Our apartment life has begun. It certainly seems to work beautifully for us, although we moved to Subiaco less than two weeks ago.

Sunset from our balcony

As John said,

If this is apartment life, we should have done it years ago. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, space, light, air; everything we want inside at our fingertips, and within walking distance outside.

I started to write a litany of thanks to everyone involved, but perhaps I only need to say that moving into the apartment could never have been so easy or enjoyable without the support of our many helpers. Our children and grandchildren contributed generously of their time and talents to the start of this new adventure. We hope they know how grateful we are.

Special thanks to Peter and Janet, who decided when they first saw them that the colour of the walls (pale grey) would never work for me. I thought I might grow, if not to like the colour, at least to accept it, given the other beautiful features of the apartment. Before we moved in, they painted the walls a soft, gentle off-white. Peter calls it, ‘Mum’s colour,’   and it is. Now the walls reflect the light and create a peaceful background for our lives.

Moving day passed in a blur of confusion and hard work. Relocation to an apartment on the third floor is a special exercise in logistics. Security gates must be opened and closed and so must lift doors. The distance from truck to front door is long. The task was laborious and time consuming for the removalists and our helpers. My trusty step-counter, and that of my daughter, Annie, both recorded more than 13 000 steps for the day. Some effort.

Two days after the move, everything was in place, even our books which now live in the neatest little study nook. Our apartment life could begin in earnest.

Entertaining – one of the joys of apartment living. John and Edward Linton enjoy each other’s company on the balcony

Neither of us felt even a twinge of nesting dislocation syndrome, that combination of disorientation and confusion that sometimes results from moving house, even in younger people. There are still things we want to do, but already this feels like home.

Why I love apartment life (so far)

  • Freedom from clutter. Our down-sizing was so successful we have everything we need as well as the luxury of several empty drawers and cupboard shelves.
  • Everything is almost new and cleaning is a breeze.
  • Lovely spaces. We have fewer rooms here than before, but there is a flow between spaces which more than makes up for that.
  • Both bedrooms and the living room have window walls that open onto our balcony and the world beyond.
  • I haven’t seen a fly, mosquito, spider or ant in two weeks. I can’t believe I don’t obsess about fly-wires being left open.
  • We can walk easily to shops, cafes, church, parks and the train station. The station opens even more new vistas that I can’t wait to try.
  • The complex is beautifully maintained and has a pool, gym, theatre and dining room for entertaining, as well as some alcoves to work in. There’s even a roof garden which is home to the community vegetable/herb garden.

    Plants in community garden
  • There seems to be more community within the complex than in any suburban street I have lived in since I was six years old and my best friends lived a couple of houses away.

Things I will not miss

  • What seemed like acres of hard floors that needed to be swept and mopped. Of course I could have paid a cleaner. But I guess I was too stubborn.
  • Stairs to climb to the second floor, not that I made that effort much in the last few years!
  • Worry of garden watering – sprinkler days and hand-watering regularly.
  • Letters from the Water Corporation telling us we use too much water.
  • Pulling weeds on arthritic knees with equally arthritic hands.
  • The need to drive the car to church, to shop or swim. We even used to drive three kilometres to the nearest train station, and then had to worry about parking.

What I’m looking forward to about apartment life

  • The continuation of feeling as if I’m on a permanent holiday.
  • The ability to lock up and not worry about the garden if we want another sort of holiday.
  • Being part of a community.
  • Exploring and using the communal spaces fully.
  • Time and space to write every day.
  • Entertaining in this oh-so-easy place.
  • Enjoying the proximity of so many of our family who live close-by.

Eighty definitely is not too old to downsize. Whoever thought it would be?

For more about apartment living, read my article Upsize Downsize Right-size

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13 replies on “Apartment life delights”

  1. It certainly is a beautiful ‘space’. I am so happy for you and John. Indeed, the eghtys is certainly not to old to downsize. Enjoy – I know you both will.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. It was lovely to have you visit. Thank you again for the flowers.

  2. It sounds delightful in every way, Maureen. I’m a great believer in down-sizing! The dream of a house is one I lost long ago; and it’s lovely to have a community around you. Happy days!

    1. Yes, I’m fast becoming a convert to living smaller, Christina. So much freedom. So much more space and a kind of peace that comes from having to make fewer choices. I imagined it would be difficult to let things go, but it was surprisingly easy. Means more space and time for things I love.

