Looking for a large home for their blended family, Markus Blum and Carolyn Hanson were taken with the grand proportions of this return veranda villa and the way it sat on its site.
A former nursing home, the two-storey house had a multitude of rooms for their five children and sat well back on the section, leaving a large front yard with mature trees along the road frontage.
With a garage fronting the street in one corner of the section and a parking pad at the rear, the couple did away with parking immediately outside the front of the house. They fenced off the front yard from the drive to make it secure and private and laid more lawn so their children had plenty of room to play in. They also created two outdoor dining areas and put in a spa pool.
Although the home was in good condition when they bought it 10 years ago, they repainted the exterior and unified the hallways in a neutral colour to emphasise the light and space afforded by the high stud. "We wanted clean lines to give it a modern, classic look," says Markus.
A separate flat at the rear has been integrated with the home. It is now office space with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and laundry. This would be ideal for elderly parents or a nanny.
Last year a Poggenpohl kitchen was installed in the main open-plan living area. The centrepiece is a massive island bench topped with a slab of white Corian that required 10 people to lift into place. Its elegant wooden legs were made by a boat builder.
"The kitchen was inspired by Clive Christian, whose work you see in a lot of big American houses," says Markus.
An in-wall coffee machine and a Rangemaster oven with flue-less extractor hood are just some of the luxury touches in a kitchen that is ideal for entertaining.
"Markus is the chef of the family," says Carolyn. "I cook for the kids and he cooks for the guests."
A specially made chandelier hangs in the middle of this open-plan space above the casual lounge, which Carolyn calls "the drinking corner". The chandelier, which the couple are taking with them, features a collection of bottles of fragrances that are imported by Markus' company, Global Prestige Brands.
Chandeliers hang throughout the house, including the adjoining dining area and hall, off which is the TV room. Both the TV room and next-door library have working fireplaces that back on to each other.
Upstairs is another bathroom and six bedrooms, three of which open to the return veranda, including the master bedroom, which has a glamorous en suite courtesy of more renovation work, dark tiles, a chandelier and his and hers showerheads.
With their boys now at Kings College, Carolyn and Markus plan to move to a rural property closer to the school. As Carolyn says: "We wouldn't be leaving here if we weren't going to the country."By Graham Hepburn