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?’