When you spend your days writing about other people’s homes, how does that change your own thoughts about ‘home’? Lucy Macken is a property writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and here she tells us how her feelings about ‘home’ have changed:
‘My idea of home has varied over the years, from where ever the majority of my clothes were at any given time in my early 20s (I moved from share house to share house regularly and often in a taxi), to something far more cumbersome in my late 20s and 30s.
Prior to property writing though, the only pre-requisite was it had to be in walking distance from either Newtown or Darlinghurst with a great TV. Views became a must-have briefly, but that was ditched in favour of a backyard in my early 30s. Now that I had kids and I couldn't afford Sydney real estate that managed both.
Home is far more of an investment for us now, which is often a headache when I look up from my desk. After looking at all the images of minimalist, whiter-than-white living areas with sparkling and stark stone bench space, I often forget that that is a fanciful way to live when you're housing three kids, husband, dog and the odd school bag.
That said, I am constantly assessing our needs from a home within the context of the wider real estate market. So we recently decided, for example, not to renovate not because we don't love our house, our street, the parks around us and the schools, but because we would be over-capitalising. So sad, but true.
What defines our home has become increasingly related to our immediate neighbourhood rather than our own house, but that is more due to the kids than writing about real estate.
I finally get what they mean when they say location is everything. It's not just the name of the suburb, but how close are we to transport? How close are the parks or water? Is it a quiet street or a risk to life every time we run outside? What are the neighbours like?
Living in the inner west, the proximity of the neighbours makes it more important than ever before to get on with them. You don't communicate by lawyer but more over the back fence, asking for the ball to be kicked back or to apologise when it lands in someone's dinner.’