Fab Flinders family home
RAISING a young family anywhere is tough enough, let alone bringing them up on a remote island. But for Sophie and Mark Pitchford, they wouldn’t have it any other way after they chose to raise their three kids on Mark’s native Flinders Island.
“We were living in Jan Juc [ Victoria] and as soon as I had Tommy, Mark wanted to come back here and bring up the children,” Sophie said.
“It’s great for them here. They’ve got their bikes and Poppy has her horse, so they get all that and we often go to the beach and go fi shing. “I don’t think they know how lucky they are.” Sophie’s family bought a property on the island when she was 14 and she had been going back and forth until the Pitchfords settled at their home on Brymworth Farm, in Emita, on the west coast almost 10 years ago.
The 1936 weatherboard and corrugated- iron home had been in the one family since it had been built.
“No one had lived here for 10 years when we bought it so it was very much neglected and I think they did it quite tough,” Sophie said.
“For us it was solid and like a blank canvas. It was my dream to get an old house and renovate it.”
Having seen better days, an extensive renovation that would take place in bits and pieces began soon after, starting with the section which contained the freezing- cold kitchen.
“It was that cold, I can remember trying to make choc- chip cookies and I melted the butter but by the time I went to add the sugar, it had gone hard again,” council worker and student Sophie laughed.
“That was an old skillion section so we had to reframe it and redo the fl oorboards, which Mark did himself – those were the main structural changes.”
The three- bedroom home features an industrial- style kitchen and a cosy living and dining area.
Poppy’s bedroom has its own little escape hatch to the garden in the form of a small stable door.
A converted open fi replace is a feature of the master bedroom and timber bunkbeds made by transport worker Mark are a highlight of the boys’ bedroom. At the far end of the home, an extended sunroom acts as a study- come- rumpus- come- games room.
Outside there is plenty of room for Thomas, Harry and Poppy to run around as well as their menagerie of dogs, ducks and chickens.
The couple have also been producing organic garlic over the past seven years, starting with just 300 plantings and having as many as 95,000 a couple of years ago.
“This year we’re going to pare it right back to about 25,000 so we can space them out more,” Sophie said.
“And you have to weed by hand. Last year when a lot of them failed I cried because we’d planted them ourselves and the crows took a lot as well.”