When corona was just a beer, my house was just a place to store my things, mainly purchased in Kmart. It was a communal space, with roommates and a couch designated for whoever was passing through town. As it was merely considered a roof over my head, I took no pride in our living space, and neither did my roommates (sorry!). Then a virus swept through the world, upending critical structures and life as we knew it. Within a week, we were all prisoners in our homes and me, unemployed.
Suddenly, minor things became major problems – milk crates as chairs? Eating my last row of chocolate? Ugly light switches? Things that once went unnoticed became sore points. What was once a kitchen bench with too many wine stains (which I admittedly contributed to) became my go-to study place, unfortunately, everyone else’s. Instead of a think tank, it became a place of distraction that interfered with the one thing that truly mattered at that point in my life, my degree. Life concertinaed in four ugly walls and makeshift spaces quickly proved unfit for purpose, and I was miserable. Not only did the interiors and habits of those around me hit my last nerve, but now my neighbourhood had become a life-changing imposition. A set 5km radius turned me from a fish in the sea to a sardine in a tin. I was too far from friends, family, parks, and the ocean.
Not only had my wants changed, but my needs and an environment that facilitated what I was trying to achieve revolved around home. I began asking questions I never dreamt of: Is this a place where I can work, live, and relax? But the quest went beyond my home; a new desire for community, outdoor space and a good WIFI connection also became aforethought. A tough ask in a fiercely competitive and expensive market, now with a pandemic that forced similar desires of an all-in-one space. Of course, a compromise was a must, but now a bath and a balcony with the sun were things I refused to budge on. If I was locked indoors, I had to get a tan at least, even if the compromise was a balcony, with the sun on the main street fully exposed—the things a girl must do. I also began to think more about the future, considering homes that could evolve as I did. A space for a start-up, a kitchen to become a world-renowned chef, Kids (Okay, the last one is a joke). But the truth is, I was forced to become more practical and wiser and consider trends like the rise of work from home and how this may look in the future.
As it was the first time I was taking the plunge on my own at a mere 23 years old, I had a very, very rude awakening about what my budget could provide. Instead of fantasy land, I had to filter my search from low to high and put my designer hat on to see “potential”. Ah, potential, thankfully, potential varies significantly between men and homes. I found myself in libraries, borrowing books on feng shui, and seeking design inspiration in every corner of the web. I wanted my home to be me, so I took the wise words of Winston Churchill very seriously “we shape our homes, thereafter they shape us”. It was a painful journey; turning a lavender canvas into a white space required love and money. But the decision showed me anything was possible and that I was more competent than I thought, reading IKEA instructions, moving items ten times my body weight - #girlpower.
Most of all, what my home became was a refuge, COVID gilded my happiness as I realised happiness isn’t something you can grab. It is a by-product of safety, security, and relationships. Having a home I was proud of allowed me to have friends over and take chances in relationships and career paths, knowing if all failed, and they did that, I had a place to laugh, cry, and even run away to. It was mine. The pandemic nudged many of us to rethink our lives and how we value our homes. While the world may be opening and we emerge with a successful vaccine rollout, societal change is reflected in trends regarding our space. Shifted priorities seem permanent and prospective renters, and buyers now want more.
Having been through the motions and contributing to changing attitudes, I feel very honoured to be part of the Abodely team that was created to fill a void and disrupt traditional home & lifestyle platforms. It is an all-in-one space designed for home-proud individuals, families – whatever your structure is. It will be a journey with the goal - a platform you can create your reality with your home.