The couple’s apartment showcases their individual sense of style. ‘Knowing that our stay here won’t last doesn’t stop us from filling it with things we love,’ says Hannah, an artist and ethical taxidermist. A mix of open shelving, glass cabinets and bell jars helps to store, protect and display their most beloved items.
Their living room combines with modern and old-style, Blaine's antiqued furniture collection brings the sense of eternal and warmth to this temporary living space. Considering the functional and styling use, they also add some modern furniture and decoration. 'For me, this is our first home, two people set up together, and let our home become a magical space with special meaning.' Hannah says.
The couple share kitchen and bathroom facilities with six fellow guardians. They also have a kitchenette of their own, which Blaine partly helped to build. A wall rail and hooks add handy extra storage in the small space. ‘It’s tiny but we make it work,’ says Hannah.
‘Our home is like a treasure nest of curiosities. It isn’t perfect, but that’s part of what makes it interesting’
The apartment benefits from huge windows, but they’re overshadowed by a large building next door. Hannah’s solution was to invite nature inside and add privacy with a living screen of plants and cuttings. ‘It’s become one of my favourite places at home,’ she says.
The guardians are allowed to put their own stamp on their homes. ‘When we moved in, everything was bare,’ says Hannah. Her top tips for creating cosiness? ‘Rugs. And crisp bed linen in nice floral patterns, throws, lots of lighting, unique plants and cushions.’
Property guardianship can mean a nomadic lifestyle. ‘Moving is a big job,’ says Hannah. ‘We have a 12-foot long dining table! Most people would live more lightly.’ For smaller items of furniture, it makes sense to think flexibly – a stool can triple up as a seat, bedside table and plant stand.
Originally a tram shed, then a collection of shop units, the building is now home to a community that includes a photographer, an artist and musicians. ‘The housing crisis means creative people can no longer afford to live and work anywhere near the city centre,’ says Hannah. ‘But here, Blaine and his band have a recording space in the basement, and I have my studio in the shared internal courtyard.’
Hannah and Blaine’s apartment is made up of a living room, kitchenette, storage room, bedroom and guest room. Outside their front door is a vast internal courtyard for fellow guardians to use as they please, with room for communal eating and relaxing, as well as Hannah’s workspace. ‘It’s good to have the shared space,’ says Hannah. ‘There’s rarely a lonely moment, which is important for me as my work can provide rather a solitary existence.’
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