Ahead of the Pack

When Vaughan, Ont.-based designer Miriam Manzo was ready to build her dream house, she stumbled upon a three-acre lot in an older part of the city that caught her eye. With a lush landscape of...

When Vaughan, Ont.-based designer Miriam Manzo was ready to build her dream house, she stumbled upon a three-acre lot in an older part of the city that caught her eye. With a lush landscape of trees covering the acreage, she knew this was the perfect site for her custom home. "I had been waiting for this moment," she exclaims. "I had already designed a floor plan five years ago, and with my husband's expertise as a builder, developer, and contractor, I knew we could turn this property into the home of our dreams."

A Vision Transformed

The first order of business for Miriam was to scrap her original floor plan and completely reimagine her design to better suit the property's 300-foot-wide frontage. After walking the land to assess the landscape, she carefully decided which trees to preserve and which to clear. "Initially, I had envisioned a 6,000-square-foot house, but after collaborating with the architect and considering my plans, we settled on a magnificent five-bedroom, 7,800-square-foot home with a remarkable 3,000-square-foot basement boasting nearly 12-foot ceilings."

Cozy living room with built-in fireplace and wall mirror Cozy living room with built-in fireplace and wall mirror

Must-Haves and More

Being a designer and a home-staging entrepreneur, Miriam had a clear vision of the must-have features she desired in her new home. "I knew I wanted nanny quarters, a home gym, a bar and wine cellar for my extensive collection of over 1,000 bottles, a theatre, and a catering kitchen in the basement," she reveals. "Not only that, I wanted to create separate 'his' and 'hers' spaces, rather than just closets. We have two sets of garages, one for my husband and our kids, and another for me. We also have separate offices and bathrooms. This level of organization eliminates a lot of anxiety for both of us."

Modern dining room with ceiling crown moulding and dining table Beautiful kitchen with ceiling decor and wooden floor Modern dining room with ceiling crown moulding and dining table
Beautiful kitchen with ceiling decor and wooden floor

Timeless Elegance

When it came to designing the interior, Miriam stayed true to her signature style—clean, traditional, and timeless. She opted for classical elements, incorporating French doors, panelled walls, and archways. "Throughout the house, I use antique mirrors that reflect the stunning outdoors. I have a fondness for detail, and I love enhancing rooms with decorative ceilings," she explains. "By adding layers of decor and attention to detail, I believe a well-designed room can be beautiful even before it's furnished."

Attention to Detail

Miriam left no stone unturned in crafting her dream home. "Comfort is my priority for everyone who visits," she emphasizes. Each bedroom has its own bathroom, and the nanny suite even boasts a separate laundry room. The house features an elevator and a fully accessible bathroom in the guest suite. One of Miriam's favorite spaces is the butler's pantry, where she keeps her cherished espresso maker, tea drawer, and wine fridge stocked with Champagne. It is also the display area for her prized antique Limoges china. Outside, the yard boasts a cabana and multiple outdoor living areas, adorned with fountains and manicured gardens of boxwoods, roses, and hydrangeas, providing a picturesque backdrop for her annual mother-daughter dinner parties.

Amazing patio design ideas Old wood oven in a custom timeless kitchen Amazing patio design ideas
Old wood oven in a custom timeless kitchen

Dream Home, Future Plans

Miriam and her family have cherished their palatial abode for seven years, but she knows that it will be time to move on and build their next home in the next five to ten years. "While this is most definitely my dream home, I always knew it wouldn't be my last. My three children are almost grown, and the house has become too large for just my husband and me," she reveals. "To me, this is a family home meant to be enjoyed by families."

Photography by Larry Arnal

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