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October 28, 2021

Christchurch John Britten Legacy up for Sale after 43 Years

Topics: Press Release 0

Iconic Christchurch residence Britten Stables – converted by the late globally renowned motorcycle engineering guru John Britten from a derelict 19th century horse stables in Fendalton and described as a ‘living work of art’ – has been placed on the market for the first time in 43 years.

Iconic Christchurch residence Britten Stables – converted by the late globally renowned motorcycle engineering guru John Britten from a derelict 19th century horse stables in Fendalton     and described as a ‘living work of art’ – has been placed on the market for the first time in 43 years.

Marketed by Harcourts Grenadier’s Alison Aitken, the once condemned Matai St West property was purchased by Britten in 1978 and transformed into a dream family home over five years using a mix of new and old materials salvaged and recycled from other derelict buildings throughout the city.

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It was in the garage “workshop" that Britten produced the first of his signature V1000 motorcycles, which set several world land speed records, triumphed at Daytona International Speedway and were considered a feat of mechanical engineering prowess way ahead of its time.

When Britten tragically died of melanoma at the age of 45 in 1995, Britten’s wife Kirsteen continued to live in the property until it was damaged in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake, and she was forced to abandon the property for four years. At that point, her daughter Isabelle Weston and her husband Tim began restoring the 930sqm property over four years, eventually launching it as a  luxury events centre and B&B in 2018.

The restoration process was featured on television programme Grand Designs, and the Britten Stables recently jointly won the 2021 Canterbury Heritage Award for saved and restored homes. It has quickly become one of Christchurch’s most iconic luxury venues.

 

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Isabelle says the property is a legacy of her father’s commitment to carve out a spectacular home with original flair and modern design flourishes for his family, including her brother Sam and sister Jessica. However, the pain-staking restoration process she and Tim had completed took a heavy financial commitment.

“With business taking a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to sell our pride and joy,” she says. “It’s been such a roller coaster trying to run an accommodation and functions business through Covid. One minute we are fully booked and the next minute everything’s being cancelled and refunded.

“This place is the most beautiful, peaceful and inspiring environment, but we’re ready to step away and focus more of our attention on our daughters Adaline and Raphaela. The house is saved forever. We’re so proud knowing that this important part of Christchurch history will stand the test of time.”

Isabelle hopes that the next owners can relax and enjoy the Stables, as does her mum Kirsteen and the whole family. “We’d all love for a respectful and caring guardian to look after this beautiful historic home. It's so unique and special. My hope is that the new owners get as much love and joy from the Stables as three generations of our family have experienced.”

 

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Alison Aitken says the property, built around 1903, was originally part of the Mona Vale homestead and offers timeless design and natural beauty. The property’s centrepiece is a spectacular glass conservatory, with a curved marble staircase, internal fern garden, heated plunge pool, wine cellar, media room and newly completed separate New York-style loft apartment.

Other features include structural and technological innovations such as surround-sound stereo system, a 15 kilowatt - 52 solar panels, security system, 7 foot high Oamaru stone walls, hot tub and 1303sq metres of land.

John Britten crafted 10 of his legendary motorcycles, but just one dream home,” she says. “Due to the home’s beauty, rarity and phenomenally rich history, we anticipate this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is certain to attract considerable interest. It’s a truly magnificent architectural treasure and living work of art.”

Isabelle and Tim are grateful to those who have supported them in their endeavour to save, restore and regenerate the Stables. “It's been an incredible journey.”