Resident Stories

At home with Kim and Tom from 9 Smith Street

Kim and Tom are place makers. Co-directors of Melbourne architecture studio We Are Humble, the pair bring a unique perspective to their personal definition of home which for them is in Neometro’s mixed-use development 9 Smith Street, Fitzroy.

Tom purchased an apartment at 9 Smith Street off the plan back in 2014 when he and Kim were dating. “We weren’t at the buying together stage,” he says, but that worked perfectly for the couple who, soon after finding their conceptual bricks and mortar slice of the world, went overseas for a few years. “It was good to have the commitment to an apartment and be in the market but not all the rigmarole of settling into a home” recalls Tom.

As architects, Kim and Tom value spatial qualities and design details, as humans they value location. Having spent time living in NYC ensconced above a sports bar on a very busy street, they discovered that a clincher for them was having everything at arms length. “We like living in a busy area. We like being able to go downstairs and have things there but it’s also nice to have privacy.” The south end of Smith Street fit perfectly with the social and cultural ambiance of Fitzroy balanced by the relative quietude of this particular location, all with the city centre and the green expanses of East Melbourne within walking distance. After deciding that an apartment would be a better investment of their budget, and researching other developments in the area, Kim and Tom were ultimately captivated by the extensive and well-considered outdoor terraces which maximise the living space of the first floor apartments at 9 Smith Street. After viewing the display suite before committing, Tom requested extra details around how the openings would look and operate and was impressed with the level of consideration they were afforded. “The double sliding doors rather than one mean the living room really does open up,” he says. “The front facade is defined by the cut out balconies,” acknowledges Kim, “and inhabiting them is really nice. You can be out there on the street without giving up privacy.”

The couple have become adept at living in a smaller space with access to a large and diverse offering of community amenity literally on their doorstep. A perfect example of modern high density living is their dining table which, rather than simply a piece of furniture designated to meals, has come to serve as a space in itself. In fact, when you think of it in square meterage, a dining table’s surface value is immense, especially within the context of high density living. During COVID-19 lockdowns, Kim and Tom have relegated one end of the table to home-office duties while continuing to share meals at the other end. Having this sense of purpose brings order and ritual, essential elements to a home and an integral facet of adapting space and being fluid to the needs of inhabitants at any given time.

Today, beneath a signature concrete ceiling and track lighting – an aesthetic that has come to form the visual identity of Neometro properties and the cornerstone of their ‘wear in, not out’ philosophy – a collection of baseball caps adorns the living room wall in lieu of artwork while an abundance of indoor plants and open shelving busting with a kaleidoscope of textiles is a concession to the otherwise unadorned material language of the apartment. Wholeheartedly redefining liveability in a way that is so free of influence and so intrinsically bound to the personalities that cohabit this space feels liberating. After all, high density living is entirely driven by a mediation between communal ideals and personal spirit.

9 Smith Street, Fitzroy by Neometro, photography by Derek Swalwell and words by Tiffany Jade.