Pen-y-bryn changing hands

Roy and Bernice Vannini have sold Pen-y-bryn Lodge and are looking forward to travelling. Photos...
Roy and Bernice Vannini have sold Pen-y-bryn Lodge and are looking forward to travelling. Photos supplied.
From living in what is believed to be the largest all-timber single-storeyed house in New Zealand to residing in a motorhome - that will be quite a transition for Roy and Bernice Vannini.

Mr and Mrs Vannini have sold their Oamaru mansion Pen-y-bryn Lodge, where they have provided luxury accommodation for the past 13 years, to Americans James Glucksman and James Boussy.

They are looking forward to spending the next few years travelling, initially in the United Kingdom and Europe, before exploring New Zealand in their motorhome.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge.
Pen-y-bryn Lodge.
They fell in love with Pen-y-bryn when they came south from Auckland to view the property and bought it that same day.

"We called it Roy's mid-life crisis. I'm having mine now," Mrs Vannini said, laughing.

They were only the fourth family to own the landmark Towey St home, which has had a category one Historic Places Trust classification, since 1889.

It had been a "wonderful" place to live in and it had been a privilege to live there, Mrs Vannini said.

Among their guests, the couple have hosted many famous and titled people, whose names they would not divulge, and it had been a lot of fun, along with a lot of hard work.

They had met people from all over the world.

In 2001, Mr and Mrs Vannini won the premier award in the inaugural Whitestone Waitaki Tourism Awards and the lodge has been named in National Business Review's top 100 houses in the country.

The couple have both been involved with tourism, both locally and nationally, and Mr Vannini has served as chairman of the New Zealand Lodge Association, which represents luxury lodges and sporting retreats.

Finding the right people to take over the property was a painstaking process but, when they met "the Jameses" early this year, they knew they had found the perfect purchasers.

Mr Glucksman is a health economist and investment strategist and also an accomplished amateur chef, food critic and writer.

Mr Boussy is a dentist and also a gardener, home improvement specialist and baker.

The pair looked forward to running Pen-y-bryn to the same high standard, while expanding its culinary offerings.

The pair will leave their current home in Beijing and arrive in Oamaru in early August.



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