COVID-19 means we're all spending much more time inside our homes than we're used to. While that's frustrating for some, others are using this as an opportunity to reconnect with the four walls they've chosen as their home and to appreciate the little things that make it uniquely theirs.
Twenty Something Humans asked Simone Ziaziaris to take us on a tour of her gorgeous home in Sydney's Burwood.
Image: At home with Simone.
Who lives here?
My partner Tim and I, and our little kitten Cibi. Tim and I moved into this beautiful 1919 art deco building about two and a half years ago. We originally lived with two close friends who we dearly miss (but luckily still live close by!).
I had been begging Tim for a kitten for some time and a few weeks into self-isolation he finally caved. We picked up little Cibi from a shelter near my parents' place a week ago and he has warmed our little home.
What’s your favourite part of the house?
I think our bedroom would have to be my favourite room. In the morning, the sun is warm but gentle and radiates throughout the room. It is a really nice and calming way to wake up and start the day. I also love that we have the balcony spilling out from our room. We spend a lot of time out there eating breakfast and drinking coffee over a book or magazine, tending to our plants and soaking up the morning sun. I am really grateful for the space.
What’s your favourite item in the house?
That’s a really hard question! So many things in our home have been passed down from family members, bought second hand or hand picked because they nurture a story. So, it's really hard to narrow it down to one thing.
One of my (many) favourite items in the house would have to be a painting of people swimming at Mahon Pool in Maroubra, painted by one of our friends Lachie Hinton. It’s special to me for a few reasons. I met Lachie through our former roommates, who are really dear friends to Tim and I, so I love that it reminds me of our wonderful friends.
Image: Mahon pool by Lachie Hinton.
I also used to live in an apartment just up the road from Mahon pool and would spend a lot of time frolicking in the waterhole with my nephews and family. When Tim and I first started dating, we spent a lot of time at here – swimming early in the morning and returning in the evening for night-time swims when the pool was empty and quiet. Those are really special memories for me. On top of all of this I used to work at the Pool Café, opposite Mahon Pool, when I was in high school. I have some wonderful memories with my cousin who managed the café at the time and some dear friends where we would quickly pack up the cafe so that we could rush off and jump into the water.
Safe to say, the painting holds a lot of dear memories for me!
How has your relationship with your home changed since being in isolation?
I have really grown to appreciate my home during this weird and uncertain time. Normally, on the weekends Tim and I would rush out of the house to get outside and explore. This period has really helped me find comfort in retreating and getting back to basics.
I always believed doing nothing is a waste of time. But I think there is a silver lining to this forced pause. It has given me time to reflect and to realise what’s important. And it's encouraged me to try new things, such as traditional Greek and Cypriot recipes that I usually enjoy at my mother or grandmother’s house where I can no longer visit, and arts and crafts which are usually only brought out during holidays.
What are you doing to stay sane at home?
Cibi has been a saving grace! It has been so lovely cuddling up to a furry friend during this period. I think it is really easy to get down and overwhelmed during this crisis. I have really loved switching off the news and focusing on what’s in front of us. For Tim and I, bringing Cibi into our home and caring for him has been a really lovely experience. We love cuddling up all together in the mornings and watching Cibi explore and become confident in our home. He's a real character and it has been a joy watching his personality grow.
We have also been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. We have really embraced Cornersmith’s pickling recipe book and are brewing pickled gherkins, green tomatoes, onions – you name it! We've had to stop baking for a little while. There is only so much banana bread two humans can eat!
What’s the first thing you want to do when isolation is over?
I can’t wait to see our friends and family! Video calls have been great, but I have really missed the simple joy of embracing friends and family. I usually spend a lot of time at Easter with my family – cracking painted boiled eggs, catching up over an Easter BBQ and meeting at midnight to eat soup. These are traditions my family have enjoyed for generations, so it’s difficult not to be partaking in these traditions this year. I can’t wait to run around with my nephews, hug my grandparents and have a homemade meal from mum and dad. The beauty of this crisis is I’ll never again take these simple joys for granted.
Images: Simone Ziaziaris.