A town characterised by golden canola fields, weathered shopfronts and fibro cottages is an unlikely location for boutique luxury accommodation. But the Farmers’ Home Hotel in Northam – a 90-minute drive north-east of Perth in the Avon Valley – doesn’t feel out of place at all. The modest, two-storey lodging expertly blurs the line between contemporary design and old-world charm.

The 16-room hotel occupies a building that’s been a part of Northam’s streetscape since the early 1800s. It’s had a colourful history – it started as a general store; survived the temperance movement (from which the attached Temperance Bar, which serves share plates and wines from the Swan Valley and Perth Hills, gets its name); and saw five significant expansions over the past century.

Hotelier and Dome Group CEO Nigel Oakey purchased the building in 2018 when it was still trading as the rough, run-down Shamrock Hotel. To bring it back to life, Oakey re-engaged architects Michael Patroni, Dimmity Walker and Tobias Busch of Space Agency in Fremantle, the same team that worked on Dome’s other lauded hotel, the Premier Mill. They incorporated some of the same design elements, creating a sense of connection between the two hotels whilst also ensuring distinct identities.

Accordingly, it’s uncluttered, light and bright, allowing the hero heritage features – baltic pine floors, a jarrah staircase and leadlight windows – to shine. Those features are complemented by a few hand-blown light fixtures, bespoke Paul Morris chairs and custom black rugs in each room. The result is a hotel that’s modern with a luxurious, lived-in feel, while still retaining the soul and history of the building.

Updated: December 15th, 2021

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