TAREN + MYLES + NIKKI + FRANCES
Editorial assistance by Madeleine Dore.
I had to double check the address when I arrived at Dunhelen, I couldn’t believe that four students on the brink of their early twenties could live in such a beautiful home. The shock didn’t waver upon entering the house either – it is pristine and so tastefully decorated. Made up of two pairs of old high school friends, the four have been inseparable since moving to Melbourne and their youthful energy and fondness for each other is infectious.
Who lives here?
Frances: I’m 21 and moved out of my parent’s home in Geelong the day after I finished my year 12 exams, and currently a third year photography student at RMIT. In my free time you might find me watching trashy reality tv or painting, or doing both simultaneously.
Myles: I’m 21 years old and I’m in the final year of my photography degree. I’ve lived in Melbourne for two and a half years, previously growing up in rural South Australia. Outside of uni and work at Cupcake Central, I spend way too much money on clothes and brunch.
Nikki: My name is Nikki and I’m 19, making me the baby in the Dunhelen household! I’m originally from a small town called Mount Gambier in South Australia and moved to Melbourne about a year and a half ago. I’m an RMIT student currently in my second year studying professional communication and majoring in journalism and media. I am partial to watching documentaries or reading non-fiction books.
Taren: I’m 20 and I work full time at a café around the corner from Dunhelen. I’m originally from Geelong like Fran and moved to Melbourne right after year 12. For fun I usually just admire dogs and spend my money. I used to do a little bit of candle making which I hope to learn more about soon.
How did the house get the name Dunhelen?
There's a plaque that has Dunhelen engraved on it and we just rolled with it. It is referred to as strictly Dunhelen… never "house", "home, or "our place"... It's always "who's at Dunhelen?" or "Are you going to Dunhelen" or "I miss Dunhelen”.
How did you come to live here?
Frances: Taren and I have been best friends for years, as have Nikki and Myles. As pairs lived around the corner from each other for the entirety of last year and so we ended up spending a lot of time together. We all just drifted between each other's homes for the whole year and eventually became somewhat inseparable. We looked for a house for 3 months, applied for around 30 houses and Taren and I were homeless for a month before we got this house. We feel pretty darn grateful that we got accepted for the best house we had applied for.
Do you have any activities or rituals that you like to do together?
We brunch regularly, maybe three to four times a week. Taren also works at our local cafe so we get coffee there almost every day. If we are all home in the evening, it generally involves catching up on our "important programs" (RuPaul, Real Housewives). Taren also regularly interjects with some vine about a dog chasing its own tail or something.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN A SHARE HOUSE?
Frances: I have lived in a number of house dynamics, living with my partner, with other couples, strangers, acquaintances, good friends. For me, there is no better combination than living with your three best friends. We are very rarely alone and there is always someone to hang out with or talk to.
Nikki: I like the fact that you can live independently with other people in the same boat (or house). We’re all in a stage of our lives where we’re growing up and figuring what to do with our lives and it’s interesting to see not only yourself but also other people emerging into adulthood.
Taren: Living with my best friends. I love coming home and talking about our days and making dinner together or going out and coming home together. It’s nice to have a balanced social life as well as your alone time as well. Every day usually brings a new memory and it’s exciting to plan things together that revolved around living together.
Myles: I really enjoy being around a variety of people. In a share house I get to observe all different characteristics, personalities and relationships. You learn to love so much about people.
How do you organise the cleaning and cooking?
Communal take away nights are a common occurrence. Post-photo shoot pizza from Goofey's is a regular. Home cooked family meals is a rarity, but a special occasion we certainly treasure. Myles works at a cupcake bakery so there's always a stale cupcake floating around if we are ever peckish.
We all sort of clean when we can, but the deep cleansing has sort of been put on hold until holidays. Hence the hair swamp under the bath.
Can you share any pet peeves, or what might drive you a little nuts about sharing a home?
Frances: There is often a lot of noise in the house, squealing, screeching, laughing. Sometimes it can get a bit grating if you just want a bit of P&Q but I’m sort of immune to it now.
Nikki: One pet peeve might be if someone has left things lying around and I trip or stub my toe on it – that drives me nuts!
Taren: I’m pretty obsessive about things being clean. It’s very rare that you’ll find anything misplaced in my room. So it can get a little hard to be okay with the house not being in fine form every minute of the day, but I don’t want my house mates to not ‘live’ in their house so it’s not something I strongly vocalize but I think everyone knows anyway.
What was the best party you’ve had at this house?
Frances: We have only ever had one party which was my 21st in the week we moved in. Myles got very wasted and tore the silver party curtain off the door and wore it as a headpiece. His new nickname, Cherokee was born. He then swung around the greasy hill hoist like it were a strippers pole and smeared the grease all over his face. He answered the door to the police with Kylie Minogue blaring in the background and told them that it was just him and 10 friends and closed the door on them. Stay tuned for Dunhelen’s Drag Race.
What is your fondest memory of living in the house to date?
Nikki: I am very fond of our dancing rituals and sing-alongs that really bring us together. We’re constantly making great memories it’s really hard to nail it down to one!
Myles: My fondest memory of living in this house would have to be the first day we got the keys. We sprinted from the real estate office, which is conveniently 400 metres away and danced through each room screaming and laughing.
Frances Normoyle is an extremely talented photographer who creates incredible narrative driven photos, see her work on her instagram at @flakeymanners.