One thing that no one is taking for granted at the moment is space. Those cooped up in tiny apartments (hello, that's me) are craving an extra room to work in or a backyard to soak in the sunshine while we wait out the final weeks of isolation.
Luckily, Kate and Ben brought their sunlit home on the NSW Central Coast just months before the pandemic hit. So not only do they have the luxury of space – Ben is often tinkering away on something in the garage while Kate is getting her hands dirty in the garden – but with all this extra time on their hands, there's never been a better time to get stuck into some home renovations.
The house is looking great, but there's still some painting, planting and paving to be done. Let's see where they're at so far.
Who lives here?
Kate Bath: My partner Ben and I, and our cat Tim and Border Collie Oreo. We purchased this house late last year and have slowly been renovating and making it our own. After years of renting, it’s very strange to be able to do we what we want with the spaces, but it has been the absolute best hobby!
We got our Tim and Oreo on the same day six years ago (they were both an impulse purchase). They’ve grown up together, playing and chasing each other around the house. They're loving having us at home all the time at the moment; they have been our saving grace during isolation!
What’s your favourite part of the house?
I have two favourites! I love the lounge room of an evening and during a sunset. It has great views out to the surrounding hills and of our citrus trees in the garden. We’ve also filled it with plants so it feels like a bit of a jungle.
My second favourite spot is the courtyard. It’s still in construction at the moment, but it’s still a really nice spot to soak up the morning sun or sit around our makeshift fire pit and look up at the huge gum trees.
We’re half way through laying the sandstone flooring and willing our little grapevines to grow in this space!
What’s your favourite item in the house?
One of my favourite pieces is this little black and white aboriginal painting we got on our trip to the Red Centre. We drove from Uluru to Alice, camping along the way at the most beautiful gorges and national parks.
When we got to Alice, we found ladies selling amazing paintings in the town Centre and when we chose this little one, they all laughed and were quite embarrassed as we’d chosen one of their 5 year old daughter's artworks. She was so proud of herself when she handed it over to me.
How has your relationship with your home changed since being in isolation?
It hasn’t changed too much actually; we’re both big homebodies. Normally on weekends, we like to explore the surrounding nature or go camping with Oreo. So instead we’ve been spending a lot of time outside in the garden with him, which has been really nice! I’ve been so appreciative of our house during this time and all of the garden space we have to play with. We created a few new veggie gardens the other day!
What are you doing to stay sane at home?
With so much time on our hands, we’re smashing through the renovations and thinking of new things to do to it everyday, which is exciting! We’ve spent a lot of this isolation period painting the exterior of the house and updating the entry space. It’s looking less and less like its former dorky, 70s self, but it’s a bit of a love/hate thing right now. I’m very sick of painting, but it’s looking better and better each day!
I’ve also got into a bit of baking, as is everyone else judging from the lack of flour everywhere! I’d love to say I’m learning a language or getting back into my art, but in reality, I’ve given Netflix a good go!
I am appreciating this time at home with our little family and hope to have a wave of artistic motivation next week.
What’s the first thing you want to do when isolation is over?
Catch up with all our friends over a beer and a pub feed. Virtual trivia over Zoom has become our weekly catch-up, but I can’t wait to be surrounded by them all and not have to enter a meeting code! The last time we were all together, it was actually our friend's wedding, which was such a fantastic night of dancing and celebrating.
Images: Kate Bath