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Sarah Murphy, Matthew McCaughey and Family


Today we share a gorgeous, much loved Melbourne family home.   Despite its central location not far from Chapel st in South Yarra, this house feels much like a rambling farmhouse, with its timber lined walls, original details, sprawling leafy garden and generally perfect imperfect-ness!

8th October, 2014
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 8th October 2014

This endearingly homely abode belongs to Sarah Murphy, her husband Matthew McCaughey, and their two daughters Lola and Posy.  Matthew is a film director, whilst Sarah is creator of Murphy & Daughters, a homegrown bath and body products company.  (In a previous life, Sarah worked for many years as the buyer for iconic Melbourne homewares store Market Import, as evidenced by many of the colourful details and trinkets in her home!).  The family have been here six years.

‘We weren’t exactly looking for a new home, but came across this place on the internet and were pretty intrigued by the size of the garden’ explains Sarah. ‘Our home at the time was pretty comfortable, but we had two small exuberant girls who were kind of busting out of our little courtyard at the time’.  Sarah and Matthew went along to the auction more out of curiosity than anything else, as it was scheduled to take place on an election day.   ‘As is turn out, there was a pretty small crowd… and next thing you know – the house was ours!’ says Sarah.

When they first took possession, Sarah recalls every room was a different colour.  ‘Only after we had repainted every room white and moved our things in did we discover the motivation behind Lola’s room choice – to her huge disappointment we had ‘whited out’ her half orange and half blue bedroom!’.  The family are in the process now of getting ‘psyched up’ to tackle a more serious renovation, though Sarah admits that finding the time and energy is proving a bit of a challenge!   ‘Our girls are nearly ready to drop us though if we don’t do it soon’ she admits, adding ‘it’s a lovely feeling type house, but there are a few scary and squishy bits!’

With its aged patina and charming old world ‘wonkiness’, Sarah and Matthew’s cheerful Victorian home exudes an uncanny sense of familiarity.  It’s as if you’ve been here before.  In part, that feeling comes from the relaxed, eclectic decorating decisions Sarah has made here.  The home is layered effortlessly with antique and vintage furniture, picked up at nearby Leonard Joel Auctions, or found on the side of the road. Alongside these gems are lots of treasures gathered by Sarah on her travels through Mexico, Italy, Spain and France for Market Import.  Amongst all this are a smattering of much loved artworks by friends and local painters.  ‘We love all of our art, mostly it comes from good friends, including some we have been given as gifts or swaps’ Sarah says.

Despite being a stone’s throw from Chapel street and the Prahan Market, this is also a surprisingly quiet and private home, tucked down a tiny street in a spot only locals would ever find.  ‘Its like a secret oasis’ says Sarah.  ‘As soon as we enter and come down the hallway, we’re miles away from the outside world… it’s like being in an old country farm house.’

Huge thanks to Sarah, Matthew and family for sharing their gorgeous home with us today!  If you love Sarah’s aesthetic do pop over and check out her beautiful Murphy & Daughters range of bath and body products (all made in Melbourne!).


Backgarden looking into dining room and kitchen.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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