A Converted Train Carriage Turned Breathtaking Off-Grid Cabin






Tara Rowe’s farm is on Nauo Country, on the south western part of the South Australian coast known as the Eyre Peninsula. The nearest town is Coulta, with a population of 195 people. If you wanted some proper alone time after nearly two years of a pandemic, the couple’s new accommodation offering – The Greenly Carriage– would be the place to go!

Tara and her partner Luke salvaged an old train carriage from a Coulta local with the intention of converting it into an off-grid cabin. It was in terrible condition, but the Oregon floorboards were still intact and it retained a tag from its days as a functioning sleeper carriage. The tag told the couple it was originally used on the nearby Eyre Peninsula Railway, which was originally built in 1907 to connect Port Lincoln to Cummins.

Luke and Tara designed the conversion themselves, enlisting local builder and friend, Ross Campbell from Taiga Build to complete the construction.

The cabin was to be completely off-grid and restored using only local ‘dormant’ timber, which was sourced from within 30 kilometres of the cabin. This raw material was used for the interior cladding and the towering posts of the outdoor decking area.

‘Luke went along as they cut, craned, trucked the timber to us, with the cladding being milled nearby,’ says Tara. ‘Each and every piece of cladding, Luke put through the thicknesser himself and we then we oiled and oiled and oiled.’

As for the interiors, Tara kicked into scouring mode to ensure the space was filled with eclectic and unusual pieces.

‘My goal was to repurpose and buy second hand as much as possible, with a sprinkling of special new pieces from my favourite interiors stores,’ she says. ‘I wanted an eclectic mixture of “shacky” finds alongside a hint of mid-century design.’

The result is a unique and personal mix of furniture and art from Sarah Ellison and Grandfather’s Axe to Curated Spaces and local op-shops. One of Tara’s favourite pieces is the cane dining table she found in a scrap at a nearby antique store. She restored the cane legs, added a new tabletop and tiled it with leftover tiles from Tiles of Ezra and voila!

The care and consideration this couple has taken to ensure a gentle, unique space is all in service of the breathtaking surroundings and a deep respect for the land they are on.

‘The coastline at the end of our road boasts endless kilometres of pristine, untouched and wild beaches with not even a footprint on the beach for most of the year,’ says Tara.

Utter heaven!

Book a stay at The Greenly Carriage here.

Tara Rowe and her partner Luke found this old train carriage at a junk sale in a nearby town. It was in poor condition, and they decided to undertake a restoration project and convert it into accomodation. Photo – Rob Lang.

As well as restoring the train carriage the couple designed an adjacent outdoor eating area connected to the doorway. Photo – Rob Lang.

Thankfully, the original Oregon floorboards were intact. Photo – Rob Lang.

The cabin is completely off grid and sits on a slice of land on the couple’s 300-acre property. Photo – Rob Lang.

Tara collected a mix of vintage furniture and new pieces from favourite local makers such as Sarah Ellison. Photo – Rob Lang.

FUrniture from Curated Spaces and Grandfather’s Axe gives the interiors a unique but curated feel. Photo – Rob Lang.

The space is compact and used to be a sleeper carriage for railways staff. In its new incarnation, it now sleeps a new generation of people! Photo – Rob Lang.

The timber used to clad the interiors was all ‘dormant’, and grown from within 30 kilometres of the cabin. Photo – Rob Lang.

The same timber was used to make the posts for the outdoor dining area. Photo – Rob Lang.

The cabin offers panoramic, uninterrupted views of the Southern Ocean, Mount Greenly, Lake Greenly and the rolling countryside around. Photo – Rob Lang.

‘The coastline at the end of our road boasts endless kilometres of pristine, untouched and wild beaches with not even a footprint on the beach for most of the year,’ says Tara. Utter heaven! Photo – Rob Lang.

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