Thursday, May 24, 2012

Japanese Tea House - Edgemere Estate

This is how the Japanese Tea House at Edgemere Estate in Oakville might have looked over a century ago. I took this picture several weeks ago when I wandered snuck on to property at the lakefront in Oakville. It was another day out with my camera when I decided to see what all the fuss was about at Edgemere.

The 12 acre property boasts 1,000 feet of prime Lake Ontario shore-line.

It was only two years ago that the estate was listed for sale at $45 Million, earning the title of the most expensive residential property ever listed in Canada. It reportedly sold for $35.5 Million to Niche Development.
For Developer Marc Hewitt from Niche, it was important that the property did not end up carved into multiple detached home lots. "It's really the last big, intact, romantic estate on this part of the lake and it would be a real shame to cut it up into bits and pieces. Even if the heritage buildings remained intact, the linkages would be lost'.

Today the development of 30 ultra-luxurious condominiums has begun, and the 32,000 sq foot mansion that is currently still standing, will soon be demolished.
Many of the original structures on the property will remain and be restored, the stone Tea House is one of the more romantic features that will be developed.

Edgemere Private Residences -  TeaHouse

I was excited when I wandered through the garden nursery rooms, boat house, gardens, and discovered room after room of original structures. I knew little about the property development at that point and kept thinking the entire time I snapped away with my camera, 'I really hope they don't tear all this down'.
I have since delved into the plans that are well into play for the new residences and the amenities that will be offered to the home owners.

Nursery room at Edgemere

artists rendering of the nursery room and gardens at Edgemere  Private Residences

The properties at Edgemere Private Residences are described as 'elegant condominiums' ranging in size from 2,000 to 5,000 sq feet, with list prices starting at $2.5 Million. There are ten buildings each designed with three residences, carefully situated to offer spectacular views of Lake Ontario.
Parking will be underground to minimize the footprint on the grounds.

The 5,714 sq ft residence is currently still available and is the most expensive with a list price of $6,995,000 {albeit that you may be able to capture it for the preview price of $ 6,645,250.}

artists rendering Edgemere Private Residences

Ten buildings with three condominiums in each.

Exploring the turn of the century style English garden and property of Edgemere, I continually thought back to the families who built the extravagant original home, and the enjoyment they received from the striking vista. It is a unique site line looking back from the lake at the seawall, the Japanese Tea House, the current estate home and the cranes in the background carving out a new oasis.

I have to admit that the condominium idea is not for me ...... at least right now {albeit these residences seem more like houses built side-by-side}. But I do like Marc Hewitt's vision for the property and I feel it does fit the shoreline of the community better than another development of streets filled with mansions blocking the lake view.
Although the land is zoned for 30 percent site coverage, the developers are using only 11 percent for new buildings and restoring much of the existing stone structures. The property includes a stone edged creek that runs to Lake Ontario and will feature mostly gardens. There are several hundred mature tree's on the property which are protected by the Oakville Tree Protection plan; Niche will add many more mature tree's the landscape plans.

aerial view of Edgemere boat house

After exploring the property for a while....... I went to leave and discovered the gates closed and locked. I was inside with my car. I thought I would need to explain myself to the main office so that I could leave. As welcoming as they were allowing me to wander the estate and take pictures of it's past, they simply opened the gates for me to drive out with my treasure of great images.
It's pleasing to know that many of the buildings will be used or restored to bring back the Victorian charm of the estate property. It will be a few years before the project is complete, but possibly I will be able to steal a few images of the marriage of the aged beauty of Edgemere Estate as it meets the new Private Residences.

Here are some images from my trek on the property......

one of two charming original bridges over the creek

I imagine many heart-to-heart conversation took place at the Japanese Tea House

stone from Lake Ontario and aged beams create the Tea House pillars

Original boat house in the background and the lake wall will be restored.

one of the garden rooms

can you imagine what this was like originally - it will be stunning restored

note the stone wall topped with iron gate in the background - this remains around the property

The charm of an old door handle, the patina of lake stones, and the design of a Japanese Tea House mixes with a new design for living, creating a romantic elegance that is Edgemere.


  1. Dear Katharine, this is so utterly beautiful and a step back in time! Thank you for the carefully edited and photographed post! I loved wandering this exquisite property with you...the faded and crumbling garden structures are my favorite, time has only made them more beautiful and timeless. N.xo

  2. This looks like a wonderful place. I enjoyed the photos!

  3. Edgemere and your photos of it are so amazing Katherine. I hope that this estate can remain intact and for the most part undeveloped. I loved your photo of that bridge. So pretty!!!
    Thank you Katherine for coming over and leaving your sweet note at my place.
    sending hugs...

  4. Looks like an amazing place. I just found your blog. Love it and reading all your past posts! Great stuff.


  5. You must have felt like you stepped back in time. Sounds like a delightful afternoon and I love Oakville and the developer looks to be doing the best with this amazing property. Now, I just need a few million and we can retire there. Will watch for it's progress as it sounds like an interesting development. Happy weekend. XO

  6. beautiful work!
    Can we follow each other?:X