This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

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?’

This Week

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Architecture

The Treasure-Filled Sydney Home Of Two Global Art Collectors

House Gezellig by Studio Prineas reflects their clients’ love for modernist design principles and collection of fine art.

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney’s southern beaches is a sun-drenched dream home!

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Colourful Extension Inspired By Clinker Bricks

Wowowa’s Presto House is a vivid and respectful addition to a 1930s art deco home made from 'clinker' bricks.
Sasha Gattermayr
  23 hours ago

Shopping

8 Local Creatives Making Furniture That Doubles As Art

Meet our favourite designers and makers pushing the limits of traditional furniture with their sculptural and striking pieces!
Christina Karras

Art

Artist Cressida Campbell Is Finally Getting The Spotlight She Deserves

A new exhibition at the NGA brings together more than 140 works from the artist's life and unique practice.

Gardens

A Hawthorn Home Enveloped In Dreamy, Layered Gardens

This new family home is brought to life with lush gardens designed by Peachy Green – reminiscent of a flowering ‘woody meadow’!
Christina Karras

Food

Julia's Irresistible Double Chocolate + Tahini Brownies

Is there anything more irresistible than a brownie? We think not! Especially Julia's, which come with double the chocolate, and a nutty swir...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Dream Tree Change Home In Daylesford

Jenni and Jennie share their much-loved country home, combining English Cottage charm with Scandinavian light and a distinctly Australian fe...

Homes

A Beloved Family Home, Re-Built From The Ground Up

After a freak accident destroyed most of their Narre Warren North home, Sarah Woodhouse and Brad Nicholls designed a new and improved versio...

Homes

An Interior Designer's 'Comfortably Minimal' Home

The interior designer shares her renovated Glen Iris home, styled for chic and relaxed family living.

This Week

Architecture

The Treasure-Filled Sydney Home Of Two Global Art Collectors

House Gezellig by Studio Prineas reflects their clients’ love for modernist design principles and collection of fine art.

Food

Julia's Irresistible Double Chocolate + Tahini Brownies

Is there anything more irresistible than a brownie? We think not! Especially Julia's, which come with double the chocolate, and a nutty swir...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Gardens

A Hawthorn Home Enveloped In Dreamy, Layered Gardens

This new family home is brought to life with lush gardens designed by Peachy Green – reminiscent of a flowering ‘woody meadow’!
Christina Karras

Shopping

8 Local Creatives Making Furniture That Doubles As Art

Meet our favourite designers and makers pushing the limits of traditional furniture with their sculptural and striking pieces!
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Architecture

A Colourful Extension Inspired By Clinker Bricks

Wowowa’s Presto House is a vivid and respectful addition to a 1930s art deco home made from 'clinker' bricks.
Sasha Gattermayr
  23 hours ago

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney’s southern beaches is a sun-drenched dream home!

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras

Art

Artist Cressida Campbell Is Finally Getting The Spotlight She Deserves

A new exhibition at the NGA brings together more than 140 works from the artist's life and unique practice.

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Homes

A Dream Tree Change Home In Daylesford

Jenni and Jennie share their much-loved country home, combining English Cottage charm with Scandinavian light.

Homes

A Beloved Family Home, Re-Built From The Ground Up

After their home was destroyed in freak accident, Sarah Woodhouse and Brad Nicholls designed a new and improved version.

Homes

An Interior Designer's 'Comfortably Minimal' Home

The interior designer shares her renovated Glen Iris home, styled for chic and relaxed family living.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net