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FEATURE LISTING: Fit for royalty in Kingswood

On the market for only the second time in its 100-year history, this classic villa has been given an incredible makeover by current owners Lisa and Philip Laity.

After raising their three children in the century-old home at 18 Balham Avenue in the tightly-held suburb of Kingswood, Lisa and Philip Laity have decided to downsize as their kids move interstate and overseas.

Midwife Lisa and her husband Philip, who runs a corporate law firm, first purchased the home two decades ago when they were looking for a large property where they could raise their three young children who were two, four and six at the time.

“We lived in a little villa in Malvern that was too small and we wanted a house with a massive garden as our kids were super active and wanted to ride bikes and kick footballs and all those sorts of things,” Lisa says.

When the couple laid eyes on the property, they knew it was the home for them and purchased it from the original family who had bought the land in 1908, finished constructing the home in 1910 and handed the property down through the family since.

“We all fit as the house was twice the size of our old home and the kids loved it, but we knew it needed lots of attention,” Lisa says.

The first step was ensuring there was plenty of room outdoors for Lisa and Philip’s children to play, with the couple adding a pool and tennis court.

“The tennis court has been so good,” Lisa says. “We have redone it a couple of times as it has had so much use with us playing football, basketball, cricket, tennis and even setting up marquees for birthdays.”

In 2007, the couple decided it was time to completely renovate the property and transform it into their dream family home.

“We picked Williams Burton Leopardi to do the renovation as we thought they were doing the best work,” Lisa says.

“We moved out for 18 months, gutted the entire place and started from scratch. There wasn’t one room that we didn’t pull apart and put back together again.”

The couple expanded the property into the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home it is today by extending into the ceiling space and building a large entertaining area on the back of the original villa.

“The biggest thing was to ensure everybody had their space,” Lisa says.

At the front of the home is the parents’ retreat with the master bedroom, designer ensuite and separate dressing room.

Lisa and Philip’s daughter had a private wing with a bedroom and a bathroom, while their two sons settled in upstairs with their bedrooms, a bathroom and a living space.

The living zones have been meticulously maintained by Lisa and Philip over the years to maintain their timeless design that is modern and functional, while remaining sympathetic to the original home.

The designer kitchen and butler’s pantry feature custom cupboards and a carefully selected dolomite stone bench that was crafted for the space.

In the living room is a bluestone feature fireplace that was crafted stone-by-stone and picture windows offer views of the Peter Stubbs-designed garden with its expansive lawns and 100-year-old trees.

“I love that this house is so private, you look out a window and it is garden all around,” Lisa says. “It is like a country cottage only five minutes from the city.”

The outdoor entertaining pavilion is perfect for hosting, with Caesarstone benchtops, a built-in barbecue and radiant heating, all located alongside the pool and tennis court.

“We are the people that hosted all the pre-formal parties and the birthdays because we have the massive entertainment area where we can call come together and have parties,” Lisa says.

Although sad to be parting with their much-loved home, Lisa and Philip know it is time to move on and are excited to get to work building a new home in Malvern for just the two of them.

“I still remember the first day we moved in and my toddler was riding his tricycle down the hallway,” Lisa says.

“I hope the next residents make as many good memories as we have.”

The sale is being handled by Jamie Brown of Booth Real Estate.