Michael Blewitt: one of our own

"People tend to buy these houses because they’re friendly, liberal and open-minded."

29th May 2018

Michael is one of our own architects. He lives at Paintworks with his sister. After years of renting, Paintworks offered them the opportunity to finally get their feet on the property ladder.

Image of Paintworks resident and Stride Treglown architect, Michael Blewitt

Michael, what attracted you to Paintworks?

It was the perfect balance between being in and out of the city. We’re still close enough to the centre to walk in, but we’re secluded enough to give you that sense of escape.

There’s also a great community here and there have been some great events. We had a Christmas party which was linked to the old development, so that diluted the potential ‘them’ and ‘us’ atmosphere.

As the site has grown, the community aspect has benefited. There are benches all down the streets and I’ve seen kids playing and a young family sat out there, so there’s the opportunity to meet people that way. Street furniture is a great way for people to interact.

With it being pedestrianised, no one is just walking to their drive, getting in a car and driving away.

How does it feel now you live here?

On initial impression, the living quarters are quite close, but once I moved it didn’t feel invasive at all. Sometimes I will chat with people from their windowsill, so it’s actually quite nice to have that opportunity to interact.

We don’t tend to get noisy and disruptive residents because people have bought properties with the intention of building a life here; everyone’s pretty respectful.

Is Paintworks a unique project for Bristol?

For Bristol, yes.

When I was at University I did a lot of regeneration projects all over Europe, and I came across a community in Rotterdam that almost felt open gated. It’s built to facilitate community and I haven’t seen this pedestrianised, podium deck design anywhere else in Bristol. It’s something that attracted me straight away.

All the parking is hidden away, which keeps the site, and especially the plaza, quite tranquil. It’s what you want when you’re looking to settle down in a home.

paintworks bristol

Have you noticed anyone wanting to contain their privacy?

Not on my row. There’s not a feeling that you need to be private here. People tend to buy these houses because they’re friendly, liberal and open-minded.

So there’s a more fluid transition between public and private spaces here?

Yes, I’d say so. There is a sense of private ownership with the flower bed area; we all have one outside our front door. We can personalise that and really make our homes feel our own.

There’s talks around putting our chairs out in the street in the summer, as a kind of extension of our homes. So yeah, everyone really takes it upon themselves to look after the public spaces here.

Do you think there is anything special about Paintworks?

The lack of transience. Everyone moving here wants to settle down and develop a community. I’m really against buying to rent now I’m older.