With a desire for wide-open spaces, surf and a semi-rural lifestyle in which to raise their children, physiotherapist Peter Mueller and wife Kate, a teacher, pursued a sea change away from the hustle of Adelaide and down the coast to Victor Harbor.
That was about 10 years ago – Peter became a business partner in Victor Harbor Physiotherapy Clinic, and Kate began teaching at a local school.
They first built a new home in the area and, with a passion for building and renovating, spent the ensuing few years hunting for their next project in which they could create an idyllic lifestyle property for their family.
“We searched for about four years to find exactly what we wanted: ocean views, some space around us, and a project to sink our teeth into,” Peter says.
It was in 2014 that they discovered 28 Ferrier Drive, Waitpinga – a home that was in need of a renovation, surrounded by two hectares, that ticked all of the boxes.“We just love the Victor Harbor lifestyle. It’s great to have the convenience of being only an hour away from Adelaide, but also having the coast at your doorstep,” Peter says.
“With a young family and getting involved with the school and community, it was a really nice transition.”
Peter and Kate moved in and got to work, pouring their own time and effort into fastidiously renovating the property, located in the rural hills a few kilometres inland from Encounter Bay and Victor Harbor.
Using the home’s existing shell, they created a modern, tasteful and light-filled abode that has served as a full-time family home and more recently as a holiday retreat.
They installed a large solar-heated concrete pool and a fun outdoor entertaining space, which features a cantilevered concrete bench, stone wall and pizza oven.
They gutted the house, installed new bathrooms and incorporated extra features such as a cinema room and outdoor bathroom with a bathtub.
“It’s been a labour of love. It would sometimes get a bit tedious living in a property when you’re trying to work on it, but even while renovating you could then go for a swim in the pool at the end of the day. It really was a nice period of our lives,” Peter says.
“The outdoor space is a big selling point of the property, we loved it all through summer. We put in a pot-belly stove and a pizza oven for winter so you could use it year-round.”
With Peter’s German heritage and Kate also having a connection to Germany, they decided to name the property “Meerblick” – a German word for “an ocean view”.
Much work has been done to transform the grounds into a series of practical zones, with stone retaining walls, plenty of lawned areas and the all-weather outdoor 16-metre pavilion with a feature limestone block wall.
The family lived in the home for about six years before moving back to Adelaide, with their children starting high school closer to the city.
They have since rented the home as a highly-popular AirBnB, with the address already booked out several months into 2021.
“We held on to it with the thought to go back there for holidays and weekends, but it evolved into very successful holiday rental – to a point that we aren’t getting back there to enjoy it,” Peter says.
“As the kids have grown older, and established themselves in Adelaide we’re just struggling to take advantage of the property.
“We purchased it and renovated it to be that house we’d hold on to forever. It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the tough decision to sell.”
When they first listed the home as a holiday rental, the couple hadn’t expected the property to be so popular in the winter months.
“We’ve had a lot of really good feedback from people staying there who have enjoyed the property and the lifestyle that it offers,” Peter says.
“People are becoming a bit more aware of Victor, which is great. In winter, it’s stunning to sit in front of the fire and watch the storms and see all the weather come through. Then at night you’ve got the lights glistening.
“Yet nothing’s better than on a summer’s day when you’re looking out over the whole of Victor and the panoramic view.”
At the lower edge of the property, there’s an adventure play area with a cubby house, where the family would sometimes roll out their swags to sleep under the stars.
“It’s got outdoor space for adventure that you miss growing up these days and the kids have really enjoyed that aspect of the property,” Peter says.
The Muellers are moving on having made the most of living on the southern Fleurieu – from launching their fishing boat at the nearby Bluff Boat Ramp for a day on the water, enjoying local hikes and beaches, and Peter surfing at local breaks including Encounter Bay’s Shark Alley, which can be seen from the house.
“When we first moved down to Victor Harbor, a lot of people joked, ‘you’re too young to retire’, but there’s been a bit of a changing of the guard with that and more young families are moving down here,” he says.
“It’s one of those properties that we’ve struggled to come to terms with selling, but at the same time we really hope to find someone who can enjoy it as much as we have.”
The sale is being handled by Mark Forde of Harcourts South Coast.