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Saying Goodbye To A Local Icon!

Interiors

For anyone who lives in Melbourne, or has visited Fitzroy, The Brooklyn Arts Hotel is a true institution! The historic exterior, and jumble of personality-filled rooms have hosted many a robust discussion about literature, art, music, philosophy, film and the ways of the world over the years, ever since the hotel first opened in 2006.

Now on the cusp of closing its doors, we chat with owner and founder Maggie Fooke about this iconic hotel.

22nd August, 2019

Welcome to the Brooklyn Arts Hotel. Photo – care of Nelson Alexander.

Every room tells a story. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. 

The brilliant Maggie Fooke in the Brooklyn Arts Hotel. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. 

Art attack. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. 

Maggie describes the aesthetic as ‘like your favourite aunties house.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix. 

There are layers of history and experience in this iconic hotel. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. 

A space for artists and creative thinkers. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The blue room! Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

This hotel is certainly not scared of colour. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Aqua room detail. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Natural light floods the hallway of this historic property. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Red room details. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

A hint of grandeur in Fitzroy. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

A verdant outdoor area. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Maggie in the garden. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Time for a last goodbye. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Lucy Feagins
Thursday 22nd August 2019

‘My idea was to make accommodation for people interested in all the arts, including conversation, activism and philosophy.’ – Maggie Fooke. 

The Brooklyn Arts Hotel in Fitzroy is a beloved local institution, that owner Maggie Fooke has evocatively described as ‘like staying at your favourite Auntie’s house.’ After co-purchasing the property in 2006 with another family, and subsequently converting the guest house into the Brooklyn Arts Hotel – Maggie shares with us her reflections on this iconic site, before she wraps up operations early next year. 

Maggie explains ‘my idea was to make accommodation for people interested in all the arts, including conversation, activism and philosophy.’ The hotel developed after years of soul-searching and Maggie’s realisation that ‘for the rest of my life, I wanted people around me, that I like.’

The Brooklyn Arts Hotel became a hub for creative thinkers from all disciplines, and word of mouth and friend recommendations proved an incredibly successful way to grow a business. Maggie succinctly explains ‘people like me liked it!’ 

Maggie’s own love of ‘the sound of people coming and going’ and enthusiasm for introducing guests to each other also cemented the Brooklyn Arts Hotel as a location for big ideas, and big rambling conversations. Maggie has previously owned the 1854 Theatre Royal and the 1923 Green Gables in Castlemaine, and describes being drawn to the energy of prominent historic buildings. ‘The only way to get that energy, like wrinkles, is to have a life.’ 

From initially managing, housekeeping, washing, coordinating bookings and maintenance, to later working full time and part-time – the Brooklyn Arts Hotel era is coming to a close for Maggie. With a background in architecture, landscape architecture, horticulture and film, and a list of interests and expertise as long as the phone book, we are excited to see what Maggie turns her attention to next.

In the mean-time, Maggie is looking forward to lots of farewells as guests come back for a final hurrah before closing the doors for the last time early next year. With a heart side of sass, she adds ‘I’ll miss almost everyone.’

We’re sad to say goodbye to this incredible Fitzroy icon, which is on the market! Perhaps a wealthy benefactor would like to preserve the integrity of The Brooklyn Arts Hotel building? See the full listing here

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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.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net