Tess and Max

opt-in community and the ease of a shared laundry
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Anstey — Station
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Who lives here, and how did you come to live in a Nightingale home?

MAX: I work in policy, and I’m studying urban planning. That’s the main appeal of Nightingale for me: the active/liveable neighbourhood aspect.

TESS: I’m an architect. When Nightingale 1 was up for an award a few years ago, I was actually on the panel. I went on a tour of the building and thought, ‘Oh my god, we’re balloting when another one comes up.’ It was so impressive. 

This is Hamilton, we’ve had him for five years. He’s pretty chilled. He’s gotten used to the trains going by outside now. 

What are your favourite parts of your apartment? 

TESS: The floorboards make it feel so homely. The light is really amazing in this room; you wake up in the morning and it’s just so nice.

MAX: Living in rentals and older places for a while, the bathroom is always so cold, and always a chore to be in - or, a chore to walk to, in the morning. But this one is a lot nicer. There’s a vibe in there. 

TESS: It’s like a day spa.

How has living at Anstey helped you to live more sustainably?

MAX: From a commuting perspective you’ve got so many options, you forget the need for a car, almost. I ride to work when it’s not too cold, and catch the train and tram. I walk a lot more.  

We’re also learning a lot more about recycling. There are definitely people in the building who are more advanced with that than us. It helps to have a community around you; I never would have gone out and bought five different bins for recycling! It’s so much more to do, when you’re on your own. 

What has been surprising about life at Anstey?

TESS: When you read about Nightingale projects, they talk about community heaps. I’m pretty extraverted and social, but initially I thought, ‘How does this actually happen? Is it quite forced?’ But I think the best thing is that community has happened naturally. It’s been opt-in. People know when you want to do social stuff, and when you want to have your independent time. There are four of us on this level, and our next door neighbour has already hosted dinner for the floor.

MAX: I’m a bit less extraverted than Tess, and I think it’s good having that balance. I’m into trivia, and there’s a company that does trivia at lots of pubs and bars around Melbourne, so I’m going to try and get some people along to that. 

TESS: Everyone at my work is always saying, “How’s it going? Is it just so intense? Do you ever have time by yourself?” And I’m like, “We have an apartment! It’s not like we share every aspect.” 

Did you have any reservations about moving into a Nightingale home?

MAX: The shared laundry was a worry. We thought, ‘Is there going to be enough room for me up there? Will people be up there too much?’ And I’ve barely run into people in the laundry. We haven’t given it a second thought.

TESS: We were in a tiny place before this, and you’d do the laundry in winter and then it was just there in the lounge room. And now, there’s something so nice about knowing it’s up there on the roof, it’s out of sight, and then when it’s dry it comes back. That’s actually been the biggest win: not having the laundry in the apartment. And it seems to be the thing that freaks people out the most. 

What are your top local spots?

MAX: I really like underneath the sky rail. It’s such a clever re-capture of space. They’ve done so much with it, with playgrounds and basketball courts.

TESS: We’ve been going to the Brunswick Baths a fair bit too.  

MAX: We go to Kines a lot. 

TESS: Too much. 

MAX: Egglab.

TESS: Egglab is so good. 

First published in
July 2022