Australian Homes

Tamsin Carvan and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 15th October 2014

I tell you what, if ever there was a poster child (adult?) for a ‘tree change’, I think that person would / should be Tamsin Carvan.  The lifestyle she has created in the lush green hills of South Gippsland in Victoria is something very special. We have 22 photos to prove it!

This sweet and supremely photogenic little farmhouse on 113 vivid green acres in Poowong East, halfway to Wilson’s Prom in Victoria’s South East belongs to Tamsin Carvan, her daughter Martha (8 years old) and partner Allan Walker.  Tamsin moved here and established her farm almost eleven years ago, after many years living in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, though her childhood years were spent growing up in the Blue Mountains of NSW.

Tamsin’s big move from Canberra to a farm in Gippsland didn’t happen by chance.  This is a carefully crafted lifestyle, evolved from a nagging desire to return to a simpler way of living.

‘For many years I knew I really wanted to try my hand at farming, and get out of the city where I always felt cramped up and claustrophobic’  explains Tamsin.  Despite her enthusiasm for building a new life in the country, Tamsin was also very pragmatic about the risks, and was particularly conscious of drought.   ‘I knew that I didn’t want to live anywhere where crushing drought was a real risk’ she says. ‘We opened up the atlas and marked all the places across Australia within a two hour drive of a major airport (I was still travelling a lot for work back then) where rainfall exceeds evaporation – and there actually aren’t many!’ Tamsins explains. ‘Once we laid our eyes on this part of the world we were completely sold’.

The hills were so green that I cried. We found this farm on the internet while still in Canberra, and I hadn’t even seen it in the flesh when we made the offer on it. I just knew it would be right”.

From here, Tasmin now runs her amazing little business, Tamsin’s Table, which sees her host an ever changing schedule of Sunday lunches, harvesting and cooking workshops, and other seasonal events.  Though it hasn’t been in operation all that long, Tamsin’s Table has been a runaway success, having made way for a steady steam of day trippers from the city, and connected Tamsin with many likeminded local creatives.  Tamsin’s Table gives guests an opportunity to get their hands dirty, as they join Tamsin in harvesting, preparing, cooking and eating the freshest vegetables, eggs and dairy produce from her little farm, alongside local wines, meats and other treats. ( You’ll learn much more about Tamsin’s Table next month when she joins us for Tasty Tuesday in November!)

When she first moved in, Tamsin’s house was a typical dairy farming house.  With the help of her talented partner Allan and creative local friends, over the last few years the home has been thoughtfully transformed into a lighter, brighter and more open plan space, with a bigger kitchen and bathroom, larger windows, and views to the rolling hills which surround the property.

‘When we first moved here, I couldn’t understand why so many of the houses around here seemed so windowless and dark, given they were set in such spectacular locations with incredible views – but now I do’ Tamsin says. ‘They were warm and cosy and easy to heat, and when you’ve been up since before dawn milking, then out in the paddocks all day chasing cows, all you want is to come inside and be warm and feel that work is done, rather than settling into your chair only to see that there are troughs leaking or the cows have jumped the fence into the neighbours!’. Needless to say, Tamsin realised this only after having knocked out half the walls, replacing them with windows and raising all the ceilings!

There’s something instantly comfortable about Tamsin’s house – there’s a warmth and familiarity here that’s hard to pinpoint.  It’s the kind of house you imagine might be the centrepiece for some popular film or drama set in the Australian countryside, with a cast of loveable characters you feel you’ve known for years.  At the heart of the home, of course, is Tamsin’s kitchen – a deceivingly professional set-up of industrial proportions, which somehow still feels like a relaxed, country kitchen.  From here, Tamsin can effortlessly whip up a feast for 20 (and she does, regularly!) using nothing more than farm-grown produce.

There not much ‘new’ in Tamsin’s house. ‘Pretty much everything in the house I’ve owned for a really long time, since I was in my teens or early 20’s’ she says.  Alongside these much-loved relics are a few treasured pieces handcrafted by Tamsin’s partner Allan.  One favourite piece is the beautiful lamp that Allan made Tamsin for a Christmas gift, and the kitchen bench which Allan also made. ‘You know a bench or table works when everyone gravitates towards it, and wants to stay there all night!’ says Tamsin.

