HOME: An old farm­house was the an­swer to a fam­ily’s dilemma


Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - CONTENTS - WORDS: Car­rie Hutchin­son STYLING: Vanessa Colyer Tay PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: Ma­ree Homer

WHO Lee Tal­bot, an in­te­rior de­signer/doll maker, her hus­band, Rick, and their chil­dren, Otis, five, Ber­tie, three, and Ru­fus, one WHERE South Coast, NSW WHAT An 1890s farm­house

The Tal­bot fam­ily had been liv­ing in the coastal vil­lage of Thirroul, just north of Wol­lon­gong, for about a year when Lee and Rick’s old­est son, Otis, was di­ag­nosed with brit­tle bone disease. This meant their home on the es­carp­ment in town, which had stairs, wasn’t a suit­able place for Otis to live.

“We were quite over­whelmed,” says Lee.“We put the house on the mar­ket a week later and be­gan a chaotic search around Thirroul.

“Then we saw this house. It’s got quite a beau­ti­ful his­tory, and took our hearts im­me­di­ately. It was our sil­ver lin­ing in a dif­fi­cult time.”

The for­mer farm­house had been part of the McCauley fam­ily’s es­tate – one of the val­ley’s first set­tlers. Over the years, land around it had been sub­di­vided, but not much within the house had been up­dated.The Tal­bots did a quick $15,000 ren­o­va­tion be­fore mov­ing in.

“We knocked out a lot of walls to cre­ate mod­ern, open-plan liv­ing,” says Lee. “Then we painted ev­ery­thing white. It’s got beau­ti­ful orig­i­nal fea­tures that have a bit of de­tail to them, and we’ve brought that out by do­ing them up.”

A room on the front verandah ,which over­looks the ocean, was turned into a stu­dio, where Lee cre­ates her Maven Dolls, but she ad­mits the house isn’t fin­ished. She would like to re­store the wrap­around verandah and ren­o­vate the back half of the home: “I’ve got plans in my head and a lo­cal builder I’ve worked with in the past, but it’s still a way off.”

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