HOME IS WHERE...
A warm hello to those of you who are visiting our blog for the first time, my name is Alicia and I manage the marketing side of business here at Raine & Horne, Brunswick.
2020 has been a surreal year for us all. Like everyone right now - I'm counting down the days until I can reunite with family and friends again. I imagine a near restriction free hot Melbourne summer - where I can get in the car to drive to my parents place along the lush Merri Creek in Coburg North for a Friday night BBQ, or to visit my Italian grandmother in Pascoe Vale and give her a million kisses, or to head out in Brunswick East for dinner and drinks with my partner and our best friends. I truly do believe that this summer may just be one of the most special and sentimental yet -because if there's one thing all this time apart from loved ones has taught me, it's to never take for granted that precious time together again.
When we first entered STAGE 4 Lockdown we heard first-hand from so many of our clients how tough it was. It seemed that everyone was very curious about how everyone else was doing and wanted to connect...
For this reason we launched this mini-blog series called 'HOME IS WHERE...' a string of blog-posts where we'd interview inspiring Melbourne creatives and get a glimpse into their new 'normal'. Our hope is that this reflective interview series might crack a smile on your face and help you see we really are all in this together.
We had the pleasure of chatting with fellow Northside resident Martina Gemmola - an incredible Interior and Lifestyle photographer whose work will have your eyes glued to the screen/magazine/book in absolute awe. We spoke about all things ISO/Mum/Business life. We so enjoyed this one and hope you will too.
What does your new 'normal' look like? Can you give us a glimpse into how your days begin and end during ISO with your kids too?
My husband and I are both photographers, and as most of our work is shot on location, Covid has really shaken up our year. We have two boys, aged 2 and 5, and so my husband and I take turns at homeschooling/caring whilst the other hides out in the office in the front of the house. I have to tell my 2 yr old that I am 'going' to work otherwise he will beat the door down to get at me. My husband Ari brings me coffees and snacks on the sly, which works until I need a bathroom break. Ha!
We try to finish up schooling by lunchtime, then we all get out of the house for some fresh air. We live right on the Merri Creek, and have recently discovered the equally lovely Edgars creek. The boys love throwing rocks into the water, playing in the mud. It's a little slice of country life right here in Coburg. I grew up in Western Victoria and am itching to get there as soon as it is safe. The end of the day is a little crazy, and we are relieved to get everyone to bed.
We will often be back in the office at night, but have also enjoyed being able to have a wine and zoom chat with friends, read the pile of books on our bedside, or watch a good film. All of these luxuries were few and far between pre-pandemic, so I plan to make it a permanent feature of our evenings moving forward.
Now more than ever, Melburnian's have begun to turn their attention towards styling their homes & really creating a sanctuary. What is the heart of your home & why?
The extension we put on the back of our modest little home (open kitchen/living/dining) is north facing and we have floor to ceiling windows that let all the winter sun in. So this is where all the action happens. I am sure I am not alone in saying this – but our home has basically become a playground for our children, and has probably never looked so unstylish in it's life! We have pushed the furniture to the edges of the lounge room so the boys can race their trikes around the island bench. The lounge room floor is covered in lego and train sets. The dining nook is covered in home schooling charts and stationary. The kitchen is getting a workout with all the snacks that are made every hour. It's a little slice of chaos, but we are rolling with it – nobody else sees it right now anyway!
THE GEMMOLA RESIDENCE | MARTINA'S KITCHEN + BATHROOM PICTURED BELOW
KITCHEN FITOUT: CANTILEVER
What do you love most about calling the Northside of Melbourne home?
We bought a small one bedroom home in the Housing Commission's post WWII Newlands Estate in 2016 and have occupied it as owner-builders since. It was coined 'the doll house' and the biggest thing in it was an enormous spa tub....(which has now been repurposed into a wicking bed in the garden). We put on a modern extension with an open plan on the rear of the property, doubling it's footprint. Each room in the original home has been renovated on rotation and it is still a work in progress.
Our weekends have always been spent locally – cycling the creek, climbing the big tree at Joe's garden, going to the farmers market, coffee dates at Wild Timor, haloumi pies at Zaatar, movies at the drive-in. Now we have a 5km limit on our movements we feel really lucky that we have all this on our doorstep.
What does 'ISO you time' look like?
My highlight is my online dance class with Body Electric dance studio. I get to see all the faces of my friends and sweat it out in the lounge room. It's also a good weekly challenge to clean away all the lego pieces off the floor. Otherwise– ouch.
If you could step foot inside anyone’s home in the world & photograph it (alive or dead) whose would it be?
The homes I am drawn to are the ones with the crumbling walls, the unrestrained utilisation of art, objects and colour. The ones with a true sense of history and the people living there. I would love to travel the world photographing homes that have been passed down through generations – capturing the layers and narrative that each person has lived.
When you look back at this time in 10 years from now, what do you hope you’ll remember? /Any positive lessons you’ve taken away from this period?
Quite sincerely, despite the health & income challenges, the chance to take a pause, slow down and simplify has been welcome. In the last 6 years we have had 2 babies, lived in endless renovations, worked until midnight each night juggling the kids and clients, and barely taken a breath. I have loved having more time with all my boys without feeling the pull to do or be anywhere else.
What are you watching, listening to and reading right now?
I just finished watching 'The Great' and loved it for its wit and heart. The interiors are incredible – the marble staircase scenes shot in an Italian palazzo are worth a watch alone.
I rotate between 'Full Story', '7am' and 'The Daily' as trusted news podcasts untangling the complexities of this time.
I've just read 'Where the Crawdads Sing' and was so drawn in by the environmental imagery and atmosphere. I am just about to put an order through to my local bookshop to get through the next 5 weeks.
What was the last thing that put a smile on your face?
When stage 4 came into effect I had a very timely email drop into my inbox from Future Crunch – and it had a list of 101 good news stories around the world to come out of the pandemic. It was full of stories of humans caring for each other, feeding each other. The Brazilians had created a 'hug tunnel' in an aged care home to allow residents to hug their loved ones. 'Seismic' noise produced by humans has decreased by 50% - the earth is the quietest it has been than any other time on record. And two pandas in the Hog Kong zoo finally got enough alone time to mate successfully after 10 years trying. Huzzah!
Who do you most want to hug post ISO?
I have three clever and charismatic nieces that have all been growing up too much this year, so they get the first hug/smother. Next will be my parents –they feel very far away at the moment.
Lastly, finish this sentence for you, “Home is where...
...the coffee machine is always on…”
We hope you enjoyed this interview with the beautiful Martina as much as we did.
Take care Northsiders,
Alicia + The Raine & Horne, Brunswick Team