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Grand home for sale

Woodchester in Cole St, Masterton is for sale. PHOTO/HARCOURTS

Impressive drive leads to house of many rooms

PAM GRAHAM
[email protected]

One of Masterton’s finest homes, Woodchester, is on the market and while it has an oak-lined driveway, park-like grounds, a swimming pool and a tennis court, former-owner Liz Greville says first and foremost it is a family home.

Greville and her husband Paddy owned the property for 35 years, raising their children there, before selling to the present vendors, the Vennings.

Liz Greville said when her children were at university they would ask their friends to Masterton for the New Year period and quite a number would arrive and put tents up on the lawn.

It became a regular event.

“It looked like tent city and they would stay for a week to 10 days.

“They would swim and play tennis – it was fabulous.

“They just adored it.”

She said it would be really lovely if the home sold to another family who would love it and enjoy it as much as hers did.

“It was an enormously formative period for all of our children and all of their friends.”

The house at 80 Cole St last changed hands in 2013 for $950,000, has a rateable value of $1.45m, and could sell in a range from $1.61m to $1.83m, according to homes.co.nz

The property is being marketed by Harcourts and tenders are due on July 4, at 2pm.

It’s being marketed as either an exceptional grand home or an opportunity to undertake a high-end development, after resource consent being granted for a five-section subdivision.

Woodchester in the 1950s. PHOTO/WAIRARAPA ARCHIVE

The six-bedroom property sits on two hectares of land in an arrow-shape.

Greville said the shape came about because two sections were purchased to provide access.

The house is on the arrowhead and the oak-lined drive is on the potential sections.

The house was designed by architect Charles George Monro, and built in 1931 and 1932 for Edward Norman, known as Ted.

He and his son Peter Norman had long careers in the leadership of the New Zealand meat industry with Thos. Borthwick and Sons, owners of the Waingawa freezing works and others.

Peter Norman used to leap-frog the oak trees at Woodchester. As a boy, he helped his father dig out the lawn for the house by hand, Greville said.

According to Norman, the house was named after a property in Avonhead, Christchurch, owned by his great-grandfather, on his mother’s side.

There is now an impressive brick fence, with heritage-style electric gates, at the Cole St entrance to the property.

Greville said she didn’t have the fence in her day and the family just let a decent wind take the leaves “down the street and dump them at the Times-Age”.

The garden was the work of “old man Robinson” from Robinson’s Nursery who did many gardens of note in Wairarapa.

Greville said Bill Goodwin bought the property from the Normans and then sold to Raymond ‘Buster’ Gardner and his wife, Marjorie, who was known as Bob. The Grevilles bought it from Bob Gardner in December 1979.

The house was pretty much in its original state when the Grevilles bought it and Liz Greville recalls beautiful hand-flocked wallpaper but also a formica kitchen. An electric stove had been put in, but in the days of servants, a coal range with a double chimney was the order of the day.

When the Grevilles arrived only the top lawn was mown and the grass around the tennis court was 2m high.

They used a bulldozer to garden and it took two years to discover a nice brick path.

She thought the property had 13 neighbours, and over one fence in the area that was now Coddington Cr she recalled a Chinese market garden.

She recalls Peter Norman helped to dig the diving pool at St Matthew’s Collegiate, in a horse paddock straight through the hedge from the house.

The drive leads to a covered portico moving into a grand foyer for receiving guests.

The large, formal drawing room is stately and stylish, and a beautiful staircase is the heart of the home, leading to five double bedrooms, a main bathroom, an ensuite, and a dressing room.

The separate original maid’s quarters features independent access.

There are multiple lounge areas, sheltered verandas, open decks, a stream, a grass tennis court, and an in-ground heated swimming pool.

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