Happy fam­i­lies in apart­ments

The Dominion Post - - Homed - NATALIA DIDOVICH

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.

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