Wantadilla was the house in which I lived from 17 July 1997 to 9 July 2007, nearly ten years and the longest I have lived anywhere. I originally wrote this page in December 2006 as part of the sales campaign. The rest of this page is unchanged from then, except for some minor reformatting.
Wantadilla is a unique property: situated on 20 ha of prime, high-rainfall Hills land between Echunga and Meadows and optimized for horses and cattle, it also contains a high-tech homestead designed to make life easy in the Internet age. A property for individualists, it offers a level of comfort and practicality unrivalled anywhere in Australia.
We have entrusted Ans Papini of Pope and Nitschke to sell this property for us. The information here is supplemental to the information provided on their web site. Please contact Ans on 08 8391 5004 if you're interested.
Wantadilla is an unusual house. On this page I'd like to explain how it differs from other houses, and why the differences make it better.
Before moving to Wantadilla in 1997, we lived in Germany. Houses in Germany are built differently—some things are better, others not as good as in Australia. When we moved in, we saw plenty of opportunity for improvement.
The original house was built in 1981 with double brick walls and tiled roof, and layout typical of well-built houses of this date. For our requirements, it was also far too small. You'll see the old part of the house to the left of the main entrance on the plan.
In 1999, we extended the house with an “extension” that is almost as big as the original house. In the process, we applied some of our experience with both German and Australian houses. The result:
The extension is in brick veneer and with a colourbond roof. That's much more hygienic when you're collecting rainwater.
We've paid more attention to insulation. The windows are all double-glazed, which reduces the heat loss by an order of magnitude, and the important ones have roller shutters, which both improve the insulation further and also provide protection against burglary and bushfires.
My wife and I have many books, and I also collect old musical instruments. To accommodate these hobbies, we put a large room in the extension to keep the books and musical instruments; we alternate between calling it a library and a music room. It's shown as a library on the plan.
I'm in the computer business. One of the great advantages of the Internet is that you can work from anywhere, so I chose to work from home. The back part of the extension, in the extreme bottom right of the plan, is laid out as an office space (shown on the plan as “studio”, “study” and “living room”).
The house has ducted reverse cycle air conditioning. There are two units: a 4½ HP unit in the old part of the house, and a 5 HP unit in the extension. Both are adequately dimensioned to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house under even the most extreme conditions. There's also a fireplace in the lounge room.
Normal reverse cycle air conditioning gives you a single point of temperature control and a limited number of rooms to be heated. Wantadilla has a separate heating control for each room, including the kitchen and the bathrooms. In the extension the controls is via thermostat.
The main lounge room is equipped as a home theatre with a high definition TV projector (1280x720) with a whopping 325 cm (128 inch) screen.
We also have many CDs and video tapes, and of course there are amplifiers, tuners and players. Many people prefer to make a feature of these, but we prefer to hide them. We've done that by converting the original entrance to the house into a “HiFi cupboard”:
In most houses the lounge room, dining room and kitchen are combined into one large area without subdivisions, and that's the way we found Wantadilla when we moved in. In the case of the kitchen, it has the big disadvantage that noise and smells from the kitchen get into the rest of the house. There are ways to get around that problem:
Don't cook when people are in the area. That's an inconvenience which doesn't seem necessary.
Have a separate formal dining area away from the kitchen. This means that you'll probably want a breakfast bar for “normal” eating, quite an expensive alternative.
The only reason I can see in favour of the open plan kitchen is that it means that the kitchen gets heat from the main house heating system, usually in the lounge room. But that's a problem with heating, not division of space. In our case, the kitchen has its own heating zone, so this is no longer an issue.
But what about kitchen smells? Won't they find their way back to the rest of the house when the air conditioning is running? Yes, maybe. The kitchen has no less than three range hoods to suck out the vapours, and when they're running, nothing finds its way back to the house. And of course, creating vapours also creates heat, so the air conditioning probably won't be running anyway.
We cook a lot, including a lot of complicated dishes and Asian stir-fry dishes requiring lots of heat and creating lots of smoke. You probably won't see another kitchen as well-equipped as ours:
Central island with a large gas cooktop, including a 3.5 kW wok burner. To our surprise, there aren't too many cooktops that create that much heat.
Dual range hood to remove the vapours.
9 function recirculating air oven.
Two microwave ovens, one with temperature probe.
Semi-commercial Miele dishwasher, connected to a hot water supply and three-phase power, capable of a full cycle in 17 minutes.
Commercial two-basket deep fryer with 8 kW three-phase power to ensure that the results aren't greasy. This deep fryer has its own range hood.
Lots of shelf space. We have replaced the original breakfast bar between (open plan) kitchen and dining room with a dual-sided cupboard. This allows you to remove clean dishes from the dishwasher and put them away without moving, and on the other side you can take them out for the dining room.
