We bought this place five years ago. Because they were council flats, they were the last, sort of, affordable living. We did a private sale with this really, really awesome man who had lived here for something like 25 years. We found him on Trade Me. He said, ‘‘Come over for a cup of tea.’’ We went over, shook hands and an $800 lawyer fee later, we were in. “A young couple like you should be able to afford your own home,’’ he said.
The flats are super no-frills, but they have everything. They’ve been built to last. You’ve got shared clotheslines, shared rubbish bins, compost, recycling, storage. It’s sort of like a modern commune.
The council flats are still on the bottom floor. The second and third floor, I think, are more owned. When you live in one of these sorts of buildings, you’re just reminded to say hello to your neighbour and gently close the door because you know the impact it has if you slam it. You know if you don’t put your recycling out or you put it in the wrong bins, someone’s going to have to go through that and do it for you.
Our building is a great example of inner-city living, where you can have all different walks of life and cultures and pay grades but there’s this real level of equality. And that really does make for quite a beautiful society.
Whoever designed these flats back in the 1960s, late50s, did it in a way where you’ve got a little bit of light and a little bit of shade - everything we need. Before we moved in we lifted the carpet and sanded and polished it, and put down big rugs. We put a lick of paint in the bathroom. Other than that, it just is what it is. You’ve still got the meat safe in the little kitchen.
If we’re home, we’re in this room. Ollie reads a lot and I do crafts; it’s where life is.
At home, it’s sort of his aesthetic. His art ranges from anything from Victorian porn handkerchiefs to big pieces he paints. The Mary has got a moko on her, which Ollie painted. The big artworks to the right are Ollie’s pieces. The Mediterranean rugs are both our tastes - we both draw from that sort of, European style. There are a lot of rugs in our house.
There’s a massive glass window behind me that goes straight on to the street. We forget people can actually see in. Freemans Bay School is nearby, we get hundreds of kids walking past, waving every day. It’s such a nice thing.