Dream home: Luxe living on the water in Sudbury
Beautiful but homey: Pensee Sami and Fadel Ishak’s vision for a well-designed family home sounded do-able. But reality had other plans.
With a long list of must-haves, from exceptional materials and design features to top-quality workmanship, building a custom residence in Sudbury in the late 1990s proved problematic.
Herringbone flooring, a curved exterior wall in the living room, high-end finishes: everything was either a “headache” or meant more time and work, Sami recalls.
But more than 20 years later, she and her husband happily reflect on their enjoyment of the 6,200-square-foot home where they raised a son and daughter, hosted both children’s weddings and entertained countless guests.
“It looks very beautiful but it is very homey,” says Sami, a retired family doctor. “We’ve enjoyed it to the max.”
But with their offspring and three grandkids now living in the GTHA and Ishak, also a doctor, winding down his career, “it’s time to move,” she says. The five-bedroom brick house on three levels is too big for them.
Listing agent Martinus Geleynse calls their $3.6-million, one-acre property on Ramsey Lake a “relative palace” in the city of 165,000, a four-hour drive north of Toronto.
The couple designed and built it after the family of four outgrew their previous home. But some aspects of construction were challenging due to their wish list and Ishak’s “very detailed” approach, Sami says. “He liked to make everything look right.”
They made several trips to Toronto where a friend guided their search for solid doors, Italian brass door hardware, antique marble fireplace mantel and stonework for the exterior. A team of skilled installers — flown in specially — spent weeks laying the herringbone oak flooring on all three levels of the house.
Then, when Ishak saw a picture of a cabana in a book about France, they had it duplicated on the water’s edge in limestone with a fireplace, sauna and sitting area, Sami explains.
It became a favourite spot for their daughter whose wedding reception for 100-plus guests was held in the backyard. “It was a memorable night,” says the mother of the bride, adding that even the band stayed till 2 a.m.
Over the years, many hours have been spent “cooking and being together” in the roomy eat-in kitchen with adjacent family room, says Sami, noting sleepovers for 18 people at Christmas and Thanksgiving are not uncommon.
She and Ishak relax over a drink in the living room with its 13-foot ceiling, semi-circular back wall and walkout to the huge raised terrace, designed to provide unobstructed views of the lake.
The primary bedroom suite, which offers a sweeping panorama of the sunrise over the water, is another of Sami’s preferred places in the home.
Geleynse, senior vice-president of sales for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, remarks that every aspect of the “very livable, tremendously comfortable” home is top quality.
“When you walk in, it’s like ‘Whoa!’ It’s really impressive,” he says, describing the “breathtaking” ample foyer, arched windows and marble flooring and baseboards.
“They really did not skimp out on anything,” says Gelenyse, pointing out that the hardwood flooring was even used in the lower-level rec room.
Sudbury is a “gorgeous place,” he says, citing outdoor activities, humidity-free summers and winters with sunny skies and crisp snow among its attributes. Muskoka-style Ramsey Lake, adds Gelenyse, is close to downtown and a “fantastic” dining scene.