Since purchasing 54 Ayers Hill Road 20 years ago, the Opie family has enjoyed a quintessential Adelaide Hills lifestyle.
From countless weekends playing football at Mount Lofty to working at the local pubs and shops, the four boys’ upbringing has been reminiscent of their mother Jane’s own childhood – she grew up just down the road and has lived in the town most of her life.
“I’m a Hills girl through and through,” says Jane.
The family renovated and extended the property in 2009, enjoying summers in the shade of century-old trees and swimming in the pool, and winters by the combustion fire after their football games at Mount Lofty.
“This house is very similar to the home I grew up in – the same era and style. It was just wonderful growing up in the Hills.”
When the home came up for sale in 2002, Jane knew it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
Situated on a corner block with a low-profile driveway, the home’s elevated position gives it privacy and seclusion from passing traffic.
“Living in Stirling for all these years, I didn’t even know this property existed because it’s tucked away,” she says.
“It was going to auction and I knew it was just going to be snapped up. Luckily enough, they accepted our offer before it went to auction.
“It was all very quick. I saw this place on the Saturday and bought it on the Monday. There was just no doubt. It’s a old beautiful house with high ceilings and spacious rooms.”
One of the first changes the family made was to child-proof the property with fencing and automated wrought-iron gates to keep pets from wandering off the grounds.
“The house has been very busy and full and full of life,” says Jane.
“We live about 200 metres from the bus stop where you can catch the school buses to town or Mount Barker, or as I do now, catch the bus to the football at Adelaide Oval.”
Fabulous bedrooms overlook the English-style garden with three enormous trees, including an oak which is rumoured to be 200 years old, towering over the circular driveway.
From its elevated position, the home provides lush garden views through large windows in the family areas and bedrooms, while character verandahs provide ideal spots to sit in and enjoy the grounds.
With elegant cornices, timber floorboards, and an updated kitchen, laundry and three bathrooms, the home provides modern living in harmony with its historic features.
The master suite is situated at the south-western corner of the home and is away from the busy kitchen, dining and living spaces.
“We also renovated the laundry, which is really big,” says Jane.
“The boys played football from a young age aso I needed a big laundry with lots of footy boots and clothes.
“We renovated the kitchen as well. It’s all come together nicely, and it’s all in keeping with – peaceful and stylish but not overstated. Welcoming and clean.”
High ceilings, marble fireplaces and combustion heaters create a refined yet warm feel to the rooms.
A clinical nurse who worked in a bone marrow transplant unit, Jane pulled back from full-time work about five years ago to be a carer for her youngest son who lives at home with disability.
The gorgeous property has provided a relaxing backdrop to busy family life.
Yet, with her two eldest boys now completing their university studies and entering the workforce, Jane has decided it is time to sell the five-bedroom home.
She certainly intends to stay in Stirling.
“They’re at that age where their lives are growing and going forward. I’m thinking they’re at that age where they might want to spread their wings and try that next phase of their lives,” she says.
“I’ve loved it for my kids and it’s kept them grounded and being involved in the community that they’ve grown up in. I like to see them being interested in what’s happening around them.”
While some people might be sad to say goodbye to their family home, Jane doesn’t believe it will be too difficult.
“Wherever we go, it’s going to be a welcoming family place where people can come and go.
“We’re enjoying life and I think that will go with us wherever we are. You can’t take that away. It’s just the start of our next step.
“Time just goes so quickly, it really does. We’ve got great memories, so whoever lives here next will love it and hopefully create a great life like we’ve had.”
The sale is being handled by Arabella Hooper and Leah Chandler of Harris Real Estate.