Around three years ago, I was at a communications conference where a senior journalist from…
How can a person’s home speak to who they are at a glance? Ashley and Cass find out when they visit the Kingston Foreshore abode of Belinda Robinson.
I really admire the particular trait of some successful people who are so comfortable in themselves that they are able to make you comfortable about yourself too.
I’ve worked with Belinda Robinson in a marketing capacity for a number of years and, through all the challenges and big wins, there’s been a calm evenness to her approach that was always inclusive and encouraging.
Belinda has now finished up in her role at the University of Canberra and it gave me an opportunity to reach out on a personal level to ask if Cass and I could drop in for a visit to her home on the Kingston Foreshore. For once we could focus on her rather than on my dodgy arguments for a pay rise.
Belinda has lived in Canberra since the early 90s and is a massive fan of who we are as a city and a community. Knowing her roots would certainly be here, she purchased a home in Curtin and put a lot of effort into lovingly extending and renovating it—only to find out it was a Mr Fluffy house.
Just like that, the dream changed to disappointment—but on the upside to the downside, that situation forced Belinda into finding what is now her dream home much sooner.
She recalls standing in a muddy field next to a developer six years ago on a proposed Kingston Foreshore building site and getting ‘that feeling’. Right in that spot was a perfectly Canberran juxtaposition between bush and city.
That feeling is still there for Belinda and, in fact, it was the first thing Cass and I noticed when we walked into her spacious, light-filled and elevated apartment.
There was a calmness mixed with energy resulting from the uninterrupted view of the wetlands (with plenty of cows present) on our right and the layered buildings of the Foreshore on our left.
As we caught up on life and work and why I probably don’t deserve a pay rise, Belinda finished off washing some dishes. I really loved that, because it meant that if Belinda was at ease, so were Cass and I.
Of course, that didn’t mean that I helped myself to a beer from the fridge and popped on the telly, but it did mean we felt free to ask anything. So, I did and here are the answers.
That round extension you see on the kitchen bench was Belinda’s ingenious idea of bringing a piece of her Curtin family home with her to Kingston to keep the connection. It means when her mates come around, she can keep bustling in the kitchen without missing out on the conversation.
That old leather book on the hallway console is a most prized possession. No, it’s not a Harry Potter manuscript, it’s a book published in 1924 by her grandfather, FW Robinson, on the first one hundred years of Canberra.
Robbie, as he was known, was an Assistant Professor in modern languages at the Royal Military College Duntroon from 1913. From there he went on to help establish the Fryer Library of Australian Literature at the University of Queensland in 1927, where he was a lecturer in English and German.
That bike in the lounge room is the ‘just going to the gym’ bike and there are plenty more, including the ‘getting somewhere very fast’ road bike and ‘going down a mountain at some overseas competition’ bike. Yes, Belinda is an awarded Bike Person.
That black Serge Mouille floor lamp is the same as mine, but I got mine first, so we now know who the real boss is. Yes, that is a picture of Belinda with Barack Obama on the wall. She met Putin that night too, but he wasn’t as much fun.
Those gorgeous fine china tea sets are not from China at all but rather from St. Petersburg, but its ok, Putin didn’t want them back. And the central painting in the living room is called ‘A heroine in distress’ but in fact all three of us agreed it should have been called ‘A woman relaxing’.
Speaking of that painting, I think it was a great reflection of the calmness I was referring to earlier. Belinda’s home is an extension of her fused professional and personal character—captivating, inviting and at ease. So at ease, in fact, that I forgot all about that pay rise.
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Photography: Cass Atkinson