Lisa, Tom, Izzy & Ducky

cups of tea across balconies and sharing skills and hobbies
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Brunswick East
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Lisa, tell us a bit about who lives here.

I work part time as a Kindergarten Teacher and run a small ceramics business,, two days a week from my home studio. Thomas works part time at an Italian restaurant, Maramaeo, and is studying Cyber Security. Izzie is 5 years old and loves crafting, making fairy houses and going to Kinder. Ducky is an eight-year-old rescue dog who manages to mooch her way into multiple apartments on Level 5.

Why did you decide to purchase a Nightingale home?

We originally lived at The Commons in Brunswick and so we didn’t blink when the opportunity to move into Nightingale Brunswick East (NGBE) came up. Well that's not entirely true, because moving here meant leaving the great community at The Commons. However from that experience we knew what was possible and how the community had enriched our lives.

What has life been like at NGBE? Is it what you expected?

Absolutely, and more! Now that social restrictions have eased, my daughter is back to her routine of calling out to Claude (our neighbour’s boy) from across the balcony and then racing to the hallway to see who can get there first. We leave our door ajar and the kids run back and forth from each house.

I’m so blown away by the generosity of the people who live here. There is a real sense from people of wanting to contribute and share their skills, hobbies and expertise. This morning I woke up to a couple of cookies at my door and this afternoon our neighbour Alex has organised a bike fixing workshop on the roof to teach us how to service our bikes.

What was it like to live at NGBE during COVID-19 lockdowns?

Honestly, I’m not going to say the lockdowns were easy or fun by any stretch, however, there were definitely fun moments and living here meant we were much less isolated. We were counting our lucky stars to live in such a tight-knit community. I was impressed by how the building worked together to implement health and wellbeing measures and offered support to anyone that may have needed it.  For example:

  • Finding different ways to celebrate and mark special occasions for each other
  • Cups of tea across balconies
  • A community Zoom trivia night
  • A camping trip on our balcony
  • A neighbour who baked a loaf of bread for each and every apartment

What kinds of community activities do you get involved in at NGBE?

What comes to mind:

  • Wine tasting
  • Bike fixing workshops
  • Gardening and furniture making
  • Watering neighbours’ gardens when they are away
  • Sunday afternoon Yoga taught by a resident
  • And I have taught a few ceramics lessons here and there

You’ve converted part of your deck into a studio, tell us a bit about the space.

Another big part of the reason we moved here was to allow me to set up my home studio. The studio space is lovely, it’s set up in an undercover part of our deck and I have a view out to the Dandenong ranges and lots of fresh air.  I often leave the front door open when I’m working in the studio and people can drop past and say ‘hi’. Last year I had a seconds studio sale and sold out mainly due to the neighbours support.  

You have quite a bit of access to green space here. Can you tell us about the different areas?

We are lucky to have two separate green spaces. On level 1 there is an internal terrace that is protected from the wind. The residents have put a lot of effort into this space, replanting a lot of the garden beds, installing salvaged wicking beds for for veggies and building furniture for people to gather. There is an enormous sense of combined accomplishment that adds to everyone’s enjoyment of the terrace.

And then there is the roof that is a favourite spot for community catch ups and BBQ’s on a nice day. The roof is also where the shared laundry and washing lines are, so you are always able to have a little chat with someone while getting the chores done. The community has put a lot of work into making these areas what we want them to be.

Then we have Langdon Reserve across the road with a playground and basketball court. Balfe Park behind us, which is an off-lead dog park and home to the Brunswick Zebras. And the absolute highlight is only being a five-minute bike ride to the Merri Creek.

First published in
July 2022