February 20, 2024

Meet Merinda from 38 Albermarle Street, Kensington

20022024 ASSEMBLE 38 Albermarle Merinda Fraser Mc Nally 011

We sat down for a chat over coffee with Merinda who lives at 38 Albermarle Street in Kensington. We spoke about the importance of finding community – with your neighbours and in your neighbourhood – and her favourite (and most surprising) elements of living in an Assemble home. 

Hi Merinda, can you tell us about yourself?

Merinda: My name’s Merinda. I have been an interior designer for over 30 years and have run my own business solo for 23 years. I'm country-born and bred, and that community and way of life was a big part of my upbringing. My lifestyle and being part of a connected community is very important to me.

Recently I have joined PMG Group, a national Workplace Design and Construction firm. I'm super excited about it as they're starting to tackle some awesome new projects in Melbourne. Living at 38 Albermarle Street is perfect because it's only a 30-minute walk, short train or bike trip to my new office in the CBD.  

What appealed to you about 38 Albermarle Street and our purchase pathway? 

M: I've always been interested in how we live in cities and more so how we live in vertical communities. That's been a bit of a passion of mine, and so 38 Albermarle Street was very attractive to me. Previously my daughter and I were living in Kyneton and then in South Melbourne and I just wanted something simple to “set and forget” but that had good amenities aligned with my values too.

I could see how the purchase pathway worked and how it made sense for me. Having my own business and working from home, renting hasn't been a problem as I would offset this against my business. But now that I am no longer self-employed, the opportunity to buy sooner is appealing as I have the financial outlook that suits. The purchase pathway works on a lot of levels for me.    

It's been 18 months now since you have moved in. How have you and your daughter found your time living here? 

M: It’s been great and so easy. I have been predominately working from home until now and feel like I've really been able to land properly. 

I've set up my home for versatility. In my office, I can work, switch it up for yoga or meditation, or I can pull out a queen size mattress for guests too.    

I love Cassette café and the immediacy you get with the Neighbourhood Team being just downstairs. It’s been great being able to just bump into Luke (our Regional Operations Manager) if you've got something that you want to highlight or bring to his attention – he’s always open to chatting.  

What’s your favourite aspect of your apartment? 

M: I love living on Level 7 and being surrounded by the sky. I sit at the table and look out over to Mount Macedon and get to see the trees come in and out of season. I really want my balcony to feel like a ‘Green-scape’ with Ficus vines starting to climb up the balcony walls. I'll try and keep them low because I love the way the filtered light comes through the screens. 

Also, the fact that I can have my space and my own ensuite, and my daughter has her own space too. I do like that separation so we can be out of each other's way when we need it.  

Having the exposed concrete ceiling gives the home a real warehouse, industrial feel.

What’s surprised you most about your Assemble home?  

M: I very rarely use my heating or air conditioning – maybe three times this last year. I'm well trained for the cold, but it never gets cold under foot or freezing indoors. I have lived in Kyneton and that's freezing! I would put it down to the extra light and airflow you get from the open-air walkways. I usually open the house first-thing in the morning or overnight to move air through the space.  

What about the other sustainability features of your home?

M: I love induction cooking! I have always had gas and I was really surprised how quick it is and how easy it is to clean. It also looks a lot sleeker, and you don't get all the cooking debris too. 

I am also very conscious of energy consumption and that was another big drawcard for me having the opportunity to choose GreenPower over mainstream energy with Assemble Connect. 

And what are the stand-out features of your building?

M: I love the fact that it's sprung out of an existing building, and it has historical significance. I think that’s something that sets it apart in the area. I guess it's bred a little bit more creativity too, because the architects had to work with the existing shell of a heritage-listed building. 

Cassette downstairs is a great place to be too. I've had business meetings down there and it's really been handy for that. And I know I can get my milk or coffee beans if I need - that's been a sweet deal.  

I also love the clothesline and having freshly sun-dried linen sheets - that's been a big drawcard too!  

What’s it been like getting to know your neighbours?

M: I love just seeing all the familiar faces - everyone's so friendly and there’s a solid “hello” from neighbours across all the different levels.  

The longer I'm here and the more people you experience, there’s this kind of unspoken bond happening. The purchase pathway offers something different for everyone and their journey, but it’s become one of the collective values of the community. 

Tell us more about Kensington – what are you excited by in your suburb?

M: I really love the south-side where you can witness old Kensington. I'm excited by what's happening at the YoungHusband building and the amenity it will offer to the community – cafes, workspaces and that sort of thing. On this side, I love the village feel around the Macaulay Road precinct and I'll often take myself to JJ Holland Park if I want to hear birds and walk amongst nature. 

I'm a yogi and I love my local studios - Estuary Yoga in North Melbourne and Motus Life on Stubbs Street in Kensington. I love them because that's another community for me; my primary community is my yoga community.  

I also do love the train stations – a five-minute walk in either direction to catch a train. Particularly in wintertime when I'm working in the city, I will be loving that proximity very much. 

Do you think you will purchase your home?

M: Yes. I'm in my fifties and this opportunity is perfect. I'm enjoying a career pivot and moving into great earning capacity. It's good timing and viable for me to secure and purchase a home now. 

As a single woman, I think it’s important to feel confident when entering or reentering the property market. For some people who have split from relationships, it’s a whole new world for them and it’s important to feel that there's an easy and sustainable path to home ownership. Being part of this demographic I am also aware of the growing disadvantages. I believe Assemble’s purchase pathway is good because you feel a sense of security and you’re supported throughout the process.

Thank you Merinda for sharing your story and letting us into your home. Paintings & Sculptures are by Merinda's friend, artist Shayne Hadley, who is based at his gallery and artist studios Gallery THS in Margaret River, Western Australia.