Fab Flin­ders fam­ily home

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Howard

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.”

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