Melbourne’s Newest Homeowner

Ten years ago I backpacked across Australia and fell in love with the country. I was born and raised in Italia, but have been looking to move to Australia ever since I travelled there. I’ve always been a free spirited person, which in my mind means I can’t stay in one place my whole life. Italia was the place of my child and young adulthood, but the rest of my life needs to begin. Moving to Australia is the start of my next adventure. 

When I was travelling Australia, Melbourne stood out to me as a place I would love to live. The cafes, restaurants and culture reminded me of Italia, so it had a nice comforting sense of home about it, whilst being different enough that I knew I was out of my comfort zone. Six months ago I made the arrangements to move to Australia on a working visa, and I will be living in Australia for the next five years. I am in the process of looking for a house now that my visa has been granted, and I am liaising with someone who does conveyancing. St Kilda is where I’m looking to buy, because from memory it’s an extremely vibrant suburb and is close enough to the city that I can walk the laneways on my days off. I also like being near the beach, and the theme park seems like it would be fun too!

As soon as I’ve got my house sorted, I am ready to start my new life. I’ve already got a job lined up as I work for an international company and so I’ve been transferred to the Melbourne office. It’s all working out perfectly, really. I just have to finalise a few things with my conveyancing solicitors and I’ll be ready to start my new life. When I’m all settled in, I’ll invite my family and friends to come and stay with me. I don’t think I’ll be moving back to Italia for a long time, so I’m sure they’d like to see where my life has taken me. I’m so excited.

Bright’s Alright

What’s people’s take on bright colours in offices? Personally, I’m in favour of it, but I understand that some people struggle with it and believe that neutrals are the only proper choice. The receptionist at my office made a faux-retching action at me this morning when I acknowledged the new fushia paint job and coordinated turquoise upholstery in the lobby, and I’m just wondering if her response is closer to the norm than mine.

I guess it depends on the context. A pink wall would have very different effects in, say, a corporate law firm’s offices compared to those of a fashion magazine. That said, I think it could work in either context, provided the design was of sufficient quality and sensitivity to the purpose. Here in Melbourne, office space design is something that’s taken seriously across many fields, and you won’t be thought any less serious for having stylised aesthetic elements incorporated into your work environment.

Presumably, there are different ways in which people respond to colour. Generally speaking, people find large expanses of bright colour somewhere between invigorating and somewhat full-on, but perhaps some people lean more to one or the other side of that, or even have a different response altogether. If done well, I find that it puts a light pep in my step, while perhaps Kirsty at reception finds it distracting or overwhelming in some way.

When it comes to office space  fitouts, Melbourne designers do tend to take the ball and run with it, often to extremes. I’m in favour of that, and there seem to be plenty of others like me – enough that we tend to forget about the Kirstys of the world and expect them to tailor their sensory experience to meet ours. That’s why I’m interested to know if there’s a dominant inclination around this. I suspect there is, and that it’s the one I identify with, as that would explain a lot.

Dad’s Ute

My name is Effie and I’m in high school.

I write lots of blogs and send them to lots of different sites in the hopes of getting posted. When I leave school I want to be a writer like my Mum. She proof reads everything I write so that I only send the very best articles to websites. She told me it’s never too early to start writing… she started writing stories when she was eight! I’ve only written two stories, I’m just trying to get on social media first so then when I decide I’ve written a story I really like I can send it to everyone! 

Today’s blog post is about my Dad!

He is a builder and drives a ute. It’s massive. Mum’s car looks like a little bug when it’s parked next to Dad’s ute in the garage. He has this cool thing that’s one of those under tray tool boxes for utes. When I was a kid, he used to tell me that it’s where he hid all his treasures and that one day he would tell me what’s in there. Now I know, it’s just tools in the boxes. He was a bit offended when I was disappointed about the discovery, he said they are his treasures. I thought he meant actual treasure when I was, like, eight years old. Obviously real treasure is way better than tools, but as Mum always says, each to their own!

I think what makes his ute actually seem massive is the big ute canopy. Melbourne is a really big city and so his car has to be really big because he drives around it and builds stuff all-day everyday. I find it really cool how he has built stuff in the city. When we drive around he points out places he’s worked on. He’s actually creating peoples homes and everything! It makes sense that he has to have such a big car. I’ll have a small car like my Mum, because all writers have small cars. 

Smugged Up

In general, it’s pretty hard to contemplate the state of your heating system in mid-January, but these are no ordinary times. I’m actually wearing a jumper and sheepskin boots as I write this, and I’ve got half a mind to turn on the heater. I’m not going to, because that’s ridiculous and I’m not going to be that person. But the fact is that it’s pretty darned close to being cool enough to justify it.

Unseasonal temps aside, I’ve always thought summer was the best time to get someone in to look at the heating. People say it’s too early, but while I might be a stickler for ducted gas heating checks, Melbourne residents seem to be following suit. Each year, the heating companies seem to be more and more booked out as winter approaches, so I’ve been scheduling my annual service earlier and earlier.

