Explore the Super Mario-owned $4.75 million mansion with a private football field and helicopter

Mario Balotelli of Liverpool was supposed to be moving in last summer, but if you had £4.75 million to spare, this millionaire’s playground might be yours.

The house viewed from above

These pictures demonstrate that ‘Steppingstone,’ a property owned by Widnes Vikings director Steve O’Connor and his wife Clare, is more than what first appears.

When the couple bought the property in 2006, it was quite different from what is now there, and Steve’s description of it as a “hole in the ground” gives you an idea of what to expect once you enter.

Steve O’Connor, owner of the Widnes Vikings, outside his home in Helsby

After being unable to secure planning permission to make it into the house of their dreams, Steve, 49, and Clare, 40, made the uncommon decision to build down rather than up.

“We couldn’t build anything above ground that was larger than the original house, so we asked if we could build underground instead,” recounts Steve, a real estate developer. The design was created in collaboration with an architect, and construction on the sandstone began in 2008.

Take a look around the house

“People expect it to be dark and cold because the majority of the house is below ground level, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Steve, who is originally from Widnes.

The property has a plenty of natural light because of its smart open-plan layout, and natural vacuums are utilised to draw in fresh air all the way down to the basement floor.

The house is flooded with natural light

The kitchen and living areas are open plan

Among the living rooms

As you travel around the house’s perimeter, you can see the sandstone rock. “Because they look like caves, people think we had them specially put in, like something out of Disney World,” Steve explains. “However, the original rock contributes to the property’s uniqueness.”

Steve and Clare’s major motive for building the house was to provide a fun environment for their two boys, ages 10 and five (Steve also has two elder children, ages 31 and 28).

The original structures that stood on the property

For the outrageous price, the features live up to expectations.

In addition to the family rooms, there are ten bathrooms, a gym area, a sauna, a steam room, an indoor pool heated to 31 degrees, a TV-viewing jacuzzi, private living quarters for the family’s housekeepers, a couple who have worked for them since they moved in.

“We also have a sports room on the basement floor that Clare refers to as the ‘man cave,’ with multiple TV screens, a bar area, and an indoor games room where we can play cricket and football.”

The indoor swimming pool

“The house’s overall design ensures that it always feels sociable, no matter how many people are present. We have 200-person parties in the summer and everyone spreads out, but the next day there can be just four of us and it still feels like home.”

Outside, there’s a 40-foot football field, a tree house, a zip line, and two Super Lambananas that take frequent ‘walks’ about the premises. I believe the housekeepers enjoy playing with them because they always appear in unexpected places,” Steve says. “We also have a lot of bikes, so people joke that coming here is like going to Centre Parcs.”

The property also has a helipad, which is the pinnacle of luxury living. “I learned to fly a few years ago, but I usually use a pilot.” I have to travel to London frequently, and this way you can be on the Thames in an hour,” he adds.

One of the living rooms where the family can unwind

The dining room has a view of the garden

Part of Steve’s ‘man cave’ games area

There are several TV screens in the sports room

The home has a 40-foot football pitch

The wet and dry rooms can both be used as saunas and steam rooms

Signed sports shirts adorn the gym wall

The master bedroom

In the master bedroom, the bathtub overlooks the garden

The view from the master suite

Steve’s office also serves as a playroom for the kids

“It’s like a cross between Tracy Island and something out of James Bond – a bit mad basically,” Regarding the house’s futuristic design, Steve comments. Nevertheless, the architect did a fantastic job because, depending on your tastes, the area may be quite private or extremely public. To us, it feels incredibly private.

What about the Mario Balotelli rumors? “He was a tenant in one of my apartments when he was with Manchester City, so when it was announced that he was returning to the North West around the same time we put the house on the market, I believe someone made the connection and the rumor went viral.” There was never any truth to it, but we still get messages for him and fans show up at the gates.

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