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Home Stories: Cassie Dunchue

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This week, Ashley Feraude pops in for a chat with Cassie Dunchue of VisitCanberra at her Braddon townhouse.

When I was doing my psychology degree, I remember reading that, as human beings, we all want a place to belong.

That’s pretty obvious—but what’s interesting is that a place of belonging does not always mean your origin. So yes, we have a sense of belonging to our culture, country, family, and so on, but we also can create belonging on our own.

Despite finishing my qualification, I did not pursue a career in clinical psychology, so please don’t message me to book an appointment if you feel like lying down on a couch and telling me about your mother.

I mean we could give it a go, but rather than helping you, I’d probably make things worse and then on top of it, you suddenly develop an irrational fear of staplers. What we can chat about, however, is how our homes give us that sense of belonging.

Photographer Cass and I went to visit Cassie Dunchue on a stunning Saturday morning at her Braddon townhouse. The townhouse is one of only nine and overlooks Haig Park on one of the most relaxing streets in Braddon. It has an incredibly peaceful outlook, despite being a stone’s throw from Lonsdale Street.

Cassie purchased the property about a year ago after a long period learning about the market and weighing up the pros and cons of old vs new.

She knew she preferred character and established gardens over that new apartment smell and really hoped to be part of a small community, where you know the names of your neighbours.

So, when the opportunity came up for this townhouse, the choice was made easy. Plus, it’s just a stroll through the park to VisitCanberra’s city offices where she works. What a way to start your morning.

It turned out that Cassie’s brother was looking for space to live at that time too. They moved in together and are now making the most of their late 20s—a time where many siblings seem to grow apart due to the pursuit of independent careers and lives—in a beautiful home. A sustainably sourced, beautiful home.

“This is the house that Gumtree built!” laughs Cassie. “A lot of the pieces you see are second hand. Yes—it is a cost-effective way to furnish a home, but what I really like is that every piece comes with a story.”

And indeed, they do. For example, the lounge suite was from Kevin’s pool room in Kambah, the TV cabinet was from Mary in Ainslie (which still has child locks on it) and the wicker chairs that I’m sure many of you are drooling over are from Joyce in Sydney.

The downside to this method is that you have to have patience, but the upside is the thrill of the chase and the reward—plus you get to meet interesting people.

Even though I haven’t bought many pieces this way and opt for retailers of new items, I most certainly have had to have the patience to save up for home items that I had my mind set on.

I ate dinner from a bean bag with a milk crate for a TV stand for six months to the amusement of my friends (who would actually point and laugh), until the exact set I was after arrived. But my patience was worth it and to this day I appreciate what I chose—and so do my friends when they come for dinner (who’s laughing now, huh?).

I guess what I’m getting at is that no matter where they come from, all pieces have stories. Cassie’s home is an older townhouse with history and her furniture are pieces imbued with other people’s stories—but she has curated those surroundings to create her own sense of home.

“There’s not a day that I don’t come back from work and feel at home, like I belong here,” says Cassie.











Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here

Home Stories is brought to you in partnership with Canberra Outlet Centre

Photography: Cass Atkinson

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