Now that it’s ended up in my calendar for January, I can’t help but feel a bit smug, because it pretty much feels like late autumn outside. Still, I don’t feel great about it. All signs point to the fact that people like me, running their heaters with abandon, are actively contributing to these weird seasonal temperatures.

When it comes to heating services for Melbourne at large, questions invariably arise. Is it resource efficient for everyone to have central heating? If it’s not sustainable for everyone to have it, then should anybody have it? What are the alternatives? These thoughts (and then some) occur to me every time I turn my system on. I’m not sure what the solution is, although I can refrain from running the heating during mid-summer.

That doesn’t mean I can’t get it serviced, though. The truth is that I’m bound to be using it come winter, so I might as well make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. I’ll just try not to be overly smug about it.

Look Ute, Feel Ute

I should have thought twice before agreeing to go shopping with Trisha and Stephen. If I had, I might have realised that their idea of that activity differed somewhat from mine. See, I thought we would be hitting the mall, demolishing a few sales, grabbing a smoothie, doing some more window shopping, maybe catching a movie afterwards. So I was taken by surprise when I realised we were trekking out to a place that fabricates aluminium accessories for utes.

Not that I’ve got anything against utes – they’re all well and good with me; I just don’t know much about them, and more to the point I don’t own one. I don’t think I’ve ever expressed even the vaguest interest in buying a ute. So, in short, it was a bit of perplexing exercise. I can only put it down to the fact that Trisha and Stephen want to get me in on their 4WD adventures, and do so by simply exposing me to the wide array of add-ons on offer. 

I won’t deny that their enthusiasm proved just a tiny bit infectious. I mean, I’d never imagined there was such a thing as a custom-built ute toolbox for sale. Melbourne tradies might roll their eyes at this, which seems fair – of course this is a thing. Again, though – I don’t own a ute and I never have, so why would I have given a passing thought to ute toolboxes? Evidently, I’ve been too busy stacking shoeboxes. 

Moreover, there’s a whole world of aluminium ute canopy designs out there. Before today, I probably would have heard that and figured it was some kind of hot new canapé, with aluminium being the last word in trendy, unconventional ingredients since charcoal. Hey, that’s just how my mind works. 

So, am I going to join the ute brigade? Maybe. Stranger things have happened, like that time I found those new-in-box Manilo Blochnik shoes at a car boot sale for a fiver.

Secret Hyperbaric Society

Well, I have to admit it, this was a pretty good idea after all. When Daniel first mentioned getting a portable hyperbaric chamber for the lodge, I thought he’d lost his mind. The funds in the treasury were low enough already and I honestly couldn’t see the use. But ever since we got one, it’s been incredibly popular. All of the British noblemen of Melbourne are enjoying it, so much so that we’ve had to establish a half-hour limit to hyperbaric sessions.

I asked Daniel how he got the idea, and he said that he’d recently been getting mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Melbourne residing British noblemen don’t usually need such things, since we’re all pretty healthy and rich, but Daniel explained that it’s not just for physical health purposes. Hyperbaric therapy can apparently reduce anxiety and stress. He seemed to know what he was talking about, so I voted in favour when the Lodge Master brought the topic up. Now it’s so popular in the lodge that you have to book two weeks in advance if you want the hyperbaric chamber. We might need to invest in a second one.

I’m not really sure where Reginald managed to find the money for our first hyperbaric chamber, though. A week ago it was looking like we’d have to close the lodge after a few of our members lost access to their family trust funds and couldn’t pay their one million dollar tithe. I still think Reginald is up to something, but I swore that I wouldn’t look into it any further, and that I’d try to leave the fact that I wasn’t made treasurer behind us. For the good of the British Noblemen of Melbourne Society, I won’t investigate anymore. I’ll just check the spycam set up in the treasury before I go to bed tonight, and then I will be done. Who cares if suddenly Reginald can get hyperbaric chambers for all of us? I’m sure there’s nothing suspicious about it at all.

Beach House Build

My boyfriend and I are at the peak of our professional careers so far. We are in our mid-thirties, and collectively we are earning the most money we’ve ever earned. As a result, we’ve decided to buy a property of land in a Victorian beach-side town, and we will build a home together that we can use as our beach house for years to come.

As neither my boyfriend or I are tradespeople, we will be leaving the build and design to the experts. I have made a number of requests of features that I would like in the home, with the first being an awning window installation. I have always been a massive fan of awning windows. They have a real character about them that, in my opinion, makes any home feel instantly more homely. I feel like having awning windows in our beach house makes a lot of sense, as we will be able to open them and let in the sea breeze, but don’t have to commit to completely open windows. 

My second request for the design of our new home is to change the designers choice of our front door. I don’t mean to be picky but the door doesn’t allude to the vibe I want my house to give off, which is why we’ll need a door replacement. Melbourne builders and designers are incredibly talented and eager to incorporate the ideas of their clients, which is why I feel I am able to make suggestions such as these to our designers.

I’m really glad that we’ve employed people to help work on our home, as it is really important to me that our money is being spent wisely and that the house will last my boyfriend and I for many years to come. I am so certain that he’ll be the person I spend the rest of my life with, which is why building this home together is so exciting. We’re entering the next stage of our relationship, and I am filled with joy because of it.

