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FEATURE LISTING: ‘It’s such a terrific party house’

What began as a tiny maisonette in leafy Leabrook has been restored and extended over two decades to become the ultimate family entertainer.

It’s been 28 years since Heather Sheppard and John Brooks purchased the ultimate fixer-upper.

What is now a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home at 4 The Parkway, Leabrook, began as a two-room cottage on a large plot of land – just bursting with potential.

“There were two good rooms and that was it,” Heather says. “We had to put a bathroom in before we could move in.”

With an 18-month-old baby, another on the way and careers in full swing, the couple had a lot on their hands. However, they have loved every moment of transforming it into the beautiful home it is today.

“It has been sort of an evolution,” Heather says. “We did the main extension in 1998 and added a new bathroom in 2014. We painted the stairwell and put the art up even later and did the en suite only last year.

“It wasn’t all done at once, and that was how we wanted it – because it was so much fun playing house.”

When embarking on this project, the couple had to be creative, working around the restrictions put in place due to the property being part of a maisonette.

“I think a lot of people dislike the maisonette, but I think it offers a real challenge,” Heather says.

“Because there are those restrictions, making the most of it was part of the challenge and the fun. It means this is not your average house.”

The home’s frontage suggests a modest dwelling. However, once you have entered through the bright orange door a large home full of personality and interesting design unfolds before you.

“It is like a Tardis,” Heather says. “From the front it is very deceiving.”

The front rooms are of the original 1890 bay-windowed return veranda villa with high ceilings and ornate fireplaces.

Colourful wallpapers, decorative ceilings and chandeliers ooze personality and create a one-of-a-kind look to this home, with its well-sized bedrooms, multiple seating areas and formal dining room.

“My favourite room has to be the main bathroom with the chandelier and yellow wallpaper. It is just heaven in there,” Heather says.

The back of the home reveals a bright, open-plan living space that looks onto the back yard through floor-to-ceiling windows and a soaring cathedral ceiling.

Out the back is the perfect entertaining space, with a wood oven for pizza nights and a perfectly manicured garden.

An artist’s studio and workshop is tucked away at the back of the yard, its large windows overlooking the garden and home beyond. The perfect space to enjoy hobbies and develop skills, John has been doing his art there for years.

“My husband is an artist, so the charcoal art on the walls is all his,” Heather says. “Living with an artist is fun, you get lots of free art to fill up the big walls.”

As the family moves away, they will miss the parties they have hosted and the tight-knit community they have become a part of over the past 28 years in Leabrook.

“It’s such a terrific party house. We had 18ths and 90ths and 50ths,” Heather says. “It accommodates big parties and little parties and even street parties where the whole street came to dine around our table.”

For Heather and John, saying goodbye to the home will be like saying goodbye to a good friend.

The sale is being handled by Georgie Todd and Lucy Johnson of Harris Real Estate.