CLOSE to the sea, to the shops and to Grey High School, while also in close proximity to the green belts of the Port Elizabeth Golf Club and Little Walmer Golf Estate, Mill Park has always been one of the most sought-after suburbs in Port Elizabeth.
It’s an older, gracious suburb and it’s also an area with history, deriving its name from the fact that as the fledgling city began to take shape there was an old mill on the land overlooking the Baakens River.
Tracking the area’s history on the Port Elizabeth Daily Photo blog Jonker Fourie reports: “According to the book Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days, written in 1947 by JJ Redgrave, the government rented the land, with the old mill and a small shanty house as the Baakens River Leper Institution.
“By 1846 the government had decided to move all the lepers and paupers to the leper colony on Robben Island.”
After that, Fourie’s blog says, the area became a squatter camp which was home to Xhosa labourers.
The unsanitary conditions at the camp eventually led to an outbreak of bubonic plague which subsequently saw the camp being closed by the Plague Board in 1903. Its residents were re-located to Red Location.
And so, in the early 1900s, the area put its chequered history aside and large upmarket family homes, many of them restored Victorian and Tudor-style, started to rise in what is now an established, leafy suburb.
And while many of the homes in Mill Park have stuck to the traditional, there are some that cleverly intertwine the old with the new.
One such house is in Linton Road, literally a hop, skip and a jump away from Grey, and where the polished wooden floors that you would expect of the area are complimented by exquisite modern touches.
Making the property even more unusual is the fact that the accommodation is spread over three levels offering plenty of space for a growing family.
The ground floor accommodation can either be accessed via the large, tiled double-garage or from the traditional front door where the first of the modern twists comes in, with wrought iron features complimenting the old style wood and glass doors.
To the left of the front door there’s another of those step back in time features – a study or smoking room, with French doors to the garden and a wood and glass paneled door separating it from the hall, allowing for easy heating on those cold winter nights.
There’s also a TV room which can also be enclosed, a modern kitchen with stunning display cabinets, granite worktops and a large lounge/dining room with another modern twist – a gas Jetmaster.
Stack doors from the elegant lounge open onto a massive L-shaped undercover entertainment area which has a built-in braai and canvas/plastic blinds to enclose it in inclement weather.
The garden features a modern pool with Balau deck – and there’s a also a completely separate flatlet with bedroom and bathroom at the one end of the garden.
Back in the house the gracious staircase is offset by another of those modern twists – a beautiful chandelier type light. The staircase leads to a mezzanine level playroom/study with doors onto a narrow balcony.
On the top level of the house sleeping accommodation centres around an area too large to be called a landing – in fact it could also serve as an upstairs lounge if required.
There are four bedrooms, one with an en-suite shower and a full family bathroom while the master bedroom has an en-suite which brings in another of those modern twists, with tiles cleverly used to create points of interest.The master bedroom also opens onto a large balcony which overlooks the pool area.
Completing the family feel are attractive, easy to maintain gardens with a sandpit play area. For the security conscious there’s also CCTV cameras and electric fencing topping the boundary walls.
The house is on the market with Chris van der Walt Properties and the asking price is R3895000.
It will be on show from 3pm to 5pm on Sunday with Sue Skinner in attendance. – Helen Crooks