The ap­ple of their eyes

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Jes­sica Howard

LOOK­ING at this house now, you would never have known that 100 years ago it was one of the ap­ple sheds which are so com­monly found scat­tered around the pic­turesque Huon Val­ley.

So much more than a con­verted ap­ple shed, this prop­erty has a soul and char­ac­ter like no other.

And in a place so aptly named as Gard­ners Bay, it is only fit­ting that the stun­ning gar­dens found at this one- of- a- kind prop­erty form a part of the home and its heart. In just over a decade, own­ers Jenny Benn and David Sands

have trans­formed the prop­erty which was al­ready part- way through its con­ver­sion.

In the 1980s, pre­vi­ous own­ers Peter and San­dra Smith started the jour­ney and left Jenny and David a great tem­plate to work from.

“The orig­i­nal own­ers ob­vi­ously went and col­lected from sal­vage yards all the win­dows, rail­ings and bits and pieces,” Jenny said. “They ob­vi­ously had great vi­sion.” Both orig­i­nally from Bri­tain, Jenny and David met 12 years ago in Perth and made the big move to Tas­ma­nia to­gether af­ter an in­ter­est­ing in­tro­duc­tion to the state.

The long- dis­tance walk­ers took 24 days to cover the Tas­ma­nian Trail from Devon­port to Dover and Jenny in­stantly fell in love with the sur­rounds.

Re­turn­ing to Perth, the cou­ple sold their old house in just one week.

“We just packed up ev­ery­thing in the car and drove here,” Jenny ex­plained.

“Home­less. We were to­tally home­less and had real prob­lems find­ing a place to live. We knew we wanted to live in the Huon Val­ley so we came to look at this place. I walked through the gate and I said to David, ‘ This is it’.” So be­gan a mas­sive ren­o­va­tion which would in­volve trans­form­ing the in­te­rior, adding a rear sit­ting room with high ceil­ings and push­ing the bath­room out into the garden to cre­ate a bath with a leafy green view.

A random col­lec­tion of de­signs and room sizes, the house con­tains a cen­tral hub which forms an in­ter­nal stair­case up to a loft bed­room and is sur­rounded by the coun­try-style kitchen and din­ing area.

The master bed­room, which is lo­cated just off the hub, con­tained a tim­ber beam that still had bark on it when Jenny and David bought the home.

Up an­other spi­ralling set of stairs is David’s home of­fice with panoramic views across the val­ley. A third bed­room and the spa­cious sit­ting room com­plete the house, which is sur­rounded by ve­ran­dahs added by the Brits. A lot of the doors are former church doors with lead­light­ing in­clud­ing the toi­let door.

“De­spite its his­tory, it’s a young house in a lot of ways,” David said.

“It’s like an old woman who has had cos­metic surgery; an old frame with a lot of tarted up bits around the sides!”

The pair hope to stay in the house for a few more years be­fore the gar­dens and main­te­nance get to be too much.

“We spent a lot of money on the place but I’m to­tally en­slaved to it,” Jenny said.

“It’s to­tally unique; I’ve never seen an­other house like it. It’s not for ev­ery­body but I’ve had new houses and this is me.”


TRAN­QUIL: David Sands and Jenny Benn at their Gard­ners Bay home with their dog Bella; top right, a sign points to the stun­ning gar­dens.


FOR­EVER HOME: Left, the mez­za­nine level in­side their home; above, the rear of the prop­erty; be­low, a sculp­ture hang­ing in the garden.

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