News | 17 October 2023
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Thirty, flirty and thriving: Embracing city life in a new apartment

Despite the rain droplets on the windows , Amy Dowdle has a sunny disposition as she curls up on her couch and looks around her lounge in awe.

Woman wearing a striped tshirt sitting between the window and a bookshelf, with a book open on the table infront of her.

Surrounded by large bookshelves that are teeming with trinkets and colour-coordinated books, she finally feels at home in her new rental apartment in the Te Kāinga Aroha building on Willis Street.

After years of commuting and always dreaming of living in her own place in the city, the apartments have made it a reality for her, she says.

“I really love living by myself. I have a generally busy life and when I come home, I just want my own space to recharge. A couple of years ago I was looking at places in the city and I just couldn't afford it. It’s crazy trying to rent on your own, let alone in the city. 

“I ended up moving out to Petone, which was really nice but all my friends were in town and I felt so far from them.”

Woman wearing a striped tshirt sitting on the couch reading a book.

As she has recently turned 30, Amy wanted to find a new home where she could find a sense of stability and make it her own. 

“When I was looking earlier this year, I saw these apartments and I was immediately sold. One of the things that I liked was the idea of having Council as a landlord because I could live here and not feel like I would be randomly kicked out. That was a big thing for me coming into my 30s and still renting, I can feel safe and secure at home. The thought of being 30 and renting with others was something I didn’t want to do.”

On top of that, she has found her apartment finally ticks all the boxes in what she needs in a home – a full sized stove, bench space, storage, and air conditioning/heat pump. 

Kitchen with brown shelves and a bowl of citrus sitting on the bench.

“I was so surprised it ticked off my criteria, and that I also immediately felt like I was at home when I first saw the apartment. It’s hard to put my finger on it. I lived at my last place for nearly two years and by the time I left I realised I never really felt at home there. It was just this big open space and it was hard to make it feel cosy and homely.

“The difference here is that you’ve got lots of room, but everything is segmented in a way that is usable, like I have this cute living room here and my kitchen is separate. It’s cosy without being crammed and that’s been a big thing for me! The kitchen even has a full-sized oven. Things like heating and air conditioning are so hard to find in central apartments, but this one is air-conditioned, and I’m so stoked about that.”

She feels like it’s the first time she has had creative license in a rental. 

Bookshelf with yellow books lined up.

“I had a vision for how I could set it all up when I saw the apartment. I imagined the couches and my bookshelf, and I love to sit and read and look out the window. My bookshelf has special trinkets that were given to me by friends or family. I have a buffalo soft toy that my friend made for me one year when she crocheted our favourite animals for our birthdays, and I love buffalos because I spent six months in Kansas City. I also have a little dumpling that my friend won for me, and a cow that has come all the way from Switzerland when I was there for a conference. 

“The next thing is to find some art, which I’ve never really been able to have in a rental before. I love the fact that I’m encouraged to put stuff up, and I look for things from local artists when I’m out and about.”

Woman wearing a striped tshirt sitting infront of a sewing machine.

She even has enough space to pull out her sewing machine, which is sentimental to her. 

“The other thing as well is that I really love sewing, and I was given my Nana’s old sewing machine when she passed away, which is decades old and still going strong. My old place was  hard for me because I would have to set it up and pack it all down every time I used it, but here I have a spare room where I can permanently leave it up. It’s one of my favourite hobbies that I’ve learnt a lot about from the women in my life and I feel like this space can bring me joy."

While Amy has only been in her apartment for a couple of months, she is optimistic about what the future holds.

“Every day I’m just so stoked to be living in the city because I thought it would never happen for me. My daily routine is so nice because I can walk home and take my time. I usually go to the supermarket, look in the bookstore windows on the way. It’s a great way to see the city on my way home and hearing birds in the trees. For years, I thought that there were speakers in the trees with bird sounds but turns out there’s just an insane number of birds on Willis Street! 

“I’ve finally found a home that lets me go out and enjoy the vibrancy of the city but then I can come back to my own little sanctuary."

Find out more about Te Kāinga long-term rental apartments and check out current vacancies on the website.