In 1999, the house was extended significantly, nearly doubling the surface area. The extension, built in brick veneer with a colourbond roof, contains two bedrooms (one with en-suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe), a large area intended as a library but equally suited as a rumpus room, and a large office area containing two offices and a computer workshop.
The following areas are the internal measurements ex walls, as derived from the plans. Actual sizes may differ slightly in either direction.
|Lounge room||5.0 m||6.0 m||30.0 m²||Home theatre equipment|
|Hallway||3.4 m||1.5 m||5.1 m²||With built-in cupboards, for HiFi|
|Verandah||8.2 m||1.4 m||11.5 m²||North side|
|Dining room||4.4 m||6.1 m||26.8 m²|
|Kitchen||4.4 m||4.0 m||17.6 m²|
|Laundry||3.0 m||3.7 m||11.1 m²|
|Bedroom 1||4.4 m||4.3 m||18.9 m²||Built-in wardrobe|
|En-suite||1.1 m||3.7 m||4.1 m²||Shower, toilet, wash basin|
|Bedroom 2||3.4 m||3.1 m||10.5 m²|
|Bedroom 3||3.4 m||3.3 m||11.2 m²|
|Bathroom||2.3 m||2.2 m||5.1 m²||Spa, shower, toilet, wash basin|
|Bedroom 4||3.0 m||2.5 m||7.5 m²||Equipped as study|
|Hallway||1.3 m||3.0 m||3.9 m²||With built-in cupboards|
|Verandah||12.5 m||2.9 m||36.3 m²||View over Hack Range|
|Main entrance hall||3.51 m||2.23 m|
|0.9 m||1.4 m||9.1 m²|
|Music room/library||9.75 m||5.66 m||55.2 m²||Bookshelves and cabinets for musical instruments|
|Bedroom 4 (main)||6.23 m||4.0 m||24.9 m²||Including en-suite and wardrobe|
|Bedroom 5||4.0 m||2.5 m||10.0 m²|
|Office||4.2 m||2.9 m||12.2 m²|
|Office||5.6 m||4.2 m||24.5 m²|
|Computer workshop||8.6 m||4.2 m||36.1 m²|
Power to Wantadilla is three phase, 63 A. There are three three-phase circuits, for the dish washer, the deep fryer and one of the heat pumps. The power to the “new” part of the house is maintained by a 5 kVA Uninterruptible Power Supply capable of maintaining power for about 30 minutes. A 6.8 kVA petrol generator supplies emergency power to most of the circuits of the house in case of a longer power outage.
The house is serviced by three telephone lines, though a total of 10 lines could be connected. It also has a 1.5 Mb/s ADSL connection. Most rooms in the house have 100 Mb/s Ethernet connections.
Four neighbouring paddocks of together about 4 ha have been professionally fenced (electric fencing). All four paddocks have permanent water supply via troughs with floaters. A creek runs through 3 of these paddocks.
The 2 biggest paddocks (south east and north east) share a big open 12 x 6 m shed, with an attached hay shed (for about 150 to 200 square bales), of 3 x 6 m. The fences have been set up in a way that the shed can be used for either of the paddocks (with possibility to close it off at either side) or both paddocks (in this case. a fence can be set up in the middle of the shed. It is also possible to create a small enclosed area (about 12 x 20 m) in front of the shed. There are wide gates on the north side of the north-east paddock, between the two paddocks and on the west side of the south-east paddock.
The smallest paddock (south) has three wide gates, one going to the south-east paddock, one accessing the 8 ha southern paddock with dam and bore, and one towards the driveway. 2 open sheds (facing each other) provide ample shelter for several horses. Two small boxes (3 x 3 m) are placed in the back of the bigger shed, back-to-back with another hay shed (for about 150 to 200 square bales). There is light and power supply in this area.
The fourth paddock, of medium size, has a gate to the south paddock and access to the driveway through a double stable area (also with electricity and water, i.e. bathing area and drinkers). This consists of two wood-lined boxes of about 4 x 4 m, having each a stallion yard of about 4 x 8 m in front.
Close to this stable complex, on the other side of the driveway, is located a small paddock (about 30 x 60 m), lined by poplars and gum trees, with a sand track around, which can be used as schooling arena. This small paddock is directly adjacent to the big 8 ha northern paddock, at the edge of which is located a small gate which allows to cross the main road and immediately enter Duffield Road (thus minimizing contact with traffic) which gives access to a section of Kuitpo Forest. The others sections of Kuitpo Forest are in easy reach for horse floats and offer endless miles of beautiful forest rides.
The whole setup has been designed in a way to offer a maximum of efficiency with a minimum of maintenance work and comfortable working conditions also for vet, farrier etc.
These links are chosen to give a feeling of life at Wantadilla. Some of the pages were written some time ago, and things may have changed since they were written. Each document contains the date of the last update. Consider them background information.