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The house that sanity built

February 23, 2012

I have just awoken from my first sleepover in my new house. After more than two years living with my parents by the riverside, I have flown the nest for the second time to a beautiful historic house on the north side of town.

Just two months ago, a move towards independence was unthinkable to me. Years of struggling with mental illness and accompanying long periods of self medication, rendering independent living untenable, had destroyed my self-confidence. Sadly, I had come to rely on my parents to keep me healthy and alive. So it is with amazement that I now find myself in my very own space, alone and happily so. How quickly things can change.

The turning point for me was my sojourn at the private psychiatric clinic I fondly refer to as Club Loco. Although I initially found myself there in a time of crisis, facing the challenge of taking ownership of my treatment and spending a measure of time somewhere away from home independently, albeit somewhere safe and nurturing, provided me with great unexpected confidence.

I have also been blessed with the generosity of an extraordinary friend, owner of Grafton’s newest dining establishment No. 1 Duke Street, who has taken on the project of converting a nineteenth-century inn into a boutique guest house. I am to be the caretaker in this undertaking. But, referring to me as her ‘writer in residence’, Liza has seen an opportunity for mutual benefit. I will undertake the simply satisfying work of greeting guests, laundering sheets and cleaning bathrooms, and in exchange, be given the space and opportunity to grow and write in my own space and time.

Over the past week, I have made this space my own. Being the first time I have lived alone, as well as the first time in many years I have had the motivation and strength to create a peaceful sense of space, I have filled these light, spacious rooms only with objects that I love; created a reflection of myself in each strategically-placed ceramic pineapple, thrift-store painting and well-thumbed book.

It is a joy to once again live in an old building, each room echoing the presence of residents past. It is a thrill to be a part of its story; may the story I write here be a happy one.

Argyle House, 1879

The joy of unpacking

My kitchen: is Don; is good.



Lounge and library

Desk of my dreams

Music nook

Iron lace

Window box

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. crazybrave permalink
    February 23, 2012 07:04

    Oh, how very lovely. Owy was looking over my shoulder and says we’ll come up and look after it when you need a holiday :)

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 23, 2012 09:51

      Hehe thanks Zoe! xx

  2. Antony Perring permalink
    February 23, 2012 07:33

    X What a difference having your own space will make. Happy nesting. X

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 23, 2012 09:51

      Thanks! Can’t wait to have you and D over for tea one day. x

  3. Emma in Sydney permalink
    February 23, 2012 07:51

    Welcome home, traveller.

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 23, 2012 09:51

      Thanks Emma :-) xxxxx

  4. February 23, 2012 08:27

    To my first ever ‘real job’ mentor :) haha. Look where we are now! You have no idea how much you inspire me! You are one of those truly unique and beautiful people in this world! You are amazing! Love you lots! Ox

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 23, 2012 09:54

      Look where we are now indeed! You are truly an inspiration to me too, Katie. It has taken me a long time to realise that ‘success’ doesn’t have anything to do with material possessions, wealth, a high-flying job or how many degrees one has. Success means happiness, and happiness is where you find it, even when it takes a lot of searching! xoxox

  5. Timmy B permalink
    February 23, 2012 09:10

    LOVE what you’ve done with the place!

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 23, 2012 09:55

      Thanks T! Next time you’re in town you’ll have to come over for lunch. x

  6. Gayle permalink
    February 23, 2012 10:16

    You have come such a long way and I’m so proud of you!! Can’t wait to visit :)

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 24, 2012 04:38

      I can’t wait for you to visit either! x

  7. sue webber permalink
    February 23, 2012 14:08

    Like the way the mirror looks….

  8. February 23, 2012 14:30

    Oh, oh! That house! I have personal history with that house haha. It’s lovely, I hope you love living there! (the high ceilings and architraves!)

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 24, 2012 04:39

      Ooh I wanna hear your stories. Yes, the high ceilings are the best! Except for the rooms they put false ceilings in, grrr.

  9. Cath Renwick permalink
    February 23, 2012 17:35

    Lovely news, thanks lovely xx

    • felixexplody permalink*
      February 24, 2012 04:39

      Thanks Cath xxxxx

  10. James Moloney permalink
    February 25, 2012 08:48

    You’re creating a unique and distinctive life for yourself. It reflects great strength of character. Well done. I look forward to the next chapter. I often ask why the most interesting people are afflicted by mental illness.

  11. February 25, 2012 16:07

    I hope you really enjoy your time at Argyle House, you have made it look very homely. Love the owl. Hopefully you will gain lots of inspiration for writing. I look forward to a visit. Love from Sharron

  12. February 25, 2012 22:25

    How wonderful to be a writer in residence! I hope you have lots of time to write, dream & be happy.

  13. Sheri permalink
    March 30, 2012 22:05

    You are always a source of inspiration.and now a writer in residence in a heritage house, too. Perfect match?Hug.

  14. Horatio Bunker permalink
    April 13, 2012 00:26

    Hi, have I caught you relaxing in your music nook?

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:42

      Hi, you’ve caught me murdering a homeless woman.

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