ALICE + LUCY
Editorial assistance by Madeleine Dore.
This home has a makeover story. Purchased by their parents in a derelict state but with good foundations, sisters Alice and Lucy renovated the house entirely themselves, transforming this derelict, shell of a house into a cosy home filled with quirk. They did a great job of documenting the renovation process on their blog, The Park Street Project. Walking into their home is the equivalent of wandering into an eclectic art explosion, reflecting the creativity and spark of its dwellers.
Who lives here?
Alice: I am 26-year-old illustrator and graphic designer. I grew up here in Melbourne, in fact only about ten minutes away. A lot of my work really blurs the line between business and pleasure for me – for fun I make things and draw, which I am lucky enough to also get to do in my job! I am really interested in food and I spend my free time eating and drinking with friends, visiting exhibitions or staying at home reading or cooking.
Lucy: I am 24 and currently in the middle of my clinical training to become a Clinical Neuropsychologist (a psychologist who specialises in brain function). I am also undertaking a PhD, for which I am looking at outcome after mild head injury. In my spare time, I love cooking and baking, catching up with my friends over something delicious to eat and drink. I also love sewing and spending time in the garden, soaking up the sunshine and looking after the huge veggie patch.
If the house were a person, what would they be like?
The house had a party phase when we first moved in – a lot of backyard drinks and late nights. It has quietened down a lot these days though – a very lush vegetable garden and the acquisition of many more homely comforts makes it somewhat of a domestic goddess. Our house has a youthful and eccentric personality (it is quite ageless) and it is comfortable with young people and with old – so long as they appreciate its quirks. It is definitely a hoarder and sucks interesting bits into it from all over the globe. It hopes these interesting bits will bring interesting visitors too.
Do you have any activities or rituals that you like to do together?
The main rituals we do together are food-related. If we're both at home we share the cooking – it's getting more and more elaborate the more cooking shows we get under our belt. On Sundays we are usually both at home and try and clean in the morning then just hang out at home – usually working, doing some baking for the week, brushing the cat, gardening and having a bit of a lavish lunch in the garden.
How did you come to live here?
We are sisters, but we decided to live together after my old housemate moved out. It seemed like the most natural choice. Our parents purchased it in a completely derelict state a number of years ago. This was precisely the appeal of the place as it knocked a lot off the price, and provided a great challenge to get it liveable. The house had a great backbone, with some cool old bits, spacious garden and is in a fantastic area. Having worked on it together it is satisfying to live in it and bask in the clean white walls that once were a tobacco-stained yellow!
How does the vibe of the house change between seasons?
The seasons make a BIG difference to our home. In summer it’s all windows open, lots of light, and eating almost every meal in the garden. It’s blissful. We don’t have a big dining table inside, so it’s great to entertain when it’s warm as we can all spread out in the garden.
But being an old Victorian house, in winter it gets FREEZING, so the lifestyle is really different.
How do you organise the cleaning and cooking?
We try and do the big clean on a Sunday – usually together to halve the time it takes. This normally allows us to get on top of it and we don't have a roster or a system. We aim to do dishes straight away to avoid sink-pileups, but of course this doesn't always happen.
Being sisters is an advantage as you can say it straight to each other if something needs to be done and not really worry about hurting feelings in the long term. On the flipside of that though, perhaps we don't make as much effort sometimes as we would if it were a housemate living with us – a certain level of politeness is gone!
Most nights during the week we eat together. We both like dinner to be a bit of a celebration and something to look forward to at the end of the day.
What do you like most about living in a share house?
Lucy: I love that we always cook and have dinner together – a necessary respite after a long day!
Alice: I have lived on my own before, and whilst it can be quite fun in that you can come and go as you please, walk around nude, leave the dishes etc, at the end of the day, I am not a solitary person and I miss the easy idle chatter that comes when you live with someone. It’s different to a more formal catch-up with a friend – it’s just company – knowing someone is in the next room who you can ask questions of etc. Mainly it has become so important to me to have dinner with someone at the end of the day to debrief on the day’s events and to watch some TV together etc.
Can you share any pet peeves, or what might drive you a little nuts about sharing a home?
Lucy: I think the most difficult thing about sharing your home with your sibling is that it is easy to forgo a certain level of respect and tolerance. I think we both get on each other's nerves sometimes (as with any housemate!), but we've lived together for long enough that the relationship is resilient enough to cope!
Alice: Mainly it is small things to do with busy lifestyles and housework taking a backseat. When you're young you have more exciting things to do than keep an impeccable home! With housemates, if your routines or lifestyles are not in sync it can be really hard. Lucky with us at the moment both working/studying at semi 9 to 5 hours, it works very well.
What is your fondest memory of living in the house?
Lucy: My fondest memories would be from the time before I lived here! Discovering the fabulous old lino would be one of my most favourite memories, along with applying the first coat of paint over the freshly sugar-soaped walls, and the discoveries we made along the way – the old newspaper under the lino, the trinkets found under the floorboards.
Alice: My fondest memories are all parties in the garden when it's warm. A day spent cleaning, decorating, cooking and preparing drinks, with friends arriving about 5pm and getting started!
See Alice's quirky and fun illustration and graphic design work at ALICEOEHR.COM