Risky buy lands big re­ward

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Jessica Howard Email jessica. howard@ news. com. au

WHEN he wasn’t sail­ing the seven seas, Cap­tain Richard Cop­ping, af­ter whom the town­ship of Cop­ping was named, came to rest at his four- room cot­tage in the green, se­cluded hills of Kelle­vie.

The 135- year- old Rochford Hall is still stand­ing, with con­sid­er­ably more than four rooms, largely thanks to the ef­forts of Paul and Chris Lovell, who have spent the past 10 years restor­ing and mod­ernising each room while main­tain­ing the house’s orig­i­nal coun­try feel.

Tak­ing some­thing of a real es­tate risk, the cou­ple bought the 2.59ha prop­erty sight un­seen in 2003.

Hav­ing missed the in­spec­tion, the Lovells came to look at the home the fol­low­ing day and put in an of­fer with­out even see­ing in­side.

“We’d been think­ing about some­thing in the coun­try and we didn’t even re­ally have a look at this, but by chance, with the way the sale pro­ceeded we ended up with it,” Paul said.

“It was a bit of a mys­tery house when we fi rst came in.

“The front rooms had had some work done to them but other than that it was pretty run- down.”

Tak­ing it room by room, the pair have done much of the work them­selves to cre­ate a mod­ern coun­try haven that re­spects the his­tory of the home.

“We like to have a go at do­ing things our­selves to see what we can come up with be­cause we feel we have a bit more own­er­ship of the place that way,” Chris said.

“There were cer­tain things we had to do fi rst in or­der to make it live­able, like fi xing the bed­rooms.

“When we fi rst started we had a mat­tress in the front bed­room to sleep on while we sanded the fl oors.

“We went through that many discs be­cause the fl oor had this re­ally bad lac­quer on it which ate them away.

“We shut our­selves off in there and it was a bit spooky some­times.”

Peel­ing away decades of car­pet and vinyl was a hard task but well worth the ef­fort as they un­veiled beau­ti­ful Baltic pine and Tas­ma­nian oak boards un­derneath.

“A lot of things in the house were re­ally well left but the fl oors were just a night­mare,” Chris said.

“The Shel­lac was just hor­rid, like tar on th­ese beau­ti­ful boards.”

Chris sim­ply oiled the Ore­gon walls and a new macro­carpa kitchen com­ple­ments the other sur­round­ing tim­bers.

The Ge­or­gian home has al­ways been well­known within the com­mu­nity and has served many var­ied pur­poses, in­clud­ing be­ing a post offi ce, hay barn and even a ma­ter­nity hos­pi­tal in the 1920s.

The fi rst Tas­ma­nian to sail a ship around the world, Cop­ping named the prop­erty af­ter the town his wife was from in Es­sex, Eng­land.

“We had some­one here the other day who said their grand­mother had worked as a maid here,” Chris said.

With its eye- like front win­dows and the front door for a nose, the style of Rochford Hall is known as a cat- eye house.

The sec­ond level was added in the 1970s and while it is un­clear if it orig­i­nally had a ve­ran­dah, the Lovells have added one at the front as well as a side deck to catch the af­ter­noon sun, plus a rear bar area.

In 2007, the fi rst lot of olive trees were planted in the prop­erty’s fl our­ish­ing grove and Rochford Hall Olive Oil has since gone on to win a gold medal at this year’s Royal Ho­bart Fine Food Awards.

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