Emily and Leisa, the creative mother and daughter duo, recently invited me into Emily’s newly renovated living…
This week on Home Stories, Ashley and Cass give us a peek into the bright and modern Yarralumla home of Kevin and Antonella Bates.
Have you ever wondered what ever happened to some people from school?
I’m sure that you’ve stayed friends with some people and would know, and those you didn’t know then, you won’t remember now. But, how about the people you were acquainted with, but not enough to friend on Facebook?
Did Jenny ever become a hotshot lawyer or a bodybuilder? Did Frank end up in jail or did he end up owning one? And did Roger ever become a professional Doritos sampler like he always dreamed of?
Guess we’ll never know, but life did throw me a chance recently to reconnect with a school acquaintance and learn how life has treated him.
Kevin Bates was in the same year as me and we became friends in double major maths. To be honest, that unit was a double major waste of time for me, so I switched to double major English and art instead, but Kevin excelled in it and became an IT consultant.
Some years later, Kevin walked into the living room of a property where I was shooting a video. It turned out to be his place and we quickly started catching up. Kevin and his wife Antonella were selling the place because the dream home they designed and built had outlived their needs when child number two became more than a plan.
Once Kevin and Antonella found their new home in Yarralumla and settled in, they invited Cass and I over for a visit. We were also joined by photographer Jess Conway, a fan of the series, because the more the merrier—plus, it made me feel like I was popular in life
The Yarralumla home stood out to the couple as ‘the one’ when they first laid their eyes on it. The proximity to the lake and the quietness of the mature tree-lined streets were real big pluses, as would be being next to all those embassies (just in case you needed borrow a cup of fancy sugar from some other country).
More importantly, the home had that ‘family’ feeling. It had spaces for the kids to have their independence, but also plenty of space for the family to come together to eat, play and relax.
Furthermore, being around 20 years old, the home was in that sweet spot where just enough things were ready to be updated and personalised, but not so many that it becomes overwhelming. The couple only removed one wall to make that grand dining space more inviting and raised the ceiling in the kitchen area.
Now you probably know that I DJ on the side, so raising the roof has a different meaning to me, but apparently it is a done thing in homes too.
Kevin mentioned the space was just a bit ‘claustro’ and that he could touch the roof. And trust me, if Kevin and I can reach the roof than it must have been low even for the oompa loompas.
Aside from that, the couple tore back some old lino to discover a pristine concrete slab (with no VB cans pressed in) that only needed a polished to be admired.
A cosy fireplace was popped in for cold Canberra nights too. The rest is their modern, comfortable and inviting décor bringing the home to life.
I really love line up of those plants proudly positioned against the living room window, the pops of art on the walls, the Louis Poulsen pendants over the dining and that leaning classic bike against the doors leading out to the pool that just says ‘c’mon, let’s play!’.
What stands out for you? Whatever it is, I’m sure you can sense the love of the quiet family life in it.
Before Cass, Jess and I left, we stood around the newly completed pool while I was busy patting their rather aptly named Cavoodle, ‘Cutie’.
It made me realise that even though Kevin and I might have parted ways after that maths unit, we had been united again through our appreciation of a welcoming home, loving dogs and reconnecting with friends.
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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here.
Photography: Cass Atkinson