It probably isn’t what prospective home buyers expect to see when they are scrolling through real estate listings in search of their dream house.
From the outside, it looks a beautiful bluestone mansion well-placed in Adelaide’s green eastern suburbs. But going inside, it appears more like a set of a horror show.
“Scaredy cats” aren’t welcome at the home, with agent Paul Toop asking persons to “leave the kids at home”. While that might sound somewhat fun to catch your eye, it’s by no means no gimmick.
For 53-year-old Brad Pannell, the state heritage-listed home, which includes a tiny chapel with ruby-red glass that has been converted into a bathroom, is a cherished part of his childhood.
Mr Pannell’s 76-year-old mom Beverly is shifting into an aged care home and she has to make a painful decision to leave her beloved home.
“It’s got a lot of personal history,” Mr Pannell said.
“I’ve got two sisters and a brother, and we all lived there … so, there’s a lot of sentimental value with the house.”
Constructed in the 1850s, the Woodforde House in Melory Crescent, Magill, apparently accommodates some ludicrous interior design choices, complete with a bright-red wallpaper, scary dolls and spiders hanging from the ceiling.
Mr Toop said the mansion has four agents at each entry to ensure no one feels uneasy when touring the rather eerie rooms.
People on social media, however, were not sold with the claim.
“Honey, this property in Magill looks n-OH MY GOD,” one person wrote.
“If I had the money, the time, unlimited access to sage and an exorcist on speed dial, I’d love to renovate this place,” another one said.
The family of six bought the mansion in 1977 and is only the second family to have lived in the home. The history, however, is not just personal for the current family.
William Henry Uren and his family of seven travelled to Southern Australia from Cornwall, England on board the William Money in 1847. Their family was, however, reduced to six when infant Alfred passed away and was buried at sea. In fact, the trip to Adelaide was blemished with death as many people died on board.
After his first eight years in Australia, William Uren built Woodforde House after purchasing a 50-acre plot of land from Captain John Finlay Duff, who captained the famous Africaine as part of the First Fleet of South Australia in 1936.
From the second-storey viewing deck, Mr Uren would normally watch ships dock at Port Adelaide with good including leather products, which he imported for his Rundle Street shoe business. Uren died aged 72 in 1889 and the house was inherited by his son Joseph Mortimer Uren.
It was then passed on to his daughter Gertrude, who went on to marry William Allen Nightingale in 1911. They occupied the home until 1977, when the Pannells bought it.
The current owner Beverly Pannell was a papier-mache enthusiast, while her late husband Brian did antique-dealing.
“The owner of the home has got a lot of character,” Mr Toop said.
Brad Pannell said his mom used to make papier-mache stuff for the entire neighbourhood whenever there was a children’s birthday party.
“I remember as a kid, we would have a really big massive party,” he said.
“With four kids, instead of having four separate birthday parties, we would have one big combined birthday party in the middle of the year.
“The house was brilliant for kids to grow up in.”
Mr. Pannell said his favourite part about living at Woodforde House was summers spend in the mansion’s massive pool.
The property is now set to be auctioned on September 25. Agent Anthony Toop choose to use an up-front tactic when advertising the house, saying he wanted to prepare prospective buyers for what’s in it for them.
“She’s quite an elderly lady, so it was just a lot simpler to run with it as is, because the place needs renovating, but it is magnificent.”