Feeling good about her choices

Rhonda Dredge

Young female professionals are making great choices and moving into Hotham Gardens, an idealistic estate developed in the 1960s to encourage people to own their own homes.

The 108-apartment estate was designed by architect Roy Grounds on behalf of the Master Builders Association Slum Clearance Ltd.

It was an original affordable housing project funded by the state government and it’s still attainable for first home-buyers.

Maddy Roberts bought a one-bedroom apartment on the third floor six months ago. It cost her $314,000, quite high considering agents were quoting less than $300,000.


But Maddy has now joined other young professionals such as Rebecca Riggs who claim that North Melbourne is cool and the estate female-friendly.


“This feels like mine. It’s nice to be in a space I’ve created,” Maddy said, nestling into the 1960s décor, which she has resurrected with the help of her father, also a local resident.

The O’Shannassy St estate was designed with women in mind, Rebecca said. “Mine still has a fold-out wooden ironing board. It’s close to original.”

Each block of nine to 10 apartments has its own body corporate and younger residents wax lyrical about the features, particularly the 1970s yellow bottle glass in Block A.

“It’s kind of cool,” Rebecca said, whose father paid $575,000 for a two-bedroom top-floor apartment here in 2015.

Maddy still lives with her boyfriend in a rented apartment in Brunswick East but when it gets too crowded with the two of them working from home she uses the North Melbourne apartment as a home office.

“We work in Docklands,” Maddy said. “We could have walked to work from here.”

But unfortunately, her company has been one of those to vacate Docklands and rent new office space further out.

The apartment renovation project has helped Maddy deal with all the disruption to work. “I’m terrible at making decisions,” she said about choices of product. “Dad kept me on schedule.”

The apartment has a large balcony, an all-white décor with small square tiles in the bathroom, a plywood bench top, large laundry and a great leafy outlook.

Maddy can wave at her sister, who has also bought into the block, as she arrives home.

The real estate market is booming and Maddy had to fight off a large number of other bidders on a Zoom auction to buy the place.

An identical apartment opposite to hers sold recently for around $370,000 so she feels vindicated.

She has just ordered an Aeropress coffee maker for her new blonde wood bench and is feeling good about her choices •

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