House of the Week: Architecturally unique Canastota home had instant ‘wow factor’ for its owners

CANASTOTA, N.Y. – When Annette Keil, with her husband, John, first walked through the front door of the three-level contemporary home at 3560 Knolls Avenue East in 2000, a simple word came to her lips.


“Every room hit the right spot for us,” she said. “The house itself called us the moment we walked in.”

The four-bedroom and four-and-a-half-bathroom home, nestled in the middle of almost wooded nine acres overlooking Canastota Creek, was designed by James Coulter in 1986.

The architecturally unique home features soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, custom woodworked ceilings and trim, and indoor and outdoor balconies. There is nearly 4,300 square feet of living space.

After returning to Central New York after living for years in Melbourne, Australia, the Keil’s were blown away by the home’s “wow factor.”

“There was nothing not to like,” Annette said about the property. “I had never seen anything quite like this.”

She said that most kitchens at homes they looked at felt “too small,” with not enough cabinets space.

Not so here.

“It is not cramped at all,” she said. “I can’t fill all the cabinets.”

They gave the kitchen a “face-left” in 2019, with brand-new appliances, built-in oven, wine cooler, glass tile backsplash, and quartz counters.

A dining area in the kitchen, surrounded by windows and sliders, when combined with the adjacent, open dining room, creates a large entertaining space which can easily accommodate 20 people.

The vaulted family room was “our hangout space.” There is a huge brick fireplace, triple sliders onto the back deck, and an indoor balcony looking down into the lower level’s exercise room.

A stone garden, near the staircase, has peaceful water fountains, adds a “Zen-like” quality to the home.

There are two “owner’s suites” on the second floor. Both rooms are large and have walk-in closets and exterior balconies.

Annette actually prefers the smaller of the two because of its interior balcony which overlooks the living room and its incredible bathroom.

“It definitely makes one feel as if they are in a luxury spa or resort,” she said of the bathroom.

It has a skylight, cedar woodwork, double vanities, and a large, jetted tub.

The home’s lower level was used by their son as an apartment when he attended college. It has its own bedroom, full bath, family room with a wood stove, laundry room and enormous workshop.

“Anything you can imagine can be built there,” Annette jokes.

The lower level’s exercise room has six skylights so it could be used as a sunroom or child’s playroom.

Outdoors, the yard is wooded and private, but does not feel “remote or isolated.”

Located at the end of quiet, family-friendly cul-de-sac, the property was a great place for the couple’s two sons to grow up.

They played and explored in the woods and caught fish in the creek. The flat backyard was great for soccer drills and penalty kicks.

A wooden walkway wraps around the house and brings guests from the front door to the amazing series of decks along the back of the home.

The roof, some of the windows, a triple slider door, and the HVAC system have been replaced recently.

“We think the place is ready to go and hope someone will love living here as much as we have,” Annette said.

With their sons having up grown up, the couple no longer need this much space. They plan to remain in the area for now before possibly looking for a warmer climate.

For more information about this property, please contact Realtor Don Gendron of JF Real Estate. His contact info is below.


Address: 3560 Knolls Avenue East, Canastota, N.Y. 13032

Price: $440,000

Size: 4,275 square feet

Acreage: 8.67 acres

Monthly Mortgage: $1,458 (based on the national average rate of 2.86%, according to Freddie Mac on September 16, for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment. Fees and points not included.)

Taxes: $13,012 (Based on assessed value of $321,900)

Built: 1986

School District: Canastota

Kitchen: Owner Annette Keil worried about finding a large kitchen when looking for a home in 2000. She had no problems here. “The kitchen is not cramped, and I can’t fill all the cabinets,” she said. Given a “face-lift” in 2019, the new “chef’s-worthy” kitchen features quartz counters, glass tile backsplash, and built-in microwave, oven, and wine cooler. The appliances are all new. There is a “great” walk-in pantry. There is a large dining area, surrounded by windows and sliders, which runs adjacent to the formal dining room. When combined, the space can accommodate large dinner parties of at least 20 people.

Living areas: This contemporary three-level home is architecturally unique. And has almost 4,300 square feet of living space. Visitors enter through large white wooden doors and will come across a peaceful stone garden with water fountains. Vaulted ceilings, brick walls, and floor-to-window windows are seen throughout. Though the grounds are wooded, plenty of sunlight stream in because of the large number of windows, skylights, and sliders. The cozy living room had an amazing brick wood-burning fireplace and looks down into the lower level’s exercise room. A relaxing study has bookshelves and a triple slider door out onto the deck.

Bedrooms: There are four bedrooms in the house. There are two large owner’s suites on the second floor. The first has a balcony overlooking Canastota Creek and an interior one which looks down into the living room and exercise room. The second one is actually larger and has a walk-in cedar closet with cubbies in the back. A third bedroom upstairs has a private bathroom and is currently being used as a home office since the pandemic started.

Bathrooms: The “first owner’s suite” bathroom is Annette Keil’s favorite room. To her, it feels like visiting a “luxury spa.” The bathroom features new quartz counters, cedar woodwork, double vanities, a built-in jetted tub, and a skylight. Each of the other bedrooms on the second floor has a private bathroom. The lower level has a full bath. The shower has double heads. There is a first-floor half-bath.

Lower level: The lower level of the home was used as an apartment by the owner’s son while he was in college. It had everything he needed except a kitchen. There is a bedroom, full bathroom, and a family room with a cozy wood stove. The space has an incredible sunroom, with six skylights, which is being used as an exercise room. It could be used as a child’s playroom. The level also has a laundry room, storage space, and a huge workshop for projects.

Outdoors: This home is nestled in the middle of a nine-acre lot at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a family-friendly neighborhood. Set well off the road, Keil compares the driving down the long driveway to entering the “Batcave” because of the cover of trees. Though the property is “quiet and peaceful” it not “remote or isolated. It is just outside of Canastota and is a short drive to Syracuse, Utica, and Rome. The home has decks, wooden walkways, and balconies. The three-car garage are extra-wide and there is room for lawn equipment. The property overlooks Canastota Creek and Keil’s son enjoyed exploring and fishing along its banks. The yard was flat enough for soccer drills and games.

Agent: Don Gendron

JF Real Estate

Address: 2 Clinton Square, Suite 102, Syracuse, N.Y. 13202

Phone: (315) 362-1993 (office) or (315) 345-9566 (cell)

Email: [email protected]


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If you know of a beautiful or interesting house currently up for sale, please consider sending a nomination for it to be featured as a future House of the Week. Send an email with the listing to [email protected].

Do you know of any older homes in Central New York which have fallen on hard times but have a lot of potential should they be restored to their original grandeur? A fixer-upper with a lot of potential? Consider nominating them to our new feature, “Save this Home,” in which we will spotlight grand houses of the past around Central New York that need to be saved. Send nominations to [email protected].

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