Have you ever wondered what it might be like to share a home with your best friend? Or what being housemates with a friend does to a friendship? Susie (from Susie's Fun Australian Home) shares the home she owns in Melbourne with her two housemates Bindy and Kerry. We asked her some questions about what it's like living (and cooking, and entertaining and...) with friends, as well as if she's got any advice for folks thinking about signing a lease with a buddy.
The back story from Susie:
When I moved to Melbourne five years ago, a friend introduced me to Bindy (and her dog Ruby) as she was looking for a new share house. We got to know each other over house hunting, and have been firm friends ever since. We moved into a rental together and then when I bought my house she came, too!
I’ve known Kerry for years, as she is my sister’s best friend and pretty much part of our family. She moved in about a year and a half ago and is a delight to live with.
A day in the life:
Weekdays: I’m always the last one to wake up! So by the time I get up, around 7am, Kerry has already left for work. Bindy and I have a bit of cross over in the morning, but it’s usually bleary eyed and fleeting. We only have one bathroom, but we’ve never had any issues with bathroom hogs.
Weeknights: We tend to be pretty low key—we all work fairly long hours, so nobody ever gets home before 7pm. And actually I’m out most nights, so it’s fairly rare to have all three of us home at once. There’s only really one living space in the house—the combined kitchen/lounge, which can be a bit challenging. But it means we do hang out together a lot and congregate there. In summer we have a bit more space because we use the courtyard quite a lot.
Weekends: We all tend to sleep in and there’s a general understanding that nobody should make much noise before 10am (which I’m sure sounds ridiculously indulgent to those with kids). We’ll either cook something together for breakfast, or head out to a café. It’s a very social house, as we live in walking distance to a lot of mutual friends. So there’s rarely a moment on weekends where there isn’t at least one visitor popping in to say hi.
Who does the cooking?
Kerry and I cook together a lot, as we’re both vegetarian, and Bindy does her own thing, or occasionally joins in with us. Summer’s a bit more social and we have dinners in the backyard. There’s a general understanding that if you want to throw a dinner party, you just check with everyone if the night suits—and of course housemates are always invited.
Housemates that host together, stay together:
The last big house party we threw was back in January for Kerry’s 40th. It was a lot of fun, but took some time to recover from (both the house and us personally). We probably have two big parties a year that we host together. They always garner a lot of random walk-ins off the street, as we’re in a part of Melbourne that has a lot of bars and nightlife. Depending on who they are we let them come in. The neighbours are great; we’ve never had a complaint.
The secret to a clean house when you live with housemates:
We’re all grown ups, so really just get on with it. Kerry is super clean, so she’s probably frustrated a lot of the time! We do get a cleaner once a week and I think that’s the key to living in a relatively conflict free share house.
Television etiquette is vital for peace:
We tend to get into series together, so there’s an etiquette that comes with this—patiently waiting for a night when we’re all together to watch the next episode. I’m glad Game of Thrones has finished, I can’t handle it or The Walking Dead. I’m too easily scared. So Kerry and Bindy watch them together with friends and I busy myself with something else or head out. It’s actually quite funny listening to their reactions—so much gasping, screaming and shrieking.
We all love comedy, so watch a lot of that together—Broad City, Amy Schumer, 30 Rock. At the moment we’re watching the second series of Unreal together and we’ve just started Lady Dynamite. We tend to watch house renovation shows, too, especially now Bindy is looking at doing a reno on an apartment. You might find us all hungover on a Sunday watching an '80s comedy, Big Business being a favourite.
The best thing about living with a friend?
It makes most days pretty fun. There’s someone to debrief to after a good or bad day, but also no obligation to if you don’t feel like company. I realise most of the closest friends I have are people I’ve lived with at some stage. I also love the friends I’ve met through my housemates over the years.
The most unexpected thing about living with a friend?
How much like family your housemates become.
You may end up looking like your housemate the longer you live together:
I think the more time you spend with someone, the more you subconsciously take on their style and habits. I realise that might sound a little single white female… but I don’t mean it like that.
After living with Bindy for four years, we’re sometimes asked if we’re sisters— despite not really looking alike. And in a bar one night, a guy I’d never met thought I was blanking him and he got really offended—because he’d been chatting up Bindy all night and thought I was her.
"Don’t sweat the small stuff. But do consider how living with someone might change your friendship." — Susie
The future for Susie, Bindy and Kerry:
Bindy just bought her own apartment, so will be moving out soon, which is bittersweet. But another friend, Fraser, is moving into her room, so it’ll be fun to have him around.
Sadly, our fourth unofficial housemate, Ruby the dog, has passed away since our Apartment Therapy photos were taken. We all miss her a lot.
Take the full tour of the roommates' home in Melbourne: