With city property prices sky-rocketing, and Victoria’s state government announcing a doubling of the First Home Owner Grant in regional Victoria (effective July 1st), a ‘tree change’ has never seemed so enticing.
Such incentives are probably mildly irritating for those who’ve already made the move (!) but perhaps Elizabeth Barnett and her partner Blake Byron-Smith can take comfort in knowing they got in early – and snapped up one of the most beautiful farmhouses in the Macedon ranges!
Lizzie and Blake have been here just 18 months, having relocated from inner city Melbourne in late 2015. They’ve taken no time to settle in, creating a beautiful family home here with kids Archer (3½ yrs) and Beatrice (1 ½).
The home itself was one of the original farmhouses of the area, first owned by the town doctor. As is often the case in country towns, the property came with a few entertaining (though somewhat unsubstantiated) stories! ‘The owners two before us bred and ran miniature horses here’ Lizzie recounts. ‘Legend has it that the horses used to roam about the house!’
After the miniature horse farm moved on (!), the home was lovingly renovated by the next owners Holly and Aaron Pitt. Aaron is a custom furniture maker, and made all the beautiful cabinetry and fixtures in the house. ‘My favourite piece he made is the island bench that we congregate around for breakfast and dinner’ says Lizzie. ‘It is the true heart of the home.’
Though they fortunately inherited a home that required very little improvement, Lizzie and Blake have, of course, added a few of their own touches. With the help of Lizzie’s Godmother and Mum, they’ve hung all new (second-hand) curtains, and new timber screen doors, made by a friend, Tommy Norton (who also makes guitars!). They’ve also been adding to the garden, veggie patch and orchard – and adopted a family of alpacas who now live in the back paddock!
Inside, Lizzie and Blake’s home is a treasure trove of handcrafted heirlooms, and paintings by Lizzie and creative friends. One favourite piece is a small painting of gumtrees by Lizzie’s Grandma Patricia, which hangs beside Lizzie’s own paintings in her home studio.
Moving from inner city Melbourne to Macedon was a leap of faith for Lizzie and Blake, but they haven’t looked back.
‘I adore our house’ says Lizzie. ‘It has such an inviting and warm feeling to it. It begs for friends to be invited over, and to enjoy long lunches on the deck while the kids play in the garden. I love looking out at all the beautiful vistas from the giant windows in the house. The garden rolling down into paddocks takes my breath away every day. I really feel connected to the landscape here.’