Despite being a former Home and Away actor for years in the world of Summer Bay, Holly Brisley has never learned to surf or balance on a stand up paddleboard.
But the golden girl of television and film has discovered all kinds of water sports since moving to the northern beaches.
In fact her whole family have enjoyed a world of fitness and activity thanks to their harbourside home with its direct access to a quiet beach.
Holly, 43, her husband Paul and their children Levi, 12 and Willow, nine, can often be seen off Forty Baskets Beach on SUPs, and even the dog Soda joins Holly on her board.
The family also sail and kayak from the bottom of their garden, the children have a basketball court on the front courtyard and Paul has a small practice driving range.
“We have had a lot of fun too playing ping pong on the rooftop terrace,” Holly said.
For a couple that used to live in a Bondi apartment Holly and Paul have fully embraced the northern beaches lifestyle and Holly said they would always have a home on the peninsula.
“Manly is the pick of Sydney and a thousand times better than Bondi,” the actor and tv presenter said.
What is special about this property at 46 Beatty St, Balgowlah Heights is that it only has one neighbour, can barely be seen from the road, has amazing harbour views from each of the three levels and is beside a harbourside reserve with children’s play equipment and protected ocean pool.
It is expected to set a new benchmark for Balgowlah Heights when it sells, beating the current $11.8 million record for a house a few doors down.
Since buying in 2013 Holly and Paul have painted their home, added internal stairs and a ground floor studio and updated the property.
“Giving the house a coat of paint took 15 years off it,” she said.
Paul, who was born at Manly Hospital, trained as a horticulturist and finds gardening very therapeutic. The 704sqm block has terraced lawns and garden beds cascading down to the water and he loves tending to the plants.
Inside there is a vast open lounge and dining room with gas fireplace, a CaesarStone kitchen with gas cooking and island bench, marble bathrooms, large bedrooms with built-ins and a main bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite. Three of the bedrooms open to a full-width balcony while the living and dining areas step out to a deep full-width entertaining terrace. There is also a sitting room or study.
“We have had lots of dinner parties or just grabbed bean bags and lay on the grass,” Holly said.
“It is very much a house for entertaining,” she said.
“And the views are spectacular, sometimes you can see the fish in the ocean and the night time view of the lights of Manly are as good as the daytime,” Holly said.
That coveted north-easterly view includes the landmark St Patrick’s building where Holly and Paul married.
Holly is back before and behind the camera having spent some years focusing on her children. She was the producer of a recent film called Ruby’s Choice starring Jane Seymour and this month she starts shooting a psychological thriller called Kane where she is both the producer and acting.
“Once you have the acting bug,” she explained, “it’s hard to get rid of it.”
At least now she can add a long list of water sports to her acting cv.
4 bed, 3 bath, 2 car
Features: Private cul-de-sac house with northeast harbour views and direct access to Forty Baskets Beach
Auction: December 18, noon
Price guide: $12.5 million to $12.75 million
Agent: Clarke & Humel Property
Contact: Michael Clarke, 0488 548 618