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Home Stories: Michael Liu and Romy Packard Hill

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This week on Home Stories, Ashley and Cass head to Braddon to visit the new home of Michael and Romy, whose house is filled to the brim with colourful art and stories.

Michael Liu’s life is in a state of transition. He’s always been an expressive and colourful person involved with so many different things, but right now is a moment in his life where there is a clear shift.

A new home with his partner Romy in a new (old) neighbourhood, a new job, a new car and a new pair of red glasses. It seemed like the perfect moment to throw Cass and I into the mix and see how he’s feeling about it all and how his home in Braddon reflects that change.

I actually did a Home Story on Michael a very long time ago when he was sharing a home in Campbell. At that point, he gave me a very strong gin and tonic and we had lots of fun exploring his eclectic bachelor lifestyle as a very dapper ‘Michael Bond’.

But that was then, and now he greets Cass and I with a tea. I wasn’t disappointed though, as there was much more value in meeting Romy, their doggies Frida and Pony and getting an insight into Michael’s future than the most delicious G&T could ever offer.

I can actually just hear Phillip ‘The Martini Whisperer’ Jones yelling “I beg to differ!” as he reads this story.

Romy is a midwife—a profession I find equally as captivating as I find terrifying. So, I spent a lot of time talking to her about the miracle of life, as well as how partners from different worlds like her and Michael unite.

Michael said it was awesome to have a partner bring such a different professional dimension and not be from cultural marketing like he is.

“Romy will come home and tell me all about the incredible women she cared for during her shift including some intense and amazing birth experiences …and then I tell her about an event I organised with a crazy sound system … it really puts it all into perspective.”

Romy also brought Pony, the tiny and very cute Shetland sheepdog, to the home, which means that Michael’s cavoodle Frida has a new friend to hang with. The double-barrel dog scenario meant that the couple specifically looked for a ground floor townhouse with off-street entry. That way they have a courtyard, can head out to the park quickly and—as an added bonus—I can easily jump the fence when I need some more tea.

Romy also brought in many of her home items including a gigantic monstera plant that she has nurtured for the last five years, which fits perfectly with their ‘our home is a gallery of the weird and wonderful’ approach.

Michael purchased the home only three months ago and it was a perfect fit. Not only for the ground floor reason but also because it’s located in Braddon, Michael’s old uni days stomping ground. so much so, that the local chip shop owner still knows his full name.

Apart from being familiar, Braddon is close to Michael’s work and in the middle of the action as far as the evolution of the Canberra he loves so much is concerned.

And speaking of evolution, Michael has landed a new job. After being at cultural and placemaking agency Dionysus for many years, he is now the Senior Adviser to Tara Cheyne, the new Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Arts, Human Rights and Multicultural Affairs in the ACT.

“I feel so grown up and I’m so excited about this new chapter…can you believe I’m almost 30?” says Michael. I tried to give a good answer—“You should be excited, you’re going to be great in this policy space and don’t worry 30 is the new 40”. There was a weird silence and even the dogs tilted their heads.

I may have got that the wrong way around, but my point is that Michael may have a different job, a different home and a new beginning but he is the same classy, thoughtful, intelligent and dapper guy—so he’ll be just fine. Especially with Romy to keep him in check!










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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here

Photography: Cass Atkinson

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