Sally Tabart shares this epic 4-and-a-half bedroom Northcote mansion (aka ‘the commune’) with housemates Pip Newell (an interior stylist and secondhand furniture seller), Pip’s boyfriend Chris Garoni (a psychology masters student), Sophie Purdue (who works in the not for profit sector) and Fushia Saulwick, who works in marketing and events.
Together, this industrious group of twenty-somethings appear to host a constant stream of garden dinner parties… whilst Pip spends most of her time buying and selling furniture on eBay or Gumtree, resulting in all kinds of amazing furniture scores, and endless redecorating! One particularly beloved piece of furniture is the burnt orange Featherston modular sofa. ‘There have been so many good times spent around that sofa’ Pip says. ‘Something about the shape and structure of the design invites many a long and wonderful night slumped altogether’.
It’s the house, though, (and garden) which really commands attention. Victorian on the outside but sort of 70s revival on the inside, the first notable feature is that this place is HUGE. I mean… Pip’s bedroom is quite honestly the size of some inner city apartments. With its robust bones and big, communal spaces, this is a home that comfortably houses all five occupants – both bringing them together, and giving each of them adequate space when needed.
The housemates have become so attached to the place, Sally is mildly concerned about its future. ‘It would be devastating if anything major changed!’ Sally says. ‘I get scared that when this house is eventually sold it’s going to get knocked down and made into horrible apartments.’
Until then, it seems this grand old dame has found the perfect custodians. ‘This house has been around for over 130 years, and our landlord and her family grew up here…’ Sally muses. ‘The fact that the house has such sentimental value makes it so special to us, and we do our best to respect the heritage and memories.’