  3. You make it sound so good, I’m almost jealous! I’m so glad you’re happy in your new light and breezy home Maureen. Wishing you many new experiences and delights x

    1. It is this good, for us, Fiona. Maybe not for everyone, buut it certainly seems like a better option for JOHN and me than a retirement village because of the community of people of all ages. That’s probably another blog topic!

  4. Hi Maureen! My husband and I currently live in 4×2 800 cm2 block, and we are 71 and 65 respectively. I read your story in thewest.com.au. I am thinking too to make a move soon.
    When you are at a certain age you want peace. What stops me from moving to an apartment, is the fact you have to share common walls with your neighbours. They can be very noisy, with loud parties late at night, and so on. Unfortunately, the current regulations in this area are not helpful at all (based on my own experience here).
    Even, lets say, you are happy with people around you right now, there is no guarantee, that in future new neighbours will move in, and they wont be as pleasant as the current ones.
    What I am saying here I guess, you become too vulnerable and dependable on something you have no control whatsoever.
    What do you think?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tanya. As you probably saw, my husband and I are in our early eighties. I really wish we had moved sooner! There is so much to enjoy, especially in an apartment block like ours.
      Before we moved, we researched everything we could think of so that we were sure we would be happy. The walls between our apartments are all soundproof and fireproof, and so are the doors and windows if we want to close them. We honestly do not hear our neighbours or anyone in the corridor outside. When we come in here, it is like our own quiet retreat from the world.
      There are by-laws that cover noise at the swimming pool and in the recreation area. People can entertain on their balconies, (barbecues are popular) but they must not make a noise after 10 p.m. which seems quite reasonable. We have only been here six months and have never heard anyone on their balcony at all. The Council of Owners employ a manager who works every day. He enforces the by-laws, makes sure the maintenance, gardening and cleaning are all done, and answers queries.
      We see the neighbours in our area when we meet them in the lift or corridors when we say hello. We do meet people in the roof garden, the pool, gym and some of us now have a coffee if we feel like it. I love it. There is more community here than I have experienced in a suburban street since I was a child in North Perth. At the same time, it is easy to keep to yourself if that’s what people prefer.
      I hope this answers some of your questions. I’d be happy to answer anything else you want to know. Best wishes with your deliberations.

  5. Thanks for your answer Maureen! It is very helpful to hear from a person with firsthand experience.
    Yes, I would like to ask you another question, I hope, I haven’t been too “noisy”!
    In the past we had a very bad experience with our then new young neighbour who had backyard parties until 6am. No authoritative body could or would do anything to calm him down. Where we live right now is very quiet, but, as I mentioned before, too much maintenance drives me crazy.
    You mention 10pm as being the time of knocking off. I am curious whether you were informed on this rule before you bought the property, or after? Who would enforce the by-law, if somebody does not follow the rules?
    In Europe, you compare different sets of rules of different blocks of flats, and you choose and buy the one that suits your life style. There are communities where dogs are accepted, or not, children, visitors, all regulated.

    1. Hi again Tanya. You haven’t been nosy at all. I’m happy to answer whatever questions I can.
      I think there a a basic set of by-laws for most multi-occupancy buildings in Perth, and the Councils of Owners can add to them as long as there is a majority who agrees. For instance, some blocks of apartments have no pets. We can have pets if we like, but they must be on a lead at all times in the common areas, including corridors and lifts. I like to have dogs to pat but don’t have to take responsibility for them! We can have visitors, kids to stay and use the facilities as long as one of us is with them in the pool or recreation area.
      The 10 p.m. curfew for loud noise was in our by-laws, and we were given a copy of it before we moved in. There is no ‘authority’ who enforces the by-law after hours, but because it is in the by-laws any one who lives here can tell people to pipe down. Actually, there a number of people, younger by far than we are, who are quite happy to enforce the curfew, especially in the recreation area, dining room etc. Like I said, I haven’t heard anyone making a noise in six months.
      I wonder if there are other people who might like to know these things, too. I might write another blog about them. Great if you have any more questions I could answer.

  6. It seems like everything has been taken care of in those by-laws papers. None of our friends live in that sort of accommodation, thanks for explaining those details. Looks like a dream come true to me! Next big thing is to start nagging my husband to make a move.)))

    1. Good luck with convincing your husband, Tanya. And with apartment hunting.

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