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FEATURE LISTING: Authentic charmer in College Park

As their children have moved away, Vicki Niehus and Dion Stanbury are ready for a new family to take custodianship of their 140-year-old home, Olivecombe.

Vicki Niehus and Dion Stanbury’s four-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 16 Marlborough Street, College Park is imbued with an unmatched sense of history and authenticity.

The Victorian villa known as Olivecombe was built in 1883 by German migrant Frederick Julius Dechert, who went on to establish a successful career as a builder and contractor until his death in 1926.

The name Olivecombe came from the Combe family who purchased the home in 1900 and lived there until 1941.

After the Combe family, Murray and Flossie Brooker purchased Olivecombe, where they resided for 36 years before selling to Erich and Jocelyn Weigold.

Professor Erich Weigold was a renowned nuclear physicist and his study is still a prominent feature of the home.

“The study is quite amazing; it was a proper professor’s study so it has an authenticity to it,” Vicki says.

Vicki and Dion purchased the property 22 years ago and transformed it into a modern family home while maintaining its authentic charm and detailing.

As a qualified interior architect, Vicki designed the home’s interior.

“We did everything,” Vicki says. “We pulled all of the old stuff out and turned it into what it is today.”

Visitors are immediately met with a grand family home when entering through the elegant facade and stepping into the wide hallway with four-metre ceilings.

The opulent dining room is Vicki’s favourite room to host dinner parties and enjoy family gatherings. Its regal chandelier once hung in the Regent Theatre.

“The table is made for dancing on, so when the kids were little, they would get on the dining room table with their cello and violins and do little concerts,” says Vicki.

Open-plan living at the back of the home seamlessly merges indoor and outdoor spaces with huge windows allowing views of the expansive yard.

“The house has an incredible scale that allows it to feel so grand and awe-inspiring, but at the same time it has a real warmth and happy vibe to it,” Vicki says.

“It has the vibe of a cosy, family home but on a grand scale.”

Vicki has ensured the home preserves its authenticity and continues to echo its heritage, with original detailing and character fixtures.

“That’s the thing about the house,” Vicki says. “It has got history. It has got the servants’ bells and the old stables.

“If you look on the floor it still has the original brick floor and all the nicks from where the horses have scuffed their hooves.”

The stables were remodelled to a pool-side entertaining pavilion with a kitchenette, fireplace, television and speakers.

“We have had really big, fabulous parties there,” says Vicki. “We have had 18th and 21st birthday parties where we’ve changed the stable into a dancefloor.”

Garden envelops Olivegrove with neatly clipped hedges, lush lawns and ornamental pears.

Designed by Virginia Kennett, the luscious garden has been admired by hundreds of people at an Open Gardens event.

“We did the Open Garden and also hosted an Eat Your Art Out event where all the contemporary collectors who are members of the Art Gallery of South Australia came together to look at all the art,” says Vicki.

Vicki has not always designed home interiors, having spent around forty years in the film industry as a production designer.

“I studied interior architecture at university and then couldn’t get a job because of the recession, so I ended up working in film drawing up sets,” says Vicki.

“I was the production designer for Shine and The Water Diviner with Russell Crowe.”

Now their two daughters have moved out, Vicki and Dion are ready to downsize and let another family enjoy their beautiful home.

“The kids have all left home and I don’t want to be this tragedy rattling around in this big house with just the two of us,” Vicki says.

“This house needs to have life in it.”

The sale is being handled by Sally Cameron of TOOP+TOOP.