Any worries of daily life melt away the very moment Dr Kathryn Hill and husband Darryl arrive home to their picturesque address at 99 Coach Road, Skye.
“The views, honestly, are just stunning,” says Kathryn.
“It’s an absolute haven.
“With the substantial stone walls and double-glazing, once you enter the home it’s so quiet and you can feel yourself relax; I can just kick back, look out over those beautiful views in the evening and there’s no need to stress about anything.”
The couple instantly connected with the home when they discovered it for sale in 2006.
They purchased it from the previous and only owner who had built the impressive hilltop abode; its architecture and extensive stone reminded the couple of luxury ranch homes of North America.
At the time, Kathryn and Darryl were living in Hong Kong. They had previously travelled extensively with their international careers but were preparing to embark on a more permanent move to Adelaide.
It was the views, the serenity and a vision for a renovation that won them over.
“The home was made with local stone and it reminded us so much of mountaintop lodges in America and in Europe,” says Kathryn.
“Being on top of the hill and overlooking the city, it really is a little oasis up at Skye.”
The property needed a lot of work to facilitate Kathryn and Darryl’s grand vision, inspired by the spas, hotels and homes they had seen on their journeys.
The property had minimal garden or landscaping back then and the interiors, kitchen and bathrooms needed updating.
“We both looked past what was there and thought that we could really make it something special,” says Kathryn.
“We really wanted to capture a feeling of Zen-like calmness and reproduce that throughout the house.
“We were very keen to have a property that when you came in through the front door you could throw away all of your cares and worries and enjoy this little sanctuary. That was really important to us.
“It certainly was a big job, but the proof is in the pudding.”
As the renovation escalated in scale, the couple maintained a focus on sustainability and being eco-friendly.
In 2012 they installed high-quality bamboo floorboards to replace the look of salmon-pink ceramic tiles.
They installed new bathrooms, a European kitchen and, over time, landscaped the entire grounds with new terracing with copious amounts of stone dug up on-site for the installation of an underground rainwater tank.
This 150,000-litre tank sits beneath the elevated lawn platform which has a water feature and abuts an alfresco dining landing spoiled by spectacular uninterrupted views across the foothills, CBD and coast.
On a clear night, you can see the lights of Ardrossan while watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks over Adelaide with friends has been a favourite annual event.
“You’ve got the Penfold vineyards on the slopes below you and you get to see all the changes in the weather coming in across the Gulf.”
They have tried to keep their “eco-credentials” as high as possible with the house using rainwater with the ability to switch to mains water, a large solar power system, and a BioCycle wastewater system to recycle greywater for the garden.
Having lived in apartments overseas for so long, the couple sorely missed the opportunity to be out amongst a home garden, and this drove them to create an oasis out of what was a barren patch of land.
“We’ve both really put a lot of sweat into those gardens,” says Kathryn.
“There was no garden there to speak of at all; we’ve done all the gardening ourselves with a few bits of heavy lifting with some machinery.”
Darryl and Kathryn did all of the planting themselves, a huge task considering the hillside property is mostly rock beneath the topsoil.
The impressive gardens and terracing are now planted with drought-tolerant species such as succulents and bee-friendly varieties, partly fed by a recycled water system.
“It’s a sizable chunk of land to look after, but we really wanted to enjoy the property in a fairly natural state,” she says.
“We’ve terraced it and planted it to make it low-maintenance and fully reticulated, but weeding is always there in the background.
“That is that is the bane of gardeners everywhere in the world, but it’s not so bad when you’ve got all of that nature around you — we get lots of koalas and a prolific amount of bird life.”
“Whoever buys the property will undoubtedly share a similar love of gardening.
“We know that people who buy that house at Skye are absolutely going to feel that same sense of relaxation and calm.
“We’re very sad to be leaving such beautiful views but the people who take on the property after us will certainly get to enjoy all of that as much as we have.”
The sale is being handled by Grant Giordano and Jacqui Ilicic of Giordano & Partners Luxury Real Estate.