ROSE + YING + JULES + ANNA + EMMANUEL
+ ERWAN + TYMON

EAST MELBOURNE

Editorial assistance by Madeleine Dore.

Originally a doctor’s clinic complete with basins in bedrooms and a bathroom out the back, this seven-bedroom treasure was found on a real estate website in 2004 and has been a vibrant and welcoming home to 86 people over the passing decade.

Despite its size and numerous bodies housed under the one roof, ‘Clarendon’ – as it's so affectionately referred to by its residents – boasts tidy surfaces and an enviable roster of delicious meals cooked by housemates.

Such efficiency and fine living is credit to a points system for cooking and cleaning created by the housemates when they decided it was time they got their “domestic affairs in order”. The ingenious system is most likely behind the longevity of the share house, and even inspired the app OurHome now used by renters across the globe.

Not only has the home birthed a tech start up, but love has also blossomed between its walls. Jules and Ying met as housemates and recently tied the knot. When asked if they will continue to live at Clarendon when they return from their honeymoon, Jules replied “it’s kids that’s the real game changer, not marriage”. With rambunctious annual parties, communal dining, and friends that last a lifetime, it’s clear why this house is worth holding on to.

WHO LIVES HERE?

Rose: I’m 24 and a digital designer. I was born and raised in Melbourne but have had my fair share of travelling and lived abroad in Japan for a year.

Ying: I’m 34, born in Melbourne and currently work in banking and finance. I have a keen interest in the music and arts scene. Food is also a big thing for me.

Jules: I'm 33-years-old, from Melbourne and I run my own tech start up.

Anna: I’m 31-years-old and originally from the UK. I came to Melbourne in 2014 to do my teacher training and am now working in the Australian education system. Before I started teaching, I was a professional dancer so the arts and culture here are huge attractions for me.

Emmanuel: I’m 25 and grew up in Canberra but moved to Melbourne when I felt I needed a change of scene.  Career-wise, I’m in a state of flux. Last year I was doing a PhD in robotics but now I’m toying with the idea of becoming a software engineer. Currently I tutor computer science at the University of Melbourne and Monash.

Erwan: I’m 30 and an ex-video editor and cameraman from France. I moved back to Australia three years ago because I wanted to take advantage of my Australian citizenship. I now work as a waiter and I try to go out every night to compensate for what was a boring childhood.

Tymon: I’m a freelance director originally from Sydney but I moved to Melbourne to study at the VCA School of Film and Television. Since then I have worked in a lot of roles on and off set. I recently went back to full-time work in a completely unrelated field to raise funds for a new short film I am working on.

CAN YOU SHARE A BRIEF RUNDOWN OF THIS LEGENDARY SHARE HOUSE’S HISTORY?

Clarendon was started in February 2004 by a bunch of old school mates and uni mates who turned it into a wild party house. It was previously a doctor’s clinic so there are a few odd quirks such as an outside bathroom, but it is a beautiful, big house with a lot of character.

For the better part of a decade we held what were possibly the best house parties in Melbourne, with half a dozen DJs playing in the courtyard, a fully licensed cocktail bar running out of the kitchen, two or three bands playing in the lounge room and around 300 friends having a rip-roaring night.

There have been 86 different people living in the house over the years, 39 from overseas and 22 existing friends of Jules’. The system to keep the house in order has been turned into an app called OurHome that thousands of people throughout the world now actively use to run their own share houses.
 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ACTIVITIES OR RITUALS THAT YOU LIKE TO DO TOGETHER? 

We share amazing home cooked meals together most nights, which is our main ritual. We occasionally share a Sunday brunch together, especially after a big night, and some housemates often go out to parties together. We also have a projector that we use for film nights. 

THIS OURHOME APP WAS INSPIRED BY THE SUCCESS OF THE CLAREDNDON SHARE HOUSE. WHAT’S BEHIND ITS SUCCESS AND HOW DO YOU USE IT TO ORGANISE THE CLEANING, SHOPPING, COOKING AND FINANCES?

When we hit our mid-20s we decided to permanently sort out our domestic affairs by introducing a points based system that allowed everyone to do whatever housework they wanted, whenever they wanted.

The system got rid of the need to nag and removed unnecessary tensions around who’s done what and when. Since its introduction the house has always been clean and shared meals are prepared most nights with some housemates comparing Clarendon to a restaurant. A few years ago we decided to turn the system into an app as there was clearly a need for it in many households throughout the world.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LIVING IN A SHARE HOUSE?

Jules: If you select great people to live with, which we have over 95% of the time, and get a great domestic system running, then there’s really no better way to live. You can be as social or reclusive as you like, your expenses are significantly cheaper and your standard of living is materially higher.

Anna: I like the energy of living with so many people. As a foreigner here, you don’t have your family to rely on so you have to create a different support network. There’s an effortless social life as you don’t even have to go out to have good conversations.

CAN YOU SHARE ANY PET PEEVES, OR WHAT MIGHT DRIVE YOU A LITTLE NUTS ABOUT SHARING A HOME?

Jules: The only thing that really annoys me is when someone leaves the front door unlocked when they’re not around. This only happens once or twice every few years though so it's not a major problem.

Ying: Not putting things away in the shared areas and, dare I say, not replacing empty toilet rolls.

Anna: Different work patterns and routines. I tend to get up at 6.30am for school so I go to bed pretty early. When other people make dinner, we may not eat until just before my bedtime as they get home from work later than me. I’m still grateful that I don’t have to cook so it’s a compromise in that way. Someone might turn off your washing to have a shower and then forget to turn it back on again which can be annoying but then someone else may hang up your washing for you, which is great. When people are generally mindful of others, the little annoyances are far outweighed by the benefits of living together.


Check out Jules' OurHome app here. I wish I knew about this when I was share housing!