her eclectic industrial neighbourhood and the importance of great design
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Fremantle
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Who lives in your Nightingale home?

I live here with my partner Michael. I'm an art director at an advertising agency and he's an operations manager in finance.

How did you first learn about Nightingale Fremantle?

About five years ago I decided that it was time to look at home ownership. I’d been living in Melbourne, but I grew up in Fremantle, and knew this area was where I wanted to settle. Being a first home buyer, I didn’t like my chances of trying to purchase a house. 

It was just by chance that I saw an Instagram ad for Nightingale. Funnily enough, I was renting around the corner and I actually didn't know that this was here. 

What appealed to you about Nightingale Fremantle?

When I was in Melbourne, the final place I lived in was a beautiful new apartment in North Melbourne where I'd taken over a broken lease. It was on the top level and it looked really flashy. But the reality of living there was really unpleasant and it opened my eyes to how a lot of builds could look really good on the surface, but actually, the design is quite unliveable. It was unbearably hot in summer, even with air conditioning on. Wine glasses didn't fit in the kitchen cupboard and there was nowhere in the whole apartment that fit the vacuum cleaner. With little things like that, you start to realise, ‘This is really not designed well.’ 

When I found Nightingale and saw that there was a big emphasis on good design that was actually thermally efficient, I thought, ‘Yes!’ It should be an absolute minimum.

The focus on environmental sustainability really spoke to me, and having community. At that point I hadn't met Michael yet. I liked the idea of having a community of people around me. Living in my old place, I knew no one. It was a really isolating, lonely feeling - to be surrounded by people, but feeling really on your own. 

I wanted a garden, but didn't want the pressure of having to look after one all by myself. So the idea of having a communal space where you can all share and all contribute really spoke to me as well. 

How have you found life in your new home?

We're just in love with our apartment. It's beautiful. It's exactly what we imagined and more. Everything in the kitchen is well designed. We're getting used to the induction cooktop and really enjoying that. 

Aesthetically, we love the mix of textures - the white washed bricks and recycled timber floors and concrete. It's a great space that suits our needs, and it's so easy to keep clean. 

The thing that's been really nice is already knowing our neighbours. Obviously we've been meeting with them during construction so they're not strangers. As we've moved in, it's been lovely to get to know people more and meet their pets, meet their kids. People are looking out for each other and helping each other out. I think that's amazing and it’s what we really were hoping for.

I tell anyone who's got five minutes about it because I'm really passionate about it. Nightingale buildings have sprung up in Melbourne and now Adelaide and I just really hope that Perth follows suit and the Nightingale approach takes hold because it's definitely needed.

What are your favourite local spots?

This little area is technically Fremantle, but it has the unofficial name of FRIAQ, which is Fremantle Industrial Arts Quarter. When you wander down Wood Street, there are actual wood yards. Around the corner we've got Containers for Change and the recycling depot. There's also the Fremantle Fibonacci Centre which has a mix of shops and yoga and a Japanese cafe. We've got four different places to get coffee within walking distance, which is a little bit ridiculous. So the area is a real mix. It's definitely not suburban, not your typical sort of neighbourhood. It's got a gritty industrial feel. 

One of our favourites around here is a place called Tinsmith which is part car garage for vintage car enthusiasts, and part cafe.

We've also got Stackwood which is an old diesel mechanic warehouse, which was turned into different artist spaces, a plant shop and a cafe as well.

Read our interview with Don Fini, Development and Project Manager of Nightingale Fremantle, to find out more about designing for the Perth climate.

First published in
August 2023