Laura and Harry: a family affair

It makes for an interesting test of how you manage your social boundaries.

29th May 2018

Laura and Harry bought a house in Paintworks as a family home with their young daughter Elsie.

We came across them on a Tuesday morning, perched on the flower bed outside their front door, enjoying a cup of tea.

laura and harry paintworks residents

So, Laura, Harry, what attracted you to Paintworks?

It was mostly the location. We’d lived in Totterdown before and really loved it. When the Help to Buy scheme came up with Crest Nicholson, we were able to buy a family home in a location we loved.

The pedestrianised aspect was also a big factor because we have a little baby; we know there won’t be any cars racing past and we can just let her play.

Has the pedestrianised aspect had any other impacts?

Definitely a sense of community. You tend to see a lot of people from your kitchen window and wave to them. Just the other day, I met a lady walking her dog and she stopped for a chat.

In the summer this place will thrive; you don’t necessarily have to invite people into your home, you can sit outside and have a glass of something.

Being in quite close quarters makes for an interesting test of how you manage your social boundaries. We noticed that everyone put up blinds quite quickly; some people want their privacy, which I guess is expected in any community.

Are there any other social exchanges going on?

There’s a Facebook group that everyone uses and from that, people have started a book club and a craft club which is really nice.

It also gets used for selling stuff; someone had a load of wine left over from a wedding that they were selling at £3 a bottle – that kept us stocked for a while!

Image of a young couple enjoying the sun outside their house in mixed-use development Paintworks

Does Paintworks attract certain people?

All sorts. We’ve noticed a lot of people tend to work in education or in banks. We work in crafts and academia respectively, and of course we have a little girl to look after as well. There’s a good little mums group around here and there are quite a few social aspects to that.

People get really organised when there are meetings and certain people will take the lead when there is a problem. It makes it really helpful for organising finances and knowing our rights as lease holders.

How does living here make you feel?

It’s like living in the countryside. It’s totally different from the busy road we used to live on, yet the same distance from the centre as before.

There are parks both sides too so we’re trying to organise with a few residents to get them cleared up a bit more so our kids can use them.

And finally, what do you like most about living here?

We really saw the chance to establish a community here.

We spent a bit of time living in Amsterdam and this is like a housing development you would find in the Netherlands, structured around maximising opportunities for people to interact with one another. Holland is very communal – people sit outside their houses and chat with their neighbours.

Paintworks is built for that kind of lifestyle and it’s great.