There is a LOT to love about this home. For Tamsin, the joy of this place really is about much more than the sum of its parts.  ‘Even though I love what we have done to the interior of the house over the last few years, I lived here for many years prior to any renovations being done and loved it just as much’ says Tamsin earnestly. ‘To me, it is all about what I can see out the windows – space, the weather, light, birds, beautifully tended farm land, a community, and the trees’.

 

Afternoon sun over the hills as seen from Tamsin’s house.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 15th October 2014

36 comments

  • Melanir 2 years ago

    Well put Lucy! And congrats Tamsin. Such a special place.

  • Brooke 2 years ago

    As a follower of Tamsin’s blog, it is lovely to see more pics of her home on this site. She has created such a wonderful place and is an inspiration to others who might be thinking of taking a similar leap.

  • Cassie 2 years ago

    Wow..just wow. I love a resourceful woman! (and her partner seems pretty nifty too).

  • makip 2 years ago

    I absolutely love this place. It’s restful and homely with a breezy effortless charm. The landscape and interior design really complement each other.
    Can cows really jump fences!? Well I s’pose if they can jump moons…

  • Suzanne 2 years ago

    I can see exactly why Tamsin fell in love with this place. The green countryside is just breathtaking! And as someone who loves to cook, the kitchen is pure country perfection. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • charlotte 2 years ago

    Holy Moly this place gave me goosebumps. absolutely breathtaking!

  • Josephine 2 years ago

    I love the sneak peaks you feature every week, but have never commented before – they’re always lovely, but I rarely have anything particular to say. But this house and it’s location is breathtaking. It’s what I’ve always imaged a dream home to be! I’m off to check out Tamsin’s blog… Thanks for sharing Tamsin and Lucy!

  • Maryla 2 years ago

    Fills me with so much joy to read this. I love rural life and memories of my farming childhood. Beauty all round x

  • Paula 2 years ago

    Beautiful farmhouse! Want to move in right now!

  • Sarah 2 years ago

    Tamsin is one of those effortlessly amazing people, who has an incredibly calm efficiency and boundless friendship – those who know her tell many of her xx

  • Emma 2 years ago

    So beautiful. That opening image of the rolling, green hills… sigh. Love the tiles in the entrance and the light and the warmth of the old furniture… The wood stove, the kitchen, the patchwork rug in front of the wood stove…
    Thanks for the little work time retreat, now back to spreadsheets…

  • Barbara 2 years ago

    I’d be totally surprised if every single reader today wasn’t now googling farms for sale in Poowong East. I sure am.

  • Natasha Perkins 2 years ago

    Hey Tam, such a nice article and beautiful pics. See you on the 29th! xx

  • Giulia Scappaticcio 2 years ago

    I love Tamsin’s house and I follow her blog. unfortunately I live not so close to visit her on a large table lunch. Me too I live in the country in Abruzzo, Italy and I feel very similari to Tamsin. I love to welcome people to my country house to experience the real simple country life. Hope to host Tamsin and Her family soon in Abruzzo to cook together.

  • Pooja 2 years ago

    What an absolutely beautiful home! That kitchen, the view & all the gorgeous light streaming in from all directions is a dream! Thanks for sharing TDF!

  • Curated Interior 2 years ago

    How relaxing! Great photos xx

  • La Yeon-Kim 2 years ago

    so amazing. I like vintage furniture and mood-!!!!

  • Kirsten Kroon 2 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It is a great concept and Tamsin is a very resourceful lady. Tamsin’s home is just beautiful.

  • Jen 2 years ago

    I love the warmth in this home. It has real heart and a sense of place.

  • Kirstin 2 years ago

    beyond delightful, thank you for sharing.
    I am curious, can you tell me about the tiles in the kitchen – they have an amazing quality about them – are they glass? a resin?

  • Rebecca 2 years ago

    I’d dearly love to know more about the gorgeous kitchen tiles too please.

  • Susan 2 years ago

    21 photos are not enough!

  • Bec 2 years ago

    Ummmm… not fair! This is my dream, it’s just lovely.

  • Kendalls 2 years ago

    What a wonderful home! It’s simple but very cosy, just perfect for the family. Would love to move to the countryside with that house and the surroundings!

  • alyssa 1 year ago

    Gorgeous!! I love the kitchen…. Is there any chance you could give me any information on the tiles? I have spent the last couple of weeks searching for anything like them and cannot find a match!!

  • Elisabeth (from Hungary) 1 year ago

    Nekem csak az az egy nem tetszik, hogy nincs előszoba.
    I just do not like that one, that there is no room.

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