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FEATURE LISTING: Majestic character villa at Malvern

On the market for the first time in 42 years, this five-bedroom bay window villa in the sought-after eastern suburbs has served as the much-loved family home of retirees Sue and Ian Leitch.

Over the past 42 years, Sue and Ian’s character home has echoed with the sounds of their children and grandchildren playing around the house, the rumblings of Ian’s classic cars and numerous celebrations which have even included three weddings.

Located at 197 Fisher Street, Malvern, the five-bedroom villa has been “very much lived in and well-loved” according to Sue.

Ian has made use of the garage and service pit to work on his cars, while it’s the garden that Sue has enjoyed most.

These days, the activity is most often provided by Sue and Ian’s visiting grandchildren who have a tradition of picking flowers from the gardens.

“We love our garden,” says Sue.

“It’s a peaceful oasis, it really is an escape. I can be almost anywhere in my garden and it’s totally private.

“The grandkids are here constantly and they all get a basket and go flower picking, do the arrangements and take them home to put them by their bed – that’s a real tradition here.

“I can sit in my kitchen and see right through to the gardens. We’ve installed large doors and windows so it feels as though you are living in the garden when you’re inside the home.”

After four decades, the couple has decided to downsize with the property going to sale by auction on Saturday, December 18.

Ian and Sue purchased the gracious old property 42 years ago.

Both Ian and Sue are from South Australia but spent the early part of their marriage overseas and when they returned to Adelaide, were particularly keen on the suburb of Malvern.

Ian had eyed the address even before it had hit the market. With its high ceilings, archways, size and location, 197 Fisher Street ticked all of the boxes.

The home was in original condition back then and has since been configured to meet the family’s needs with extensions and modifications for more convenient family living.

Sue says she will miss the home’s character features such as high ceilings and decorative plasterwork.

And she will miss the garden, of course, tended to by their beloved family friend and gardener, Camillo.

“Camillo has been part of our family forever and is responsible for much of the work in the garden, he’s the dearest man,” says Sue.

The property is shaded by many trees including peaches, pears, crepe myrtles, prunus, lemons and olives.

“We’ll miss the gracious old home. It’s a classic Adelaide villa,” says Sue.

There was previously a series of sheds along the rear boundary, but the couple removed them to allow more space for the pool and garden.

There was also a vehicle service pit which has been refurbished from its previous condition.

“Ian’s a tinkerer – his passion is rebuilding old cars and he also has an old wooden yacht that he’s done a lot of work on.

“His other passion is painting, which he does on an easel out in the shed.”

The property sits on two allotments and provides plenty of space for entertaining. It has even hosted the weddings of Ian and Sue’s three children.

The master bedroom is located off the grand hallway at the front of the house and enjoys views of the gardens where trees provide protection from the western sun.

The formal sitting room is also located at the front of the home and enjoys natural light through the sash windows.

“It’s a very gracious property. We moved in with two children and we’re leaving with three children, three spouses and nine grandchildren, so the family has expanded over the years,” says Sue.

“The home has been absolutely perfect.”

The location has also been ideal during their working lives and retirement, being just a short trip into the city, or walk to Unley Road.

“It’s a lovely walk if you go through the parklands,” says Sue.

“We would frequently ride through the parklands to Victoria Park for a coffee on a Saturday morning.”

The next owner will inherit all of the couple’s work from over the years, including the second-level bedroom retreat and well-maintained marble fireplaces, underground cellar and decorative ceilings.

“I just want to see it go to somebody who will enjoy it and live it the way it should be lived. That’d be my wish – it’s got to be enjoyed.”

The sale is being handled by Matt Smith of Klemich Real Estate.