Martina and Vince at Breese Street by Milieu
Photography by Derek Swalwell
Please tell us about yourself, your background and how you first found out about Milieu?
We met in Florence, Martina’s hometown, in 2010. Vincent is a musician from Melbourne and was travelling around Italy looking for a cello, while Martina was a practising architect in the Tuscan capital. After living together in an apartment in Diladdarno (an area in the centre of Florence), we moved to Brunswick in 2011 and have been here ever since.
Was buying off the plan something you ever imagined doing?
Buying off the plan was never something we imagined doing until we came across projects like the ones by Milieu, Nightingale Housing or Assemble Projects. We appreciated the quality of their previous projects, the environmental consideration and their approach to community living.
How did you find the process of buying off the plan through our sales team?
Buying off the plan through Milieu was relatively simple, even though it was our first time. We requested a few changes to the apartment such as the removal of one of the bathrooms to open up the layout and create a study area, which we designed together once we moved in. Milieu’s sales team was helpful and always clear and open with us, guiding us through the process. Milieu (Patrick and Sally) have been extremely accommodating with all of our requests, answering all our silly questions.
"We wanted to be in a building where the residents care about each other and their neighbours."
What were your main considerations when finding your new home?
It was important for us to move into a building that could support a sustainable way of living, enhance the relationship with the neighbourhood and have close proximity to services. Having previously appreciated life in well-designed apartments within high-density areas while we were in Europe, proximity to public transport, a lively neighbourhood and organised open spaces were paramount in deciding where to live. Brunswick offers all the above, together with many types of venues for all genres of music (Tempo Rubato, Jazz Lab, Bar Oussouo and more are all within walking distance), little independent art galleries, artists’ and artisans’ studios, political forums, urban gardens in the neighbouring parks.
There is also an abundance of amazing places to eat different cuisines every night of the week.
We wanted to be in a building where the residents care about each other and their neighbours.
What do you like most about your apartment design?
Our apartment is intimate yet its liveable layout still allows us to entertain easily and indulge in our hobbies and interests—we appreciate the quality of the finishes and how we have been able to personalise and express our apartment style and create small pockets for music, reading, bicycles etc.
We enjoy the view of the internal atrium and fern garden from our apartment, and the morning light it affords into the bedrooms.
The design of the balcony allows us to engage with streetlife which reminds us of Europe, whilst we still enjoy the quiet and calmness towards the bedrooms from the atrium.
Other elements we enjoy include the thermal comfort throughout all the seasons thanks to cross ventilation, ceiling fans and hydronic heating, generous storage throughout and wall space for art.
"There is a wonderful generosity across generations throughout the building."
Was moving into Breese Street a lifestyle change, what have you enjoyed, and what has surprised you?
Moving into Breese Street has been life changing. We've enjoyed always coming home to a beautiful apartment and have made many new friends in the building and the neighbourhood, we see them regularly at each other's homes, out and about or at impromptu rooftop gatherings when the weather is nice.
We are surprised at how quickly we have been able to form a new community that has improved the lives of one another. We have organised working groups for gardening, waste, etc, which has enhanced the building’s sustainable nature.
There is a wonderful generosity across generations throughout the building with food exchanges, dog walking, babysitting and general help. We have been surprised at the ability to find peace and quiet when needed, but also how easy it is to step out into bustling life.