers exactly the hint of mystery they hoped to achieve when they embarked on the custom residence.
The mystery starts at the front entrance of the French Regency-style house, which the couple has just listed for $28.75 million.
The house was designed to embrace an elegant yet casual vibe that “unfolds,” as the owners put it, from a front courtyard sheltered by two wings that extend toward the street from the two-story main section. To one side of the front entrance is the three-car garage, and off the other side is a whimsical garden room that is open to the sky.
“When you are coming down (the drive), you can see our garden room a little, and it piques your curiosity. You wonder, ‘What is it?’” Tauro says.
Adds his wife: “It’s a magical, very private space, with lots of atmosphere.”
Accessible from the first-floor guest suite, the garden room is a trellis-covered space, with a cut-out window that looks out to the front lawn.
“You can have your coffee and tea, and enjoy the outside space,” Mauran says. “It’s nice for guests. When my father visits, we can have breakfast there.”
The house was a collaborative effort among Coral Gables architect Rafael Portuondo of Portuondo Perotti Architects, who designed the architecture; Keith Williams of Nievera Williams Design, who provided the landscape plan; and Mauran, an interior designer with JF Brennan Design, who furnished the interiors. The contractor was Wildes Builders.
Straight on from foyer and stair hall is the great room, which unfolds to a poolside loggia. In the other wing, along with the garage, are the dining room, kitchen and family room. All the main rooms on the first floor open to the backyard gardens and pool area.
Upstairs — along with a bedroom for the owners’ daughter and a guest-bedroom suite — is the master suite. It comprises a bedroom with a sitting area accessing a pool-view balcony, marble-appointed bathrooms and custom-fitted closets.
With their daughter in college, Tauro and Mauran are planning to travel more, so they say a pied-a-terre in town may better serve their needs. As such, the four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath house — with 8,385 square feet of living space inside and out — is listed with agent Suzanne Frisbie of the Corcoran Group. The furniture is available through separate negotiations.
On a little less than a half-acre and one house west of the ocean, the house was the first to be developed in an Estate Section subdivision recently carved from the estate of the late billionaire John W. Kluge.
The house is filled with natural materials, Tauro points out, including light oak and French limestone flooring, book-matched marble slabs and touches of coquina stone.
He also loves his La Cornue stove, his wife says.
“I can barely make toast, but Adrian loves to cook,” Mauran says. “He has a chef’s kitchen with all the bells and whistles. I think of the aesthetics, he thinks of the food.”
Included in the Downsview kitchen are professional-grade appliances and a butler’s pantry with a coffee station and cabinets that hide away small appliances. The Caesarstone counters are complemented by large expanses of Calacatta-marble for backsplashes. There’s also an adjacent breakfast area.
A bar that conceals temperature-controlled wine storage in the dining room is a feature that invites formal entertaining, Mauran says. But the house also is set up for more informal gatherings, thanks to the side yard’s outdoor kitchen — easily accessed from the main kitchen — with a pizza oven and barbecue grill.
“It’s a Kalamazoo grill, one of the best you can buy in the United States,” Tauro explains. “It’s gas, but you can put hardwood in it, so it makes mind-blowing barbecue.”
The design team put a lot of thought into the outdoor areas, creating spaces that fill a variety of needs.
“The (rear) loggia is just for seating, and the dining is in a self-contained space for dinner parties,” Mauran says. “In a few years, the trees will grow up around it and create a canopy.”
She was also pleased with the landscaping as well as the infinity-edge pool, which “looks like it’s been dropped into the grass.”
Williams’ outdoor lighting design, meanwhile, adds a special allure to the gardens once the sun sets. It “expands one’s experience of the house,” Mauran says.