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Restoring history

As we walk through Val and Stuart Adlington’s Hahndorf home, Val points out historic ornaments displayed in prominent places – a set of vintage apothecary canisters, a re-purposed Chinese medicine cabinet, a collection of antique glass pharmacy jars.

Carefully curated artefacts point back to a bygone era when the century-old stone home belonged to the town’s doctor. Painstakingly restored over four years, the Adlington’s home is now a fusion of old and new – a striking modern addition wraps around the south-eastern flanks of the original stone house flowing seamlessly into the meticulously restored doctor’s residence.

Less than a decade ago the now stately home, which overlooks the town’s main street from a lofty block on the corner of Pine Avenue and Auricht Road, painted a very different picture.
The first thing that embraced Val and Stuart when they walked into the home during an open inspection in 2016 was the smell.
“It was in disrepair, it was inhabited by possums so the floors were rotting and ceiling was collapsing,” Val says.
“But the four walls – the stone was solid.”

The cottage – built in 1906 – was about to change hands for only the second time in its 110 year history and it was an opportunity Val wasn’t going to pass up.
“We’ve always known this house because we lived in Echunga and we’d drive by and think ‘oh if that house ever comes on the market’ – not that you could see much of it because it was so overgrown, but you just knew there was a lovely old house under there.
“I’d never lived in a house this vintage and I’ve always wanted to.
“I was just so excited I was blind to the realities of what we were to find and what the architect would say and what the builder would say.
“I didn’t think of a new roof, new ceilings, new wiring, new plumbing.
“There was so much unknown we just went in more with our hearts than our head.”

Everything was locally sourced – from the trades to the landscape design

Val Adlington

After purchasing the property the couple embarked on what would become a four year journey with Beyond Ink principal John Ashcroft and local builder Neil Scholz who had both worked with the Adlingtons on a project at their former farm at Echunga.
“Everything was locally sourced – from the trades to the landscape design,” Val says.
Every possible historic detail in the old home was painstakingly preserved, from the hallway arch mouldings and the leadlight around the doors to the original Glasgow-made fire place and the door fittings – meticulously restored and polished by Val.
But the centrepiece of the project was the boldly contrasting modern extension – featuring a living area with vaulted ceilings, an undercroft garage, a master suite and open-plan kitchen. The pinkish blush brick used in the extension – sourced locally from Littlehampton Bricks – draws out the colours of sandstone with a nod to the original red quoins, while the peaked roof was designed to match the slope of the detached barn.

“We just brought it into the 21st Century,” Val says.
“If you look at a lot of old homes that have additions put on them they’re look alike additions and they never really look alike.
“I didn’t want to do that. It had to be modern.
“We’ve got the old bit and we love it, but we needed to live a modern life.”
Several decades ago the home housed Ye Olde Magnolia Tea Rooms, run by the previous owner.

But it was originally commissioned for Doctor Johannes (Theodor) Auricht – for whom the adjacent Auricht Road is named.
What is now a guest bedroom was once divided into a patient waiting room and adjoining surgery, and the site of a since torn down lean-to is where Dr Auricht made his medicines.
Outside, the detached stables – now converted into a garden shed – once housed Dr Auricht’s horses, while an old wooden outdoor toilet – which the couple discovered under a mass of wisteria – has been saved as a quirky garden feature.
But the original seven-room home was also the backdrop for the doctor’s own string of personal tragedies.
Dr Auricht lost his first wife in childbirth just 15 months after they married, devastating him so much that the vowed never to lose another baby.
Several years later he lost his four-year-old daughter, Margorie, before losing her mother – his second wife, Hilda – about eight years afterwards.
In 1939 his oldest son, John, died at the age of 21.

And it’s that history – the joys and tragedies of Dr Auricht’s life – that Val says sets the home apart.
“It was all here, we’ve got pictures of him with his car, sitting in the driveway with the house behind it,” she says. “That’s what really makes you think the house deserves this. “It just deserves to be made a statement of, because it was a statement.”

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