Canberra Centre invites HerCanberra readers to enjoy a weekend of fashion, beauty and art outside…
Cass and I hadn’t even reached the driveway of Nathan’s home when we heard an ‘Ohhh halloo!’ ring out from behind a screen door.
Nathan swung the door open in dramatic Broadway style to reveal him with open arms and a smile larger than the span of Commonwealth Bridge. It didn’t surprise me that Nathan was so welcoming—being a fan of his @collectionsfromhim Instagram account, I could get a sense of that personality in each of his posts. I’ve also been told stories about his highly engaging presentations on social media creative that were ‘full of pizzazz’. And here I thought the word ‘pizzazz’ died a cultural death after the ’40s.
Nathan lives in a classic O’Connor cream weatherboard cottage, which is set between an equally quaint flower-adorned white cottage and a set of brand new apartments. A perfect reminder that change is the only constant.
We didn’t make it past the entryway for the first 20 minutes because we got introduced to Nathan’s housemate Andy and a four-way convo started about the beauty of these cottages, who had the larger lens on their camera (I stayed out of that one), why plants in the house are good for your soul, who our mutual friends are, and finally how many accidents have been caused by people being able to see Nathan in the shower from the street.
Finally stepping across the threshold, we started with the kitchen where Nathan introduced me to the third housemate Milan via a Polaroid photo stuck to the fridge. I then noticed quite a number of other notes on the fridge including a really big one that just said ‘I love you’. They must have known I was coming.
From there, we shifted to the lounge room where I was expecting that kind of slight split personality disorder share houses get as a result of different people uniting their styles in the one location. But not here.
There was a very even style that sat somewhere nicely between retro and Scandi. Lots of wood, mellow cream tones, highlighted by black accents and all softened by plenty of art, books, records and well-looked-after plants. I asked if, at some initial point, they all got together, compared furniture and homeware, then had a democratic vote to create this even sense of aesthetic. His answer was no, somehow the magic happened and these three individuals created the kind of balance a lot of long-term couples dream about.
At that point, Nathan said, “Well I’m the newest addition to this home out of the two other guys and I guess I bring the most eccentric and outrageous style to the home…I mean look at my bedroom.”
We headed down the corridor past some large canvas pieces, vintage Sydney train banners and a large bedroom that reminded me of a perfect double-page spread from Frankie Magazine in anticipation of this outrageous bedroom.
As the door opened, I was expecting to see glitter, unicorns and a disco ball, but Nathan lied. It wasn’t outrageous—just calm, classy and artistic. The most outrageous thing was a rather stunning branch that had a curve to it, which seemed to evoke a sweeping movement even though it was perfectly still.
“I was driving with my dad once in the country and I spotted one from the corner of my eye lying on the side of the road,” said Nathan. “I can’t explain why I love it so much, but I had to have it then and I always feel so good looking at it.”
We then got stuck in another 20-minute conversation about the beauty of nature’s aesthetic, why meeting the right people makes them feel like family, how we are drawn to people with similar interests (in this case, creative work in the digital space) and finally, if Nathan should really start closing the bathroom window for the safety of the passing drivers.
On the way out of the home, we were saying goodbye on the porch and I noticed Nathan had a post-it note stuck to the elbow of his jumper. When I pointed that out he ripped it off and said “Where did that come from?”. The post-it note said ‘I love you’.
I don’t know what’s going on there, maybe he leaves those around, maybe the housemates do…but whatever it is, I like it. Someone loves someone in there, but Cass and I loved meeting those guys and seeing their home.
Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here.
Photography: Cass Atkinson