Home Stories: Sarah Willox and AJ Valeri | HerCanberra

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Home Stories: Sarah Willox and AJ Valeri

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This week on Home Stories, Ashley and Cass visit the Watson home of Sarah and AJ, who are “building a life together with excitement”—and a very cute Schnoodle called Padfoot.

Before we begin, I have to level with you here and admit that I’m friends with Sarah and AJ. This probably means I’ll bring a whole lot of bias to the story…or insight if we want to be a bit more positive. Either way, I was keen to visit them exactly six months after they moved into their very first home to see how things were shaping up.

And before saying “If you’re friends how come they haven’t invited you over earlier?” just know that I’m very busy… and possibly important so it’s quite hard to find a free spot in the social diary.

Sarah and AJ have been together for three years, and a year into their very sweet relationship they decided that buying a home together was definitely the right thing to do. They bought their dream townhouse in Watson off the plan—and as with any ‘off the plan’ purchase, the wait was not fun.

However, despite the lengthy wait for move-in day, AJ says that waiting for their home to be ready-made the both of them appreciate what they have now all that much more and drew them closer together.

So, what did a young couple that had no furniture or homewares to speak of prioritise as the top things when setting up a new home?

Well, a dog. Yep, cue Padfoot, who is now a five-month-old Schnoodle that fills the townhouse with the kind of joy all puppies do. I get that.

The second priority was a top-notch coffee machine positioned on a buffet which had to be exactly at the right height for AJ’s master barista skills. If you tasted how good his coffees are then you’d get that too.

Third was a well-stocked kitchen with enough gadgets to let AJ’s Italian heritage and culinary passions come to life.

Fourth was a round—not square—dining table that friends could sit around and all get equally engrossed in conversation. Photographer Cass and my dinner invitations are in the mail, no doubt.

Fifth was setting up the start of a garden by putting in irrigation and lattice for climbers to give the outdoor space more greenery.

The reason I stopped at five is because they haven’t got to six as yet. I have a few thoughts on what that may be and I’m sure it will involve setting up the two spare rooms. One of those rooms could be a gym for Sarah, who has been a bodybuilder when she was 23. Yep, she trained for two years to compete and came second in two major competitions.

However, if those days of sourcing strength from her Scottish roots are truly behind her then a gym may not work. A study or a music room may be the ticket and if not, then perhaps a baby room? I’ve heard that’s what happens—first you get the dog, then the coffee machine…

Whatever that room will be set up for I’m sure it will add to the warmth and feel-good fuzzy vibes of this home. You know, the kind of feelings we all get when visiting a home of people who are building a life together with excitement.

Actually, I don’t think I should wait another next six months for a visit, so I’m going to make some space in my pretend social diary now.







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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here.

Photography: Cass Atkinson

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