Britten Stables sold for more than $4m above RV

Britten Stables. Photo: Supplied
Britten Stables. Photo: Supplied

The Christchurch house that once belonged to renowned Kiwi inventor John Britten and which appeared on an episode of Grand Designs New Zealand sold at the end of last year for close to $8 million, OneRoof revealed.

Britten Stables, which was lovingly restored by Britten's daughter Isabelle Weston and her husband Tim after the property was damaged in the earthquakes, was snapped up by a Christchurch family in November for $7.85m - more than $4m above RV.

The sale has only just settled, with the sale price, one of the highest for Christchurch last year, now in the public domain.

The Westons' efforts to bring the Victorian stables back to life and turn it into a luxury accommodation business featured in an episode of Grand Designs NZ in 2018.

The listing agent, Harcourts' Alison Aitken, told OneRoof in November a Christchurch family had purchased the property and intended to turn it back into a family home.

“The buyers are a local family who love the house. This is going to be a family home for them. They are a lovely family," she said.

She added: “It was always going to be one of the highest sales [in that corner of Fendalton] because it is unique. People buy on emotion. No one can replicate that home. The history that has gone with it."

Another Grand Designs home, on Waiheke Island, sold for $3.55m last year, and a Mangawhai bach that featured on the show in 2018 sold for $4m at auction at the end of 2020.

Isabelle Weston told the New Zealand Herald just before the sale that the decision to sell the property on Matai Street West, in Fendalton, was a "difficult and emotional" one.

The Weston family said the decision to sell the Stables was a hard one. Photo: Supplied
The Weston family said the decision to sell the Stables was a hard one. Photo: Supplied
She said that since the restoration and opening of the accommodation business, the couple's lives had become incredibly busy. They wanted to spend more time with their young children Adaline, 6, and Rafaella, 1, and needed a "dramatic change of lifestyle" to do so.

"It's a roller coaster of emotions. I feel really, really sad but also relieved with the decision I've made to prioritise the kids," she told the Herald.

"It sits uneasily with you as a mother when you really want to give them more when you can't."

She said the decision to sell was influenced by the fact that Tim was fast approaching the age at which her father John passed away.

"Life can be really short. We hope ours aren't and we certainly don't want to miss out on the kids' foundational years but that is what's happening because we are so busy."

Britten Stables was being run as an accommodation business. Photo / Supplied
Britten Stables was being run as an accommodation business. Photo / Supplied
The property was bought by motorcycle designer John Britten in the late 1970s. He died in 1995, and his house was left un-inhabitable after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

The Westons chronicled the long restoration on Grand Designs NZ. Their build was ambitious, aiming not only to bring the home back to life but to also update it, with a new garage that doubles as a studio apartment.

The episode showed the thwarted by the discovery of asbestos, miscommunications and setbacks, with their initial $2m budget ballooning as complications continued.

"It looks absolutely stunning," said host Chris Moller. "I can see Tim and Isabelle's bold, modern influence here. The sitting room ... truly embodies John's wonderfully unconventional style."

The house featured many nods to Britten's legacy, including one of his beloved motorbikes, which lives in the sitting room.

Isabelle's sister, Jess Britten, has recently put on the market for sale her own renovation project, a stylishly transformed hall in Auckland's Freemans Bay.


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