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FEATURE LISTING: Country beauty at Belair

David and Susanne Oakley were reminded of grand stone manors in the Cotswolds when they purchased their Belair address 32 years ago and are now ready to hand over their luxury home to a new custodian.

Anyone who goes along to an open inspection at 32 Gloucester Avenue just for a stickybeak, first heed a warning from current owners David and Susanne: you might just end up buying it.

It was the charm of its solid stone walls, cottage-style windows, and expansive gardens over two titles of land – more than 1600 square metres – that David and Susanne fell in love with 32 years ago.

But, as David explains, the plan was never to buy.

“We had a lovely house at Kingswood at the time,” says David.

“I had plans of building up and out. I saw this house at Belair was for sale and I went along just to look at it to see how much room the staircase took up on the ground floor.

“I knew the agent who was selling it and he said, ‘this is the perfect house for the Oakleys!’

“I said, ‘you can relax, I’m just having a look at the staircase’.

“But we fell in love and decided to buy it. We’ve never regretted it, it’s been a lovely home.”

Not long before purchasing 32 Gloucester Avenue, David (originally from London) and Susanne had taken a holiday back to England.

“We’d been to the Cotswolds which is a lovely part of the world with villages and houses with honey-golden stone. This house was built with Carey Gulley stone, which we felt had that similar feel,” says David.

The home was built in 1947 by the chairman of the British Motor Corporation.

The next owners were lawyers, who made some alterations to the interior. They then sold the home to a professional golfer.

David and Susanne are just the fourth owners in the property’s 75-year history.

On the ground floor they’ve added a large family room (which David previously used as a study), car ports and the most recent and largest addition – an upstairs master bedroom with en suite.

The new upstairs addition was built in sympathy with the home’s heritage and features the original exterior stone walls which bring a gorgeous rustic warmth to the room.

Similarly, the family room also features exposed stone.

The picturesque tree-lined grounds and character facade of the home even set the backdrop for the wedding of the couple’s daughter Claire and her husband Ryan.

David says it will be hard to part with their beautiful home but, being in their mid-to-late 70s, the couple has decided to downsize and move nearer their daughter Claire who lives at Cumberland Park.

“We particularly love our garden,” says David.

“Sue’s always been the keen gardener but over the last four or five years I’ve become more involved and we do all the gardening ourselves.

“It’s not a labour of love, it’s a joy. There are pop-up sprinklers and irrigation throughout the lawns and gardens, so it’s not too high maintenance.”

The expansive garden features two water features with a trickling stream that runs from one pond to another.

French doors and picture windows open to the outdoor patios.

Views of the lush gardens are visible from the three generous bedrooms and four living areas, with numerous spaces to entertain outdoors.

The main living spaces of the home face out onto the main gardens and enjoy the afternoon and evening sun from the north-west.

“It feels like you’re in the country or the hills but we’re only five minutes from Mitcham and Blackwood and we’ve got a couple of restaurants at the top of the road,” says David.

“The next owners may want to put a swimming pool in – there’s one obvious place for a pool but it’s never been high on our agenda.

“The family room could easily be adapted to a fourth bedroom too; there are lots of options for change, it’s a very versatile house.”

David says that the home and gardens have been a joy over the past 32 years and knows that a new owner will quickly develop a similar affinity with the property.

“I come from a little flat in South London and I look at our house now and I just can’t believe that’s ours,” he says.

“It’s just a very special place that we think is practically perfect in every way.”

The sale is being handled by Jordan Begley of TOOP + TOOP Real Estate.