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New Zealand Institute of Architects









My dream home

The runner-up in our Tamariki category, this story by Penelope Petersen-McNeil is an interesting insight into apartment living, contrasted with the writer's hopes for her future home.

My name is Penelope, and I live in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa. In an apartment, right in the centre of the city. I live with my Dad, Greg, and we both have a good life. I enjoy living in the apartment, but I do want a proper house of our own.

In the apartment, we have an amazing view of the city! The apartment is nice and warm, and we have a nice shared space down below where I can play. The lighting is great and it’s very easy to see around. Even though it’s small, and the format is quite simple, it has everything that we need. Here in the apartment, it’s easy to go to sleep. In the summer, when it is warm and we leave the windows open I love to go to sleep while listing to the sounds of the city.

Our apartment looks onto another building that is pretty much identical to ours. Although it is pretty grey and uninteresting, I find it fascinating to see all the different people who live the apartments. All their different furniture, some people living on their own, some with lots of people, some with pets, some with lots of plants and some of them are completely empty!

It’s very useful that we’re in the city centre, because it means we don’t need a car to get around. Me and my Dad don’t have a car… we’ve got a bike, more specifically, a cargo bike. My school is close by and it is easy to get there, so we usually arrive on time. The supermarket is close, so the trip isn’t to long. It’s easy to go for a walk around the different parks.

As much as I love the apartment, it would spectacular to live in a proper house, with a garden, and a lot of space. Living in a house, our own house, would also be great because we would have a lot more space, I could paint the walls in my room and I might be allowed to get a pet! Having a pet would be amazing! Especially a parrot, that would be awesome.

My dream house would definitely have beautiful architecture. With swerving poles, and spectacular carvings. It would also be a modern type of house, and it would definitely have a big garden, with flowers and trees and all sorts of plants. There would be space for a horse, with a paddock and a small stable out the back. Inside, the house would have enough rooms for both me and Dad. Our bedrooms would both be great, and perfect for us. My walls would be bright and painted, while Dad’s walls might just be left alone. We would have a big kitchen, and an amazing living room! Inside, we would have a spiral staircase up to second floor. In my room, I would have a bird cage with a Galah parrot as a pet too!

I think, I would feel happy, and warm. The house would be very beautiful and I would feel welcome, like a perfect home. The house would have a lot of fun things so I would have a lot of fun inside and out. I would feel calm and joyous around my horse and parrot, and life would definitely be great. Now, the house would absolutely feel like home, mostly because it would be welcoming and warm, making it feel comfortable. It would also feel like home because the walls of my room would be painted, just how I like it!

Living in the apartment is quite nice, but there isn’t really an actual community. So I don’t really get any good chances to make friends. Because whenever I do make friends, they usually don’t stay for long. I think that if I had my own house, I would have an actual community! Then I would be able to make lots of friends, I could hang out with them after school!

Having a community would also be great because I could finally be able to have a cupcake stall out the front! I would have lots of space to draw on my driveway and if we had a garden, I would play with my new friends, and would have heaps of fun! As well as having lots of friends and space, there would also be lots of people to meet, like other grownups. Maybe I could join some sort of local girl scouts? That would be cool.

Having my own house and neighbourhood would be wonderful and that is definitely my dream future.


Photo: Tamariki category runner-up, Penelope Petersen-McNeil at home in Tāmaki Makaurau.