Living in a glass house
It’s difficult to walk away from the beach
Through the telescope sitting in the middle of the living room there’s an eagle-eye view of the tankers heading through the shipping lanes of St Vincent Gulf and out into the Southern Ocean.
“The moon is spectacular on certain nights,” says Layne Holberton, who with partner Terry Ross moved into their new penthouse at Somerton Park — the next suburb along from Adelaide’s famous Glenelg last year.
“You have to have a telescope if you live by the beach,” he says.
The couple, who met three years ago, had been hunting for a home together.
Six years ago, Terry saw the site when it housed two residential buildings with a sign advertising a proposed new low-rise apartment project.
They were the last buyers in the boutique four-apartment building fronting the Esplanade with the couple settling on the generous 320sq m three-bedroom penthouse wrapped in curved glass that spills onto a balcony overlooking the beach.
“It’s true that in Adelaide people either like the beach or the hills,” says Terry, who is a shareholder in a manufacturing business. Both have had short stints living in or near the beautiful Adelaide Hills, but are converts to the beach.
“We love this area,” says Layne. “We can walk to Glenelg and the tram is great. We catch up with people in the city have a few drinks and catch the tram back.”
But the pair want a back yard, away from the sometimes wild southwesterly winds that belt along Adelaide’s beachfront, and have decided a build a new home and sell the penthouse.
“When we signed up to this, I hadn’t lived on the beach, but Terry had,” says Layne.
“Once you have lived on the beach it’s really hard to walk away from it,” Terry adds. “You can step out your door and go for a walk on a beautiful day, and it’s different every day, the sea changes.”
The couple will look for a beachfront block of land nearby, perhaps with another old house on it, where they can rebuild.
There are still a lot of old homes along the beachfront, but we would “have to beat the builders”, says Terry, noting demand for beachfront homes had pushed up prices in the stretch from Brighton, Somerton Park to Glenelg.
“We have learned a lot from this apartment,” says Layne, whose background is in mechanical engineering and who runs a marine infrastructure business building wharves and jetties around the country. “I like it from a creative perspective; we had a lot of input into this.”
“We are now more experienced and know exactly what we want, and we want big outdoor areas.”
While the three-level apart- ment project was being build, the couple decided to upgrade the bathroom and kitchen, spending about $30,000 on taps and fittings in the full-floor penthouse, which also has a media/family room and 12-person lift with direct access to the basement parking for three cars and a storage area.
The couple had a wall moved and redesigned the gourmet kitchen, which has Miele appliances, along with adding custom-made storage, a granite fireplace and more custom Australian wood cabinetry, some of which houses mementos from the many trips they had packed in their three years together.
“After we met, we set the bar high. Our first trip together was to the Maldives,” Layne says.
Since then they have fitted in a couple of overseas trips a year, including to England, Greece, France, Singapore, Vietnam and numerous trips to New Zealand and Bali along with a cruise from Lisbon to Venice.
The cabinetry houses a framed shot of Stonehenge from their visit and a small colourful gondola made of Murano glass where craftsmen on the Venetian island of Murano have worked with glass for centuries. While locally, they bought an abstract by Melbournebased artist Prudence Caroline, which hangs in the apartment’s living room.
The penthouse is being marketed with a price guide of $2.9 million through Harcourts Adelaide Hills agent Wayne Footer.
Inside their penthouse wrapped in curved glass, Terry Ross and Layne Holberton say it’s imperative to have a telescope if you live at the beach