TWELVE years in and Sally Burton has decided to end her WA sojourn.
Since leaving London in 2005 to join her brother in Perth, the performing arts patron and widow of Hollywood actor Richard Burton has lived a life away from the public eye as much as possible.
But the fact the 69-year-old manages her late husband’s estate was always going to mean she could never truly escape his legacy, from her role in the publication of Mr Burton’s diaries in 2012 to the constant rehashing of the two marriages and torrid relationship he shared with the late Elizabeth Taylor.
Last week, Mrs Burton put up her Subiaco home for sale and its settlement will signal the start of her next, hopefully quieter, chapter back in Old Blighty.
“It’s just time to move on,” she said.
“I am returning to the UK though not to London; I am looking at buying in Suffolk, which is a beautiful county I know well.
“I will not miss the house (in Subiaco) as I have an extraordinary ability to love and treasure my houses and then when it is time to leave, I simply seem to close down and look to the future.
“If only I could have done that with relationships of the human kind!”
When Mrs Burton first moved to Perth, she bought a former display home just around the corner from her current address.
“My plan was that I would live there until I found some land and would then build a house to my specification,” she said.
“Then I watched this house being built on a plot near my former home.
“When I saw it come up for sale, I attended a viewing to look for ideas; I thought the floor plan worked very well and was one that I should think about.”
Just an hour later, deciding not to put herself through the agonies of building, Mrs Burton went back and put in an offer that same afternoon.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the Subiaco home, which was built in 2007, is a treasure trove of Mrs Burton’s belongings, from travel finds to her vast collection of books.
“I have completely redecorated the house – it was very white when I purchased it – and have actually run out of things to do,” Mrs Burton said.
“Interior designer Russell Healey has helped me with all the decorating projects in the house.”
Spread across two levels, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom residence has versatile living areas with timber floors all bathed in natural light, including an open-plan kitchen/living/dining space which extends into a private courtyard through bi-fold doors.
Recently renovated, the kitchen comes complete with stone benchtops, feature tiled splashbacks and a wine fridge.
“I adore my kitchen,” Mrs Burton said.
“I ripped out the kitchen which had been installed in the house, making a cooking area with a scullery behind it.
“I also installed an AGA cooker, which will send all British buyers into spasms of delight.”
Also on the ground floor is one of Mrs Burton’s favourite spaces.
“I also adore the room I call my library, which is actually a term Richard used for his room full of books at our house in Switzerland,” Mrs Burton said.
“In all my houses since those glorious times, I have created a library.
“This one is dark grey with black bookshelves, which is very similar to the library in one of my houses in London.”
Completing the level is a guest bedroom with built-in robes and an ensuite with a separate two-way powder room.
Offering wonderful separation, three more bedrooms are located on the first floor, including the master with walk-in dressing room and spa ensuite with double vanity units, as well as a central living area that is presently used as a home office.
Rounding off the floor plan are the upstairs family bathroom and separate powder room and a rear-loading double garage with right-of-way access.
When Mrs Burton finally sells the home, she will leave behind a raft of accomplishments including theatre company Onward Production, which she launched in July 2009, and several philanthropic honours bearing her name.
Of them, the Sally Burton Award is awarded to a male and female student at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts for outstanding performance of a Shakespearean monologue or duologue.
“I am proud of my prize for final year students at WAAPA; over the years we have seen some wonderful students come through,” Mrs Burton said.
“I have also supported The Art Gallery of WA, WA Ballet and West Australian Symphony Orchestra, all of them outstanding companies and organisations.”
Mrs Burton said she is looking forward to wearing her cashmere and fur coats when she faces her first frosty January morning next year.
“Of course I will miss the sunshine and hot weather,” she said.
“I will also miss the food scene in Perth, which has come leaps and bounds since I arrived 12 years ago.
“The memory of Wildflower (at Como The Treasury), which to my mind is the best restaurant in Perth, will linger long.”
All offers for the home will be presented to Mrs Burton on August 28 at 5pm unless sold prior.
Offers by August 28, 5pm
Car spaces: two
Agency: William Porteous Properties International
Contact: Olivia Porteous on 0423 557 438 and William Porteous on 0439 880 242