Happy families in apartments
As house prices continue to soar, families are bypassing traditional standalone homes in favour of raising their families in apartments.
Katie Tomasi Edwards said you’d be surprised how easy it is for a family to thrive in the smaller space. She lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her parents, and grew up living in apartments and standalone houses. If she had the choice, she would never live in a standalone house again.
‘‘I one hundred per cent prefer apartments to houses,’’ Edwards said. ‘‘They enrich your life through the growth of the community around you and you can always feel that there is something happening.’’
She said part of the appeal of living in an apartment building, is the security from living in a tightknit community. ‘‘As a woman living in a city, you sometimes get into situations that you don’t love. But I know that if I ever run into trouble at home, I have my building manager’s number on speed dial and he can come and help me.’’
Ana Barbono and her husband, Rob Dongol, also live in a 90sqm apartment in Wellington’s bustling Cuba St with their son, Aro, and the family dog, Chester. Barbono told NZ House & Garden magazine that she couldn’t imagine moving to the suburbs.
‘‘People think when you live in the city you’re quite anonymous, but for us, living in the city gives us the best of everything.’’
The couple said that they don’t miss much about living in a standalone house, but sometimes they do wish they have an outdoor area, ‘‘but then you can just walk out your door and be at the beach, the park or up Mt Vic in no time’’.
Edwards said there are many ways to cope with not having a backyard. ‘‘You can go to the park, meet new people and socialise your child. Our dog, Tessa, might not have a backyard, but she goes out every morning and afternoon and probably socialises with more dogs than most do while on her walks and trips to the park.’’
You can always bring the outdoors into your apartment by investing in indoor plants or pick flowers from surrounding streets.
‘‘Foraging is what we like to call it,’’ Barbono said. ‘‘I have my secret foraging public spots, I know where to get free hydrangeas and where Queen Anne’s lace grows.’’
When decorating an apartment, don’t fall into the trap of filling the space with small furniture as this will only emphasise the lack of space.
Interior designer Bridget Foley suggested using a few pieces of oversized furniture instead. She also said it’s important for apartment-dwellers to try to find balance in their styling and avoid clutter. ‘‘People are also inclined to fill the space with lots of items. In this instance, less really is more.’’
Despite not having a backyard for the majority of her childhood, Katie Tomasi Edwards said she never felt like she was missing out on anything.
Ana Barbono and Rob Dongol with their son, Aro.