The Vine-Covered, Victorian Family Home Of Frank Body Co-Founder, Bree Johnson

Bree Johnson, co-founder of beauty label Frank Body and branding agency Willow & Blake, used to regularly park her car in front of a grand Victorian house in Richmond, covered in creeping vines.

She dreamed of one day owning the property, so when it came up for sale, there was no hesitation. Bree and her husband Steve Rowley inspected the Melbourne home and bought it the very same day.

The 1888 house is now Bree and Steve’s divine family home, with a sleek, contemporary extension designed by Therefore Studio.

Lucy Feagins
Editorial styling

Annie Portelli

Supported by Dulux

Inside Frank Body co-founder’s Bree Johnson’s family home.


Bree lives in the Richmond abode with her husband Steve Rowley, along with their children Hugo and Ned.

Dining table from Jardan. Chairs by Thonet. Coffee machine by La Marzocca.

Dining table from Jardan. Chairs by Thonet. Coffee machine by La Marzocca.

The kitchen features solid American oak cabinetry and floors are also hardwood American oak sealed with Rubio Monocoat. Stools by Grazia&co. Steel bench top made from handcrafted 8mm thick rolled steel.

‘It’s beautiful and practical,’ Bree says of the steel benchtop.

The rich timber theme in the open-plan living and kitchen area even extends to the furnishings, with sliding doors that reveal the outdoor space. Dining table from Jardan. Chairs by Thonet.

Artwork by Bree’s uncle, Tim Johnson. Stools by Grazia&co.

Ligne Roset Togo Sofa from DOMO. Stool from Modern Times. Framed photo of Brett Whiteley from Leonard Joel.

Ligne Roset Togo Sofa from DOMO. Wood fireplace by Cheminees Philippe. ‘10,000 paper planes’ by Ross Coulter. Painting on left by Christopher Zanko.

Vintage Eames chair. ‘Weirdo’ statue by Den Holm. Artwork by Christopher Zanko.

The hallways features unique beeswax walls.

Artwork by Brooke Holm.

Towels by Loom Towels.

Blue tiles line the floors in one of the home’s luxurious bathrooms.

Greenery covers the entire exterior of the house, which Bree’s son calls the leaf house!

The calming outdoor terrace.

Lucy Feagins
Editorial styling

Annie Portelli

31st of May 2023

Bree Johnson’s mum told her to always buy property near the ‘three ps’: parks, public transport, and pubs.

This circa 1888 Richmond, Melbourne house met all those requirements and more, with its double-fronted two-storey Victorian facade covered in vines.

Bree had long been familiar with the Richmond home, from often parking her car in the same street when going to work as the co-founder of beauty label Frank Body, and branding agency Willow & Blake.

The mid-Victorian symmetrical brick house is located on one of Richmond’s oldest streets, and is historically significant due to its uncommon two-storey scale.

Bree and her husband Steve Rowley (co-founder of Frank Body, Buddy Capital, and Sixty-One Hospitality Group) were away when the house initially came up for sale six years ago. They were able to attend the very last inspection, and bought the property at auction later that day.

‘We bought it from a lady called Mary who passed away and donated all the profits to cancer research. Everyone tells me she was an incredible lady,’ says Bree.

The couple have lived here ever since with their two children Ned (3) and Hugo (2). Bree says the family happily live in a ‘bubble’ that includes their offices, home, and local cafe all within walking distance.

‘I’ll generally see at least three people I know on this trip,’ says Bree. ‘I really appreciate that morning connection, even if it’s just a wave across the park or a “Hi, how are you” as you cross paths on the street.’

Bree and Steve have maintained the heritage part of the home and replaced the rear with a new light-filled addition designed by Therefore Studio.

‘The idea is that the front of the house is a modern interpretation of heritage, and the extension is by contrast is modern Australian utilising off-form concrete, steel and lots of timber,’ says Bree.

‘It’s more reflective of us as people — minimal, green, and full of light — whereas Frank and our office is more reflective of that brand — fun, quirky and creative.’

A lightwell and courtyard draws nature into the home, ensuring light and greenery is visible from every room. ‘My son calls our house the leaf house, and I think that’s a beautiful description as we did focus on ensuring there’s a connection between outside and in,’ says Bree.

Unsurprisingly, Bree and Steve are regularly asked about their home’s facade. They regularly maintain the ficus pumila (or ‘creeping fig’) growing across the facade, with twice yearly visits from Will Gibson Gardens.

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