A Place Called Home


Hammond House Cooran. My *actual* dream home. Winner of the Robin Boyd Award 1995. Designed by Lindsay & Kerry Clare.


“One day there’ll be a place for us.” PJ Harvey

The email, requesting our signatures on the apartment lease renewal, sits in my Inbox.

We’ve decided to stay on another 12 months but I can’t bring myself to sign the thing. For some reason my brain is holding on to one teeny tiny sliver of hope that somehow, in the next four weeks, my circumstances will radically change and I will be moving into my dreeeeam home.

Remember the story about the snowball in hell? Well, it had more of a chance …

Home is incredibly important to me. My private physical space grounds me. It’s a place I can rest. A place I can recharge. A place where all the annoyances of the world are muted. My home is my sanctuary.

Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely grateful for the place I currently call home. It is more than a roof over my head. It is as warm and/or cool as needed. It’s central. It’s quiet. It’s next to my favourite park – and the river. It’s clean – oh so clean. It has all mod cons – and they work. It has neighbours who tolerate my cat’s frequent, chatty visits. It even has added extras like a pool and a gym … and, most importantly, I live with an awesome, respectful housemate.

What more could I want?

Sunshine. Sunshine has started a cascade of discontent. I didn’t realise I missed it until I stayed at a friend’s place recently and woke up to sun streaming through the window.

If it had been summer then perhaps my response wouldn’t have been so positive, but I was so enamoured by it – watching the dust sparkle in its rays, feeling the warmth on my skin.

We don’t get sunshine where I live which is, as mentioned, wonderful in summer but feels a bit bunker-esque in winter.

Close the doors. Close the blinds. We are sitting in a concrete box. Hooray.

Sure, if I go for a walk I can experience all the sunshine I desire but the sunshine-thing has started a slow-drip of dissatisfaction in my previously-perfectly-fine homelife. Now I want that feeling of groundedness that comes from knowing you may stay in one place more than 12 months. I’ve even started contemplating home ownership.

Yes, it’s that bad.

It’s not just the security of tenure that appeals to me. It’s also about being able to make a space your own; being in a physical space that nurtures and inspires.

I’m realising that being able to really call a place home also has other conditions.

I want to live independently but I also want to live with other people – people I love, people who have similar values, people who know how to cook. I’ve shared living space with people-I’m-not-related-to for most of my life – and found much benefit to communal living. It’s not just the sustainability and financial appeal of sharing space and common household items – washing machines, gardening equipment, garden – but the social connection and support it offers as well. I’m a big fan of sangha and believe we need to create our own communities.

So I’ve been floating this idea around for a while …

My ideal living situation, or the place I want to call home, is an old Queenslander, co-owned with three other people (people who foresee themselves living independently for the rest of their lives) – we’d all have separate one/two bed living spaces/apartments with basic living/kitchen/bathroom; then there’d be a separate tiny-house-inspired guest bunkhouse; and a shared green bathhouse, outdoor BBQ and living spaces. There’d be lots of trees, an organic veggie garden and … chickens. I’m not sure how it would fit on an urban quarter acre block but I’ve seen variations of it done (and working well) and I just know (really know) that it’s possible.

I’ve yet to find the right people who share my dream of sweet, architecturally-designed communal living but it ain’t going to happen unless I start putting it out there … So, universe, here’s a start …

I want to live in a place I can truly call home.

Until then, I suppose I’ll sign that lease, let go of attachment to an idealised home and continue singing along with PJ …