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FEATURE LISTING: Modernist luxury in North Adelaide

Rosanna and Dino D’Ottavi are selling their desirable mid-century home in North Adelaide that has grown alongside their family over the past 20 years.

Rosanna and Dino D’Ottavi always dreamed of owning a home on Stanley Street, and when a mid-century modern home that had been designed and built by an Adelaide architect came onto the market, they jumped at the opportunity.

“My husband came home one night and said there was a house for sale down Stanley Street,” Rosanna says.

“We bought it at auction sight unseen; I don’t think either of us had stepped foot inside the house until we had bought it.”

When the couple first purchased the property at 212 Stanley Street, North Adelaide, it was much the same as when it had been built in 1969: two bedrooms, shag carpets and a massive carport where the previous owner kept his speedboats.

“Then there was the pool that was along the terrace at the front for everybody to see,” Rosanna says.

Rosanna admits that she and Dino were considering knocking the home down and starting fresh, but while they were on holiday, Rosanna became inspired by homes she was seeing in architectural magazines.

“My husband would always buy a sports paper and he would bring me an architectural or interior magazine and we would sit at the beach and flick through magazines on our holiday.

“I kept seeing this style of home in magazines and I decided we shouldn’t knock the place down,” Rosanna says. “I could see how we could make it look really amazing.”

The couple immediately began planning the renovations of the home, even purchasing a new kitchen while on holiday and bringing it home to be installed.

“We went home to our architect, Studio 9, and we said we were going to move in and could they please update it with a new bathroom and kitchen,” Rosanna says.

“Then, as fate does, I became pregnant with a second child and the two-bedroom thing became a little problematic,” Rosanna says.

“So, we ended up doing a lot more of a renovation in 2002 than we initially planned.”

So, the growing family gutted the home and started again with new wiring and plumbing before adding another bedroom and bathroom.

“We dug out the big carport and converted it into another living space and a properly closed-off garage,” Rosanna says. “The staircase to go downstairs was external, so we also made that an interior part of the house.”

When designing the home’s interior, Rosanna and Dino wanted to remain sympathetic to the original home, embracing the mid-century modern style without making the house too “museum-y”.

“It has these little features that show the architect was way before his time,” Rosanna says. “You only really start to notice and appreciate the thought that went into the home once you’ve lived in it.”

They kept the original front door, replacing the beer-bottle glass and stripping back the dark brown paint to reveal the original timber.

The upstairs windows were replaced as they were over 40 years old at the time, but the design was not changed as the placement allowed the living spaces to perfectly capture the light and borrow the outside landscape.

“You’re really perched up, it is like living in a treehouse,” Rosanna says.

“I got pregnant again and we realised we were going to need another bedroom and bathroom,” says Rosanna.

“We literally excavated the whole underneath of the house,” says Rosanna.

“We underpinned the whole western boundary and we put the pool around the back.

“Again, we tried to remain as sympathetic to the original architecture as we could.

“So, when some of the plans the architect had come up with pushed out to the side of the house, I didn’t want to do that because it would have changed what it looked like from the front.

“Now it has a four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a beautiful wine cellar, two living areas, and a double garage; it is a really beautiful place to live.”

While staying true to the house’s original style, the couple has also left their mark on the property.

“My husband and I own a business called Best Masonry Bricks and Pavers and we have always used our house as a guinea pig for new products,” Rosanna says.

“The driveway and front steps are Australian granite that we had cut and placed, and the house also has a terrazzo tile throughout that we designed ourselves.

“We named it ‘vecchia scuola’, which means ‘old school’, and it has gone on to be the most popular terrazzo product that we make.”

When the couple had their fourth child, they began to wonder if the house was going to fit their growing family.

“I would look for something bigger – which there was plenty of – but we could never leave,” Rosanna says.

“We would go back and think we just couldn’t go; nothing else could compare.”

After 22 years, the family is finally ready to say goodbye as they are moving down south to start a new chapter of their lives on the Fleurieu.

“It has been really used and enjoyed,” says Rosanna. “I do think that places have souls and this one very much has a soul.

“But we aren’t living there and it is a house that deserves to be lived in, I am sure someone else can take it on and enjoy it now.”

The sale is being handled by Candy Bennett and Edwina Lehmann of Fox Real Estate.