House of the week: Heathcote Valley

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 05:00 30/07/2014

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Sprawling across 840 square metres in Christchurch's Heathcote Valley, there's plenty of room in this home for guests - the problem is they'll never want to leave.

Owners John and Lynn Walley have resided in the luxurious mansion for the past 10 years, but say the time has come to downsize.

"When we put it on the market we went through a few sleepless nights because we didn't really want to sell it," says John.

"It's a very splendid place. I hate the thought of leaving it."

Designed by local architect Don Donnithorne, the home was crowned House of the Year in 1997.

It is located just 10 minutes from central Christchurch, but a 4363sqm section with manicured gardens, an orchard containing olives, apricots, apples and plums, and a view of Castle Rock gives the property a rural retreat feel.

As John puts it, the site is "isolated without being isolating".

Not that you would even need to venture out anywhere, as the home is equipped with all the facilities needed for both work and play.

A heated indoor swimming pool, complete with a sauna, spa, bar and changing rooms makes it the ideal venue for pool parties.

"The biggest party we ever had was 200 people," John says.

"And the house easily absorbed that many people."

There are three main living areas, and an underground wine cellar which has been converted into a dining room is another unique entertaining option.

The house has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a stylish kitchen containing "two or three of everything you would have in a normal house".

Upstairs is an executive office which can hold 10 people, complete with its own kitchenette, which is perfect for working from home.

With so much room for activity, John's favourite space in the house is surprisingly simple.

"I just like sitting out under the pavilion with a good book in the summer."

The home is currently for sale in the $4 million range. Click here to view the listing. 

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