housing challenges in Sydney, community and crafternoons
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Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Marrickville
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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Stevie. My pronouns are she/they. For the last five years I worked in theater running their education program, but I recently changed to work at a university.  I'm doing student experience and engagement work. I've been there for two months, so it’s quite new.  My whole vibe is about community building so everything I do is usually about community, which is one of the things that drew me to Nightingale Marrickville.

How did you hear about Nightingale Marrickville?

One of the actors I have worked with a lot shared posts about Nightingale and I'd seen projects about it on Never Too Small, but I hadn't heard there was a project in Sydney. And then she shared a post about Nightingale Marrickville right when I was looking to move out on my own.  I was living with two other people and we lived as a family, but we were ready ready to move on to other things. I knew that was on the horizon, I was getting very anxious, like, oh no, if it's not Nightingale, what is it going to be? It was like all of these things just kept lining up - the values of the project really line up to my values, and so it seemed to just hit the mark for what I wanted to do next. And then fortunately my name was pulled from the ballot hat, so it all worked out. Destiny!

How are you finding your new space?

I've had small space living on my mind for a while. Even when you're in a share house, you sort of have to create your own little world in your room anyway. I’m enjoying being on my own, I know that my mess is my mess. If there’s purple hair, it's definitely my purple hair. It's also just nice to be able to decorate and not have to consult anyone. Just be like, I want this thing here. And that's the right choice for now. 

Have your ex-housemates found secure living arrangements? 

Not yet.  One is house sitting and cat sitting. One is actually overseas. Both of their stuff is in storage in the interim. So effectively they are without a home.  I think one will continue the share house life and the other is looking for something on their own, but it's just so expensive.  When I wasn't sure that I was going to get a spot here, I was looking at other places and you set your hard limit, you see what is available in that hard limit and you're like, okay, I guess I have to go to another bracket and then another bracket and you're like, okay, I could comfortably live in this place for six months and then be broke. 

Do you feel a sense of belonging to Nightingale Marrickville yet? 

I moved in 1 week ago and there are still lots of people to move in. Everyone I've met so far is so lovely. We had a little get-together with a couple of people who had moved in last Friday and heard about their stories and what brought them here and it’s been really nice. We're going to do that every Friday until more people have moved in, just casual drop-in style in one of the community spaces.

I'm really excited about planning events in the future, but let's wait until people have settled in and not overwhelm them!  I think it'd be good to do some kitchen-based things in the large kitchen. We're talking about doing a little cooking class or get-together and eat yum food. And I want to do a craftanoon.  I trained to be a teacher, so I’ve collected all of these craft supplies and I never do anything with them, and I think it'd be nice to just chat and craft. 

Did you need to get rid of a lot of things before moving in here?

I sold a lot of things on Marketplace - good to know it’s not going to landfill. I got a fridge on Marketplace. And a new sofabed because I didn't want to live in my bed.  I pack it up during the day so I can use more of the space, maybe for yoga.

What are you loving about your apartment?

The view. The sunsets out of my window are amazing. 

The colour palettes. The rust terracotta colours have always been my vibe. So many of my things match perfectly.

One thing I'm feeling already, even just after being here for a week after renting for so many years where you put pride in your space and you make it feel like home - the landlord never cares about that. They do not consider it your home ever. And you might make things work for them and for yourself, and they just don't care. And this feels very different instantly. I feel like I'm allowed to make it feel like my home even though I am renting. I can actually just play in the space and have permission.  And that's huge, you don't realise these things are affecting your mental health until they're gone. 

Which common spaces do you see yourself inhabiting the most?

The garden is probably the one. Although I like that the communal kitchen also feels like a cafe. I can definitely see myself spending a lot of time in there. I think that's what makes small-space living possible too, because you don't have to stay in your home all the time. So many third spaces to be.

First published in
April 2024