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This week on Home Stories, Ashley and photographer Jessica Conway head to the city to visit the home of Aline and Simon—and learn some lessons along the way.
One of the reasons I love doing these fortnightly Home Stories is that I always learn something new. It could be something about the hosts, interior design or architecture, but it’s also often about us as human beings and even sometimes about myself.
So, in this instalment of Home Stories, I’m going to show you how Jessica Conway and I ended up with a bunch of new insights after we visited Aline Lorieri and Simon Matuzelski’s Civic apartment.
Life is a lesson
Aline was born in Brazil and after spending some time in the US, she ended up calling Australia home. This gave her a superb accent that makes my European twang sound mundane. Her early life experience had a profound impact in steering her towards a career as an interior stylist with an organisational twist.
Earlier in her life as a teenager, Aline sadly lost her mother and retracted to her room for an extended period to deal with the loss. Her aunt eventually made it into the room and rather than complaining about the kind of state you could imagine a teenager’s room being in, she said ‘okay, we can organise your room a little differently, so you get to enjoy it more’.
From that moment Aline learned two things—that positivity is the key to change and that order is a key ingredient of freedom.
Life is in motion
Aline and Simon got married eight years ago and three years after that they moved into a roomy apartment in Kingston, hoping to purchase a home as the next step.
That was easier said than done though, and instead the couple have temporarily moved into a single bedroom high-rise apartment. At first it was a struggle, especially as Simon had a whole bunch of man cave stuff and not everyone wants to sleep next to a salty bodyboard collection with pointy fins.
But Aline’s tidiness and discipline kicked into gear and she minimised and categorised items into logical arrangements.
“We only need one pair of scissors—as long we know where they are,” explains Aline. “When COVID hit, we turned our bedroom dresser into a second desk [and] we don’t have a dining table, so we put on picnic parties to entertain guests.”
The by-product of this organisational approach was discovering you can really make the most of what little, or tiny, you have. All of a sudden, the entry way that most take for granted became a blank canvas on which to get creative—hence the celebratory polka dot wallpaper you see in Jess’ photos.
Aline is going to go nuts with all the free walls once they eventually find a home to buy and settle in. Simon, brace yourself.
Life is a test
As Aline and Simon told us about their lives, it became very apparent that they are generous and sharing people. Aline’s work in her Sort Society business and interior styling is actually all about helping people to be happier in their surroundings. Simon works in social justice, so clearly he has others at heart too.
Aline is also doing a Le Cordon Bleu course as she has a keen interest in cooking and loves to host. So, it seems cruel that they don’t have the space to entertain people in large numbers (even once it is safe).
“It feels like things are testing us right now but that’s okay,” says Aline. “We have each other, we have friends, we really like our place and we love Canberra—so things are just great!”
To prove how Aline rises to the challenge (pun alert) of not having the space to fully exercise her generosity, she baked us a French Miche Sourdough bread. She said it was the least she could do, but it was plenty for us.
Just imagine the slingshot effect when the couple do move out to a larger home! Some tests are worth having.
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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here.
Photography: Jessica Conway