By Vita Forest
Detail from a Kindergarten artwork.
I have lived in my current apartment for a little over two years. Before this, my children and I rented another for six months. We used that experience to really understand what was essential for us in a home.
This is what we have discovered we need…
1. Light! I looked at many, many dark dreary places before being dazzled by the light in the small rental apartment where we ended up. Although some others were bigger, this one won us over with the sense of optimism and cheer that came from the natural light flooding into it. Light made it a place we wanted to be in, rather than a place we wanted to escape from.
2. Windows in every room. This means we have air flow and often a delicious breeze blowing through the whole apartment. No musty corridors in our home. We are lucky enough to have windows on three sides of our current apartment.
3. A bath. When I was looking for our first apartment to rent, my daughter Lucy came along to check out some of the offerings. One of them looked pretty good to me. “But Mum,” she said, “There’s no bath!” We all do enjoy a good lazy wallow in a bath. (The cats also like a frenzied game of Swat! with a ping-pong ball in there too. Not at the same time of course.)
5. A bedroom each for my children but not for me… My children shared a room in our first apartment. We soon realized that they needed their own space (they are, after all, “elderly children” according to my son Max). Dividing up the larger bedroom with bookshelves was not going to cut it. On the other hand, my bedroom was the least used room in the place. I went to bed after the kids at night, got up before they did in the morning. Most of the time that room was empty. Having a two-bedroom apartment rather than one with three, solved many, many issues. I will write more about this another time.
6. An outdoor space… We do like an outdoor area, but it doesn’t have to be our own private garden. We are lucky enough to have three balconies at our current apartment. Lucy chose her bedroom (the smallest) due to the tiny private balcony attached to it.
7. Close proximity to public transport. Having elderly children who will soon be teenagers, and also not being a great fan of driving everywhere myself, being close to public transport is important. We were near buses, now we are near a train line. It is wonderful on so many levels, to jump on a train and end up in the city, or even a holiday destination.
And these discoveries and clarifications led us to our current home.