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Living The Regional Dream In Strzelecki, South Gippsland!

Homes

If you’ve ever considered packing up shop and moving to the country, this home story might just be the little nudge that tips you over the edge!

Interior designer Shelley Banders and husband Tom moved to this charming farmhouse in Victoria’s South Gippsland in mid 2018, and have not looked back! They share their idyllic 1890s home with son Amos (6 months) and Dennis the Airedale terrier. (And possibly also all of TDF soon, who would like to move in please!)

22nd January, 2020

‘We love the rusty roof. This side of the house was overgrown when we purchased, blocking a fair amount of the view. This is a now great spot to watch the birds and the sunset and look out to Wilsons Prom,’ says Shelley. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Our garden will be an ever evolving project, as all gardens should be. We are still learning the land, how far the sun reaches, where our natural springs are positioned and from which direction the damaging winds arrive,’ says Shelley. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A cosy corner of the living room. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

TV cabinet found in hard rubbish then sanded, waxed and completed with cane inset doors made by Shelley’s dad. Thea Skelsey canvases. Bertjan Pot for Hay table lamp. In the vase is wild pampas grass – a declared weed that grows roadside in Gippsland and is best cut down and out of the wind to prevent spreading. (Shelley drives with secateurs in the car for this reason!) Vintage timber rocking horse. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Living space. 1970s Parker sofa in original upholstery, another eBay gem. George Nelson Bubble Wall Lamp. Hand made cushions. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Mid-century Swedish exhibition and travel posters on the wall. The original baltic floors have been sanded and treated with an ultra-matte penetrative sealant. 1970s Parker sofa in original upholstery, another eBay gem. George Nelson Bubble Wall Lamp. Hand made cushions. Woven rug from Temple & Webster. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Heavenly! Canvas curtains sewn by Shelley from painters drop sheets. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

1970s Parker sofa in original upholstery bought off eBay; George Nelson bubble wall lamp; woven hemp rug from Temple & Webster; handmade cushions. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Shelley says they have no plans to update the 1950s kitchen renovation at this stage! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Views from the dining space. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Canvas curtains sewn by Shelley from painters drop sheets. Le Corbusier Lampe de Marseille from Cult. Secondhand dining table, velvet chairs and vintage Belgium rug.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kitchen features a Falcon range cooker handmade in Britain (‘The pride of the kitchen and fired up at every meal’ says Shelley). Le Creuset kettle. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The larder features an Ikea IVAR storage system that’s been lovingly stained piece by piece. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Buffet stand bought at a garage sale in Canterbury, ‘Calvin the Komondor’ art print from the Cone of Shame series by Winnie Au, original Atelier Populaire posters, and wooden Latvian candle holder. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

1970s graphic prints, timber sculpture and leather carry bag all bought from op shops over the years. The hall runner was purchased secondhand from a couple on the Mornington Peninsula who ran it down the aisle at their wedding! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Cow hide from friends at Warialda Belted Galloway, String Furniture shelving, original Atelier Populaire poster, canvas curtains sewn by Shelley. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The master bedroom features a George Nelson bubble wall lamp, handmade pillowcases from Saltbush Avenue in Tasmania, their Nana’s old side table, vintage wool throw. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Amos’ room features a Warren Hill linen play mat, Ubabub bookshelves, original L’étoile Mystérieuse Tin Tin poster, vintage wooden train. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Amazing views from the property, and a look at Shelley + Tom’s pride and joy – the veggie patch! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The couple’s beloved veggie garden! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Tom looks out over the rolling hills. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Garden goodness. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The couple made the tree change from Melbourne to South Gippsland in 2018. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 22nd January 2020

‘We have never felt so grounded, connected and satisfied’ – Shelley Banders.

Shelley and Tom Banders immediately fell in love with this 1890s farmhouse in Strzelecki, Victoria (about 130km south-east of Melbourne), with its 10-foot ceilings and charming heritage details.

The pair were drawn to the South Gippsland area after visiting famed foodie Tamsin Carvin of Tamsin’s Table (fortuitously, Tom now works alongside Tamsin at The Borough Dept. Store in Korumburra). After seeing the property online, they went to visit, and were immediately awestruck. They wax lyrical, ‘We are surrounded by natural winemakers, micro dairies, single-origin cheesemakers and other niche artisans, producers and growers… However, having space is possibly the best part, we have established over 70 lineal metres of veggie beds, and planted a stone fruit orchard and a citrus grove. We are in the process of preparing a berry cane enclosure and designing a coop for our future chickens and ducks.’

After making the move from Melbourne, the couple set out to bring this farmstead into a contemporary era, while still maintaining the honesty and practicality of the traditional farmhouse. The home maintains the original footprint, with one bedroom transformed into an open-shelf larder (a country home dream!).

The walls were all whitewashed in Dulux White Polar, and the carpet stripped back to reveal beautiful Baltic pine floorboards. Shelley highlights the New Zealand pure wool carpet installed in the bedrooms out of necessity (cold winters!) but ‘also to generate a soft, dream-like quality to the resting spaces’

This soft, comfortable vibe carries throughout the home, creating a perfect retreat for the two self-described ‘home bodies.’ Shelley explains, ‘We always try to create an informal, welcoming space that radiates warmth and comfort.’ The interior finishes, objects and materials here have been selected for durability and functionality . ‘Our mostly preloved furniture allows us to relax if we’ve gotten dirty in the veggie patch. Life is too short to worry about these things!’ Shelley says.

For anyone reading along and dreaming of a regional escape, Shelley makes an impassioned case for taking the leap. She enthuses ‘Just go for it! We have never felt so grounded, connected and satisfied, ending our day with a glass of local wine, a bit of dirt under our nails and a belly full of real food. What are you waiting for?’

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