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FEATURE LISTING: Lovingly restored Kensington Park villa

Located behind the Regal Theatre, this historic Kensington Park villa has been lovingly restored by its current owner. Now, it’s your chance to own an elegant family home in one of Adelaide’s most sought-after suburbs.

Current owner Kris Usher, who is an anaesthetist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, says he loves the challenge of bringing period homes back to life.

When Kris and his family bought 31 May Terrace, Kensington Park in 2019, it needed “a lot of love”.

They had just finished renovating a cottage in Maylands, and with a growing family, Kris could see the potential of transforming the house into a comfortable home.

“We were looking for the forever home and we fell in love with this house and garden,” says Kris.

“It needed to be renovated in keeping with the old home and trying to champion a number of the features of it.

“We needed to essentially modernise it. So, bringing in things like solar and heating and rewiring.”

Kris says the house is ideally located and boasts a large block with rear access to Uxbridge Street.

“We wanted to live in the eastern suburbs in terms of schooling for the kids, ease of access to work for ourselves and friends,” says Kris.

Kris says he was drawn to the villa’s period features, including its high ceilings, wide hallways, decorative arches, cornices, and the original marble fireplaces.

Kris also loved the fascinating history of the property, which was built in the late 1880s by South Australia’s senior customs inspector Arthur Creswell Threlfall.

Arthur Threlfall was married to Fanny Hall, whose father George established one of South Australia’s first soft drink companies.

“When we explored and looked through the house, we found the original call bell system that would have been used with the maid back in the 1880s,” says Kris.

Kris says it was important to retain these features during the restoration, which was designed by architect Rebecca Ryan and built by Mark Lowrie. Alchemist Design’s Georgie Fried executed the interior design.

With Kris and Mark as project managers, they created a new master suite with a walk-in robe and ensuite, while the garden was landscaped to keep “the feeling of it being almost parklands with large lawn spaces”.

“The garden is one of the things we fell in love with when we first bought the place and we wanted to feature that,” says Kris.

“The house has these amazing trees and we wanted to make those very prominent. We put a stone bench seat underneath one of the large trees in the front garden. Sitting there watching the kids run around on the grass is amazing.”

They also moved the family bathroom to the front of the house and created an adult’s retreat in the front living room with its large bay windows, one of Kris’ favourite parts of the house.

“I love the sitting room. I love being in there in the morning, seeing some light coming in through the bay windows,” says Kris.

The four-bedroom house also includes an open-plan kitchen and family/dining area leading onto an outdoor entertaining deck, a study, a laundry and a separate bathroom.

One feature of the house Kris particularly loves is the bluestone cellar, which he restored entirely by himself.

“I worked on it a long time wanting to get to a point where I had that cellar set up,” he says.

Kris says a lot of thought also went into the selection of light fittings, including the Meshmatics chandelier from Moooi in the front living room, the Phantom lamps from Normann Copenhagen, and the bedroom light fixtures from Norwegian interior design company Le Klint.

Although Kris has loved living in their Kensington Park home, he says they are now looking for a new challenge.

“It’s a beautiful family home with an amazing opportunity for another family to enjoy as we have.”

The sale of 31 May Terrace, Kensington Park is being handled by Sally Cameron from Toop + Toop.