Back in 2014, a 96-year-old Toronto woman was trying with all her might to sell her house. Her three-bedroom apartment was situated in Bloor West Village, and it looked like any other house in that particular area.
Despite living in that area for so long, none of her neighbours had seen her place from the inside. Once they had a chance to look inside, it turned out that the lady had a bunch of surprises she’s been hiding all these years…
The Spizzirri sisters Gladys and Carla had been working together for more than a decade. Gladys had been in the real estate industry for the past 30 years and she had seen it all.
It was a normal day at work when the sisters received a call. The sisters didn’t fret much about it because, at that time, they had no idea that this call would lead to something that would shake their beliefs.
Carla picked up the phone, only to find that the caller was a 96 years old lady named Joyce. She wanted to sell her West Toronto home and she was also the owner of 148 Jane Street.
Carla was very impressed by the woman as she living all by herself at an age of 96! But Joyce’s age would be the least interesting thing that Carla would learn about the woman in the next few days.
Gladys and Carla were seasoned realty professionals and they knew several factors would need to be taken into consideration while forming the fair market value of Joyce’s home. One of the first things to be considered in the neighbourhood.
Joyce’s neighbourhood was well regarded for its rich residents. It had chic storefronts and prestigious boutique hotels. When the sisters enquired about Joyce’s apartment, her neighbours informed her that they had never been inside her home.
Joyce informed Gladys and Carla that she had been living in that apartment for the past 72 years. Immediately, the sisters were concerned because they couldn’t believe how could a 96-year-old woman maintain a three-bedroom house throughout the years.
The sisters assumed that Joyce could be a hoarder and they couldn’t even imagine what kinds of things had been piling up on the property. They were surely in for a surprise!
There is another fact that is worth mentioning- Joyce had never renovated her place in the past 72 years! It could have meant only one thing – that it would be in an un-sellable state of disrepair.
Renovating her place would have consumed a lot of time and effort. The question was – had the sisters signed an un-sellable listing?
After much consideration, Gladys and Carla settled on a price point they both felt was fair: $968,000. They presented the price in front of Joyce and she instantly agreed! But there was a new problem. Joyce, the 96-year-old owner of the house was now having double thoughts about selling her house.
She must have grown fond of her home but was that the only reason why Joyce was hesitant to put her house on the open market? Or was she hiding something behind the closed doors of 148 Jane Street?
It took a lot of assurance a few calls until Joyce finally agreed to sell her house. Nervously, Gladys and Carla walked up to the doors of 148 Jane Street.
They were expecting Joyce to be a hoarder of the highest order. But when they finally opened the door of Joyce’s apartment, they weren’t just pleasantly surprised, they were floored!
The house was like one huge time machine. Each room harked back to the years gone by and the home was pristinely maintained. It was like an Easter egg of pastel colors and period furniture. As they explored the place, they realized that each room was more jaw-dropping than the next.
Gladys and Carla realized that Joyce had decorated each and every room of the home in the prettiest pale pink, lavender, mint green and robin’s egg blue shades.
Although the house looked absolutely pristine from the surface, the sisters still decided to look closely to find what faults may be hiding within the house. Gladys and Carla were shocked to see that Joyce had maintained everything meticulously within the house.
Once a home turns 20 or even 30, it starts showing several signs of ageing. But inside Joyce’s apartment, everything was working as well as when they’d first purchased the home all those years ago.
When the sisters closely examined all the appliances, they found out that not even a single lighting fixture or piece of plumbing was out of order. Apart from the kitchen, not a room had been touched or changed in any way.
Basic appliances like ovens and refrigerators require frequent maintenance and they usually have a working life of 10-15 years. But Joyce understood what a little elbow grease was worth.
All the furniture that found its place in Joyce’s apartment was quaintly color coordinated with the rooms. It was pretty evident that Joyce’s 1950s and 60s furnishings had clearly been picked out by a woman who was obsessed with the love of interior designing.
Even if she didn’t know it at that time, those dining sets and smaller pieces of décor would prove to be seriously profitable purchases in the modern age.
As the sisters found out during their inspection, all of Joyce’s furnishings are authentic items from the 1950s and 60s. Joyce had zero realization that she was sitting on some seriously covetable pieces.
Because a house full of mid-century modern furniture is no less than an auction house goldmine. Joyce further told Gladys and Carla that a lot of furniture that had been selected all those years ago, are actually one-of-a-kind.
One good look inside the house and you would know that it is the artwork of an interior decorator. But that wasn’t the case because, in her working years, Joyce had spent her days as a seamstress. She always had a penchant for interior designing though.
She has also mentioned that she has always sought out to be an individual and likes to follow her own style. Her style and creativity certainly show in every room.
Joyce had put in her blood and sweat to decorate the whole house with metallic wallpaper, coordinating carpets and curtains, and matching upholstered seating sets. But as the sisters went from room to room, they realized that they had a big problem at hand.x
As is evident from the images, Joyce’s place looked a bit feminine. Gladys and Carla were afraid that it wouldn’t appeal to everyone.
When Joyce and her husband moved here in 1942, he gave her the green light to decorate every room exactly as she wanted.
Joyce understood that her husband also needed a place to hang out so one room was outfitted as the perfect place for her husband to plop down with a drink. The wood-panelled wet bar screams masculine!
Shortly after Gladys and Carla posted the listing on the open market, Joyce’s home went viral. People were particularly amazed that such a piece of history had been hiding in plain sight.
The free publicity that Joyce and her place got, was truly incomparable!
Gladys and Carla realized that most possible buyers would have to pay a pretty penny to spruce up the place and bring it into more modern times.
It meant that the sisters had to go back to the drawing board to determine the final price. How did Joyce’s time machine fare against what else was out there?
A home that went on the market in Texas was frozen in time just like Joyce’s. It flaunted its original 1970s décor, the realtor had the asked price listed at $355,000.
What is worth considering here is the fact that the more retro aesthetic of Joyce’s house made her 50s/60s décor even more desirable.
For the quirky house, Gladys and Carla finally decided on an initial asking price of $699,000.
It was now time to find out the perfect new homeowners for the place that Joyce had spent more than half of her life looking after.
Although it was hard for Joyce to say goodbye to her house, she was finally ready to move into an assisted living facility.
After spending most of her life maintaining her house, she decided that it was time for something smaller, and simple.