Having moved in to their new homes in 2016, the benefits have been enormous for residents. ‘We now feel like we are part of the community, not separate – we’re among everyone else, and know a couple of our neighbours,’ said Leighton as Ken wandered around the garden collecting stray braches for the green bin.
We were outside to see the compost bin the gentlemen had purchased from Bunnings and assembled with Ricky. Bunnings is a favourite outing and, like many men, they like to wander around the aisles. The real attraction, however, is purchasing ‘anything that improves our home’, explains Leighton.
‘Seeing as we are living in a new home, we want to look after it; we want to maintain it ourselves,’ he continues, the pride evident in both storytelling and demeanour as we wander from the garden and back in to the house.
As the gentlemen start the bolognaise for dinner, Leighton explains his latest project with Ken, Gregory and Ricky. With a little help from Cara too, they have Konmaried the kitchen drawers. Not content to merely maintain their home, they are actively problem-solving ways to improve it and their environment. Leighton explains, ‘everything in the drawers was cluttered – when we were cooking, we couldn’t find the right utensils.’
So, on the Australia Day long weekend, the four gentlemen set out for Bunnings again to purchase varnish for the timber Ricky had cut to size. Once assembled, Leighton, Ken and Gregory took the frames outside to give them the lick of paint that would bring them up to a shine and bring out the natural warmth of the timber.
The result is nothing short of stunning: four drawers in the kitchen now have bespoke wooden dividers to keep everything in its place. ‘It’s easier to see what’s in there now; we know where everything belongs,’ said Leighton proudly.
They don’t plan on stopping there, either. They have their eye on the drawers in Orion too, and are keen to build a raised wooden vegetable patch in their garden.
‘Being able to learn how to make things and improve our home and not wait for the maintenance guys; that was the good part,’ said Leighton.
Then thoughtfully, he adds, eyes slightly down: ‘Not depending on anyone else, doing it yourself; that was the best part,’ he says, as he raises his head and beams a smile that says it all.