A Fashion Designer’s Romantic 1860s Family Farmhouse
FME Apparel owner and photographer Maddy Maeve Dawe and physiotherapist Brodie Doyle Jones knew they were home as soon as they stepped foot in this Castlemaine property.
The property is a gorgeously rambling and rustic 1860s farmhouse connected to a 1900s Victorian home by a (later added) central atrium.
Surrounding the home is a large cottage garden established by the previous owners over the past 25 years.
‘The magic of the garden and original 1860s farmhouse just blew us away,’ says Maddy. ‘I can’t explain it, but I just felt like I had lived in the house.’
Buying the property was a big move for the couple who both grew up in Richmond and previously lived in a one-bedroom Abbotsford apartment.
Before making a permanent tree change from Melbourne to Victoria’s Central Highlands, they decided to rent in the region for 18 months, which only solidified their desire to live in the country.
‘This was a test to see if we liked the area, and we quickly fell in love with the region and knew Castlemaine would be forever,’ says Maddy.
Brodie and Maddy haven’t made any significant structural changes to the building, instead focusing on refreshing spaces through paint and adding storage.
They removed a splashback, installed shelving, and painted almost every wall throughout, opting for the subtle warmth of Porter’s Paints Milk in the kitchen and living room.
‘The goal was to brighten up the place to bring more light into each room, especially the south-facing lounge room, which was originally maroon with textured plaster,’ says Maddy.
The main bedroom remains untouched with its gorgeous pink walls, Victorian open fireplace, and arched recesses all still intact.
Most of Maddy and Brodie’s time has been spent working in the garden to adopt a more perennial style of planting, with integrated natives.
They’re inspired to create landscapes similar to the work of Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf — particularly the wild, hardy, and ever changing planting of the New York City High Line.
‘Prior to [our son] Fox being born, Brodie described the garden as the third person in our relationship, as it requires the same amount of love and attention, but gives us so much joy in return!’ says Maddy.
Inside, the home is styled thoughtfully, with mostly sentimental pieces and secondhand finds. The solid oak dining chairs were $25 each, the Danish armchairs were $80 from the Camberwell Market (where FME was exclusively sold in the business’s early days), and the ceramics plates were passed down from Maddy’s potter grandmother.
‘She had a studio and kiln at her property in Dandenongs surrounded by a rose garden. I think I get a lot of inspiration, love of gardening, and beautiful objects from her.’
Altogether, Maddy and Brodie’s home is a reflection of their shared tastes and values: warm, welcoming and totally unpretentious.
An idyllic home, for a delightful family!