Cruising through the countryside on a sunny Sunday drive, Tash and Rob Slattery found themselves in Mount Torrens and instantly fell in love.
The couple knew they wanted to settle down in the small Adelaide Hills community with a rich heritage and sprawling pastures.
However, in 2004 when Tash and Rob first saw the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 95 Terlinga Road, it was far from love at first sight.
“We pulled up at the front of the property and were not initially impressed, but we walked out the back and saw the views,” Tash says.
“We realised we can always work on the house and the land, but we can’t make those views.”
With two young children and a business to run, the renovations took time. An 18-year labour of love has transformed what was a run-down country property into a combination of modern vogue and rustic charm perched atop a cascade of rolling hills.
“Back when we first purchased the home, it was just a house in a paddock that used to be a horse property,” Tash says.
“There was no garden or landscaping whatsoever and the house was very original 1980s without any updates.”
The first thing the couple did when they moved in was give the house a quick update to make it more habitable before embarking on the more extensive renovations.
“My goal was always to establish some beautiful gardens,” Tash says. “I wanted to bring some life back because the horses had pretty much decimated the property.”
“We have revegetated a lot of the paddocks over the time we have been here, planting around 2000 trees over the years,” Tash says.
“There weren’t a lot of birds or animals when we first moved in, but revegetating the garden has seen a massive increase in wildlife in the area.”
A special feature of the garden’s design is a beautifully-built rotunda that is surrounded by nature and poses elevated views of the landscape.
“We have planted what they call ‘butterfly bushes’ and the butterflies love them,” Tash says.
“In summer, you are just surrounded by butterflies flying in and out of the rotunda.”
This rotunda is where Tash and Rob’s son, Zach, held his wedding last year.
“The very best memory for us was when our son and daughter-in-law got married here.
“It was a very special day and it was amazing to have all of our close family and friends here to share that special moment in an area we dreamed our kids could get married one day,” Tash says.
The interior of the home is a seamless mix of modern living and country charm, with Tash and Rob creating feature statements from recycled and restored materials.
“Being in the country, we wanted to incorporate that and we very much love to find the pieces that other people would regard as rubbish and make statement pieces out of them,” Tash says.
“The light fitting that hangs over the kitchen island was made out of some old industrial lighting that was going into a skip, and the timber frame that separates the kitchen and dining room was rescued from the Gumeracha cold store when it was getting demolished.
“The chunk of redwood that makes the outdoor porch bench was taken from one of our customers. We went to a garage sale for the piping, which is ex-irrigation piping, so it has been made out of almost 100% recycled materials.
“We love to reuse and recycle as much as possible and we have incorporated elements of that right through the house.
“It is very environmentally friendly and also very unique; maybe not to everybody’s taste, but some people really appreciate it.”
Over the years, the Slatterys have become part of the Mount Torrens community, with the children attending the local schools and Rob and Tash volunteering with the Mount Torrens CFS and Mount Pleasant Ambulance Service.
“Mount Torrens is a beautiful, small community with a wonderful community spirit,” Tash says.
“Having lots of family and friends with their kids visit means we have been able to see not only our kids growing up there but also our grandkids and our friends’ kids.”
With their children having flown the nest, Tash and Rob are ready to embark on a new adventure travelling Australia.
“We don’t want to have put all this effort in and then have it sit idle while we go off on an adventure,” Tash says.
“We are going to sell the property and the business and go off to explore our beautiful country.”
The sale is being handled by Andrew Adcock and Nikki Seppelt of Adcock Real Estate.