Family Betrayal!

I’m not happy. Not. Happy. Stan. And I’m especially not happy with you, Gran.

I thought this family was united, all metaphorically linking arms and skipping into the sea to start a new life in a dome home. The boat’s all ready to go, I got Melbourne’s best stainless steel marine fabrication on the case to make it the perfect carrier vehicle. Then there’s an emergency meeting of the McCann Clan, and it turns out that Jan, Stan and Gran are all going to stay on land.

Can you imagine? Such betrayal! And then Dan stands up, saying that their passion has sawyed him; he and his wife Fran are out as well, as well as their triplets: Bran, Lan and Tyran.

That just leaves me, Yan, Han and Xian. We’ve booked ourselves quite a large dome home, and I’m just not sure the four of us are going to be able to pay the rent all by ourselves, or perform the daily tasks that come with owning that sort of property. Someone needs to feed the fish, check that the rod holders are still functional, and scrub the barnacles off the surface of the entrance tube. Oh, and don’t even get me started on how Stan was supposed to be the one who did all the emergency marine welding when we were out on the ocean and couldn’t get them to the actual, professional marine stainless steel fabrication people. He did an apprenticeship with Old Man Gilligan that one time for two weeks. Old Man Gilligan unfortunately perished at sea when he mistook the fishing rod holder cable for his bootstraps, laced them up good, let down the cable in the middle of a storm (to catch the legendary Melbourne Storm Fish) and…um, well, you know. He will be missed. He will be avenged! In fact, a large part of why we’re moving under the sea is so that we can better plot our dark revenge against the ocean itself.

But that’s neither here nor there. I’m going to have to go find some great bait board experts, and use their…expertise. Ask them if a dome home can be maintained on a skeleton crew, you know? And of course, now we’re adding over half the family to the revenge list, so that’s even more of a time sink.

-Ann Azerbaijan McCann

Free Driving Country

I’m really starting to get used to this version of Australia. For one thing, it’s free, as is travel. I’ve only ever seen cities other than Melbourne from afar, since, you know…we’re all locked in a bitter war with each other. In this world, you literally just flash a driver’s license to prove you’re the person who bought the ticket and you can fly anywhere.

Like, while classes are on break, I’m visiting Adelaide. There’s all this greenery, and people smile instead of shooting you on sight. You can just rent a car, and getting the services of an auto mechanic is something you just…do. No going out into the badlands scavenging for parts, no waiting eight weeks for government authorisation that will probably be denied because parts are needed for either the war effort or for the gravity engines that keep the city aloft. You just go to a car mechanic, say that maybe you need a wheel alignment service, and they do it. Truly, freedom to get wheel alignment services with nothing more than an appointment booking is the symbol of a prosperous society.

Although one complaint: I shouldn’t have to get that sort of car service with a hire car. I had to go for the ultra cheap option, renting a car from Seedy Dan’s Rental Bombs, and the contract states that all repairs are the renter’s concern. Back in my reality, that sort of negligence would be punishable by mind wipe, after which the business owner would either be repurposed as a worker drone or an actual drone (as in, they’d be fired at the enemy as a way to damage morale). 

But this is nice, mostly. Car services on demand (sort of – at least, from my perspective), and freedom to get in a car and travel wherever you like. I haven’t checked, but I think you could, if you wanted, travel from Melbourne to Adelaide without there being any borders – crazy. And even if you were from another city, you could freely use car services open in Adelaide, as if you lived there. Double crazy! I really could get used to this kind of luxury.


Expand Your Mind

Why do people’s houses always end up looking exactly the same after renovations? I’m exaggerating, obviously, but seriously – try this simple exercise. Next time you visit a friend who’s renovated, notice the details like cabinet handles and light fittings, as well as general layout. Keep this in mind, and repeat. You’ll soon start to notice that they’ve all got pretty much the same thing going on, even if it looks different at first glance.

I guess that’s just the nature of fashion, and you could very well say the same about how people dress. It’s just what’s available on the market at a given time. Still, there are always alternative ways of doing things, which most people fail to think of. So, here’s a tip for free: if you’re thinking of renovating part of your home, consider opening your mind beyond what you’ve seen other people doing, and what’s in catalogues and magazines. 

I’m sure that most kitchen and bathroom designers would be only too happy to oblige you in creating something genuinely original. They care enough about design to have a degree in it, after all, and they must be tired of getting asked to do the same thing day after day. Ever imagined having a graceful, shell pink archway over your shower? A water tight sound system unit positioned under the bath? A secret drawer, perhaps, especially designed to house your collection of hot sauces from around the world? You can have all that and then some if you just ask.

I mean, it probably does depend on who you get for the job. You’re going to get a different result from a generic, off-the-shelf kitchen installer compared to a boutique kitchen renovations specialist. Melbourne has the full spectrum of options, so if you shoot even a little bit upward from the bottom rung then you’ve got a good chance of your designer having some interest in realising your vision.