IT was a dream home, spotted on the internet from New York. Over its 30 year history, the original structure has seen remarkable alterations and additions which have made it into the perfect, free-flowing family home, full of laughter and often filled to the brim with family and friends.
It is also a house so spacious that every Christmas 60 orphans are invited to a massive party at which, in return for being fed and plied with gifts, they gather to provide a remarkable choral tribute to their kind-hearted hosts.
But now the empty nest syndrome is having its full effect on owners John and Shaunagh Price, who have put their Walmer property on the market with the aim of returning to the country from where they first fell in love with it.
"Certainly we will be leaving with a lot of sadness. This has been a remarkable home in the true sense of the word," says John, who was born in PE and educated at St Andrews before embarking on a successful business career that has seen him setting up home all over the world.
But the tug of South Africa was strong as was the couple's desire for four of their six children to attend St Andrews College and DSG and so the move back to John's country of birth was made.
Once settled in the house they fell in love and there were many happy holidays which saw it filled not only with the couple's children but also their friends – Kenyan and other foreign students would stay at the house at the end of term as adopted family members until their international flights took them home.
Certainly this is a house which is spacious enough to accommodate them all – and more besides.
A light and airy entrance hall is accessed through well-maintained gardens containing mainly indigenous plants that attract huge flocks of birds. There's also a family favourite spot under the "Tree of Forgetfulness" where many a G&T has been enjoyed as the sunset washes the stresses of the day away.
Accommodation and finishing touches in this property, which was beautifully designed by renowned South African architect, Wayne Landale, are decidedly up-market and unashamedly expensive: but at the same time this is still a family home which has been lavished with love.
Ground floor accommodation comprises an immaculate garage with a home gym, expansive lounge with gas fire, huge dining room, a designer kitchen with Meile ovens and microwave, a spacious bar and cosy sunroom most of which, kitchen aside, open onto the separate entertainment area, which is a story all by itself.
Overlooking the sheltered salt-water swimming pool and floodlit tennis court, the free-standing entertainment "room" is more like another home – and the base for the annual Christmas party for orphans.
On entering the glass-walled structure a custom-built Teppanyaki grill is sited to the right and used to griddle-fry burgers and steaks or to make authentic Japanese meals, while to the left is a dining area and TV room.
It is also home to John's favourite fun thing: the margarita machine that produces perfect margaritas.
"My kids like to ambush visitors with potent margaritas that are very easy to enjoy – they have to be carefully watched as they find this very entertaining.
"Margaritas, sans alcohol, are served to the Grahamstowm boarders when they visit," says John, whose favourite rooms are the lounge and master bedroom.
"My favourite things about the house are the artwork and sculptures and the mirth of the birds."
Margarita ambushes aside, the entertainment area also features a laundry room and a large private suite with bedroom and lounge area.
Back in the main house a peek upstairs reveals that there is another lounge, also with a gas fireplace, a his study area, and a massive master bedroom with tons of storage space, an elegant en-suite bathroom and a hers study.
A further three bedrooms and two bathrooms complete the upstairs accommodation with most of the rooms opening onto the sun-drenched balcony which encircles almost the entire upper floor.
Adding to the stylish appeal is the fact that walls throughout the house are adorned with whimsical art works and antique posters, with the neutral floor tiles offset by wooden windows and blinds.
Furnishings are imported from America and Italy – and, should the purchaser be interested, he or she will have the opportunity to also make an offer for some of these items.
On a technological front there is piped music and internet access throughout the house and state-of-the- art security including voice alarms which identify exactly where the intruder is: should they be able to get past the high, but not overpowering boundary walls topped with electric fences. Set on half an acre of land, this stunning property is a home which utilises every inch of space to its maximum advantage. It's a home with a difference to be used and enjoyed.
The house, 32 12th Avenue, Walmer is priced at R10.9-million and is marketed by Pam Golding's Ian Olivier and Vana McGee as well as Naomi Solomons of Solomons Crafford.