Laura, Mat, Etta and Penny

community during covid and lessons learned from the laundry
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale 2
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Who lives here?

Laura: I’m Laura, and I work in communications for a not-for-profit.  This is Etta and she’s almost one. 

Mat: And I'm Mat, I’m a publisher and a bookseller.  I have a bookshop called Bookshop by Uro and the publication business focuses on architecture and design.

Laura: And Penny, our dog is almost 10. 

Do you spend much time working from home?

Mat: Yes, quite a bit - around 3 days a week.

Laura: Yes, I work three of my days from home as well. We have a little desk nook built in. It’s like the architects knew working from home would become huge thing.

How long have you lived at Nightingale 2?

Mat: We’ve been here since the beginning. It will be 5 years in September.

Laura: We were a late addition though. We were unsuccessful balloting for the Village around the same time as this building was settling. Someone unfortunately had to pull out last minute, so we entered a mini ballot for this apartment and it was all done and dusted within 30 days.

How did Penny find the transition to apartment living?

Laura: Penny is a rescue. We’ve had her since she was about five. She came with us and quickly became the community dog and she goes and visits everyone. She's best friends with the cat from three doors down, they have play dates together.

How was living in Nightingale 2 during Melbourne’s Covid lockdowns?

Mat: Amazing.

Laura: Yeah, we've spoken about this quite a lot. We feel so lucky to have been here during the Covid lockdowns because it felt like a proper little community around us. We had a book club going with some of the neighbors and some of the kids were cooking for people, doing fundraisers, doing cake and donut drop offs. Our family wasn't within a five kilometre radius but we felt like we still had a kind of mini family here, which meant we felt connected. 

What’s it been like having a baby in the building?

Laura: There were two babies born in the building during lockdown and they couldn't have their family come, so we all did a food train. We took it in turns to bring them dinner and we made sure that they had everything they needed. And then, for us, it meant we had that all in return when Etta came along. It feels almost like live-in grandparents. Everyone is happy to come and give Etta a cuddle. She’s really social and loves seeing everyone and they love seeing her. There are some other young kids in the building. We have playdates upstairs on the roof. We’ve turned part of the common room into a playroom.

 What aspects of your apartment do you love? 

Laura: I think the light is definitely one of the biggest, best parts about it, especially having the three outlooks. We get a lot of natural light in here and of course, the tree outside our living room window. 

Mat: For me it was definitely the floorplan. That's what drew us to this apartment. And then it was the borrowed landscape and the lovely little villagey atmosphere outside with some nice heritage architecture scattered in here and there. I had a lot of confidence in Six Degrees Architects and Hip V Hype as well.  A lot of the reasons why I was attracted to it are probably the ones a bit bigger than the detail. It's mainly about the island site, the fact that we have windows on three sides; four if you count the glazing over the door.  I also love being close to Yarra Bend Park. It’s like being in the bush.

Laura: We love having the train right there. It’s so convenient. After we had Etta, we caught the train home from the hospital. 

Etta’s favourite thing is watching the fans and the leaves. She loves all the neighbour cuddles and loves the sound of her own voice in the lift.

Has anything surprised you about living here?

Laura: I love how passionate everyone is about sustainability. Passionate about the bin room, passionate about having six waste streams, people love it!

Do you spend much time on the rooftop? 

Mat: Yep, quite a lot. Obviously, the laundry does what it's supposed to do, which is that people informally tend to meet and gather up there, so it's a good place generally to pop up even if you're not hanging out laundry to catch up with people, particularly on a Friday afternoon. 

Laura: It's funny, if you asked me a few years ago about the idea of having to hang out my washing while making small talk, I would have shuddered. And now I think the laundry is one of my favorite places. Getting to know everyone up there and the sense of community it brings makes me feel really secure. 

Favourite spots in the neighbourhood?

Laura: With my mother's group, we've become really big fans of Fifteen Pounds. They have a great courtyard (that fits a lot of prams) and they're very friendly. 

Both Rocket Wine and Gelato Papa at the base of the building get a good workout.

Mat: We go to Flour & Salt religiously.  They really look after us.

Laura: Thompson Street is great. It’s a lovely walk, with a great cafe. There’s a little secret pocket park that has got someone on the perimeter with chickens which Etta loves.

Find out more about
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale 2
First published in
February 2024