Living the high life

It’s that precious commodity we all wish we had more of: time. Oh, the things we could do, we say, if only we had more time. That fantasy is about to become a reality for Wayne Kavanagh and Ann Leonard who will gain back the equivalent of two full work days a week.


How? They are trading in their three-hour round-trip daily commute for city living. The couple are currently living in a four-bedroom home in Cranbourne East and working full-time in the city. “We find travelling to work rather tiresome because of the length of time – it’s several hours a day we lose,” says Ann, a public servant.

With all that time in the car each day to think about what they wanted, they initially discussed buying a holiday house. However, the appeal of the city atmosphere they both enjoy so much was too strong a lure.  “We’re in our 50s, we’re looking to set ourselves up for the future and not have to do too much and live comfortably,” says Wayne, who works for a private company in IT. “It went from there,” says Ann. “So we gave up the idea of a holiday house in preference for a permanent lifestyle change.”

Finding the right apartment was a little daunting. “We were looking at a couple of places every week for a couple months and then when we found this [Flagstaff Green], fell in love with it and stopped looking. We didn’t need to look anywhere else,” says Ann.

The couple snapped up a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on the sixteenth floor of Spec Property’s Flagstaff Green development. With adult children – Wayne has three and Ann has two and between them they have a three-month-old grandchild and another on the way – apartment size and car parking were important considerations. They wanted to accommodate visiting family.

“There’s 100sqm of living space, where some of the apartments in other places were only 70 and 80 and they actually wanted more money for them,” says Wayne.

Having looked at many options in larger complexes, Ann was seeing “very plasticky, very genericky, very cold” interiors, with identical kitchens and bathrooms that held little appeal. She liked the warm feel and the obvious quality at Flagstaff Green. “The finishes of the apartment are far better than the others,” she says.

The building’s location was the real game changer – opposite the Flagstaff Gardens on the fringe of the CBD. “It’s in the free tram zone, so we can get within two stops of work without having to fork out for anything,” says Wayne. But the greater saving is time, being able to get to work within a matter of minutes, as opposed to hours.

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Wayne Kavanagh and Ann Leonard.

What are they going to do with all their newfound time? “We’re close to all the amenities we like. Myself, I like sports and it’s easy to get there,” says Wayne, who is also looking forward to using the building’s pool, spa and gym. They’ll also be sampling more restaurants and going to live shows – Ann’s looking forward to being able to get there on foot.

“Everything is now a stone’s throw away. In Cranbourne, we have no choice; you need to get in the car to go anywhere. Here you don’t have to, you just go for a walk,” she says.

When they’re not dining out, Ann will be indulging her love of cooking and making the most of Queen Victoria Market, which is only one block from Flagstaff Green.

“A good selling point for me was the apartment actually has a full-size kitchen, because quite often apartments just have a bench on a wall really. This actually has a four-metre-long kitchen which is equivalent to what we currently have now,” she says. “I want enough space to be able to put a bowl on a bench and some of the places we looked at, you couldn’t even do that,” she says.

“She’s an excellent cook, so if she can put the bowl on the bench, I benefit!” says Wayne.

There’s also a teppanyaki grill in the building that’s going to get a workout. It is one of the amenities for residents on levels 15-20, along with private rooftop garden and dining area – another selling point for the couple.

“Having access to those two gardens actually made us consider going higher up the complex,” says Ann. While they have a balcony, it provides yet another option for outdoor living. “It gives us that room where we can stretch out if we want to without having to go over to a park or leave the complex if we don’t want to,” she says.

They also appreciate the fact they’re going to have ample green space nearby, in Flagstaff Gardens, as well as on-site and not have to lift a finger gardening. It will give them back even more time each week to relax. “I’m looking forward to being able to sit back and watch the sun go down and watch the lights come on in the city,” says Wayne.

The new address is closer to their parents. “It frees us up to see our family,” says Ann. “Like everyone else you get so busy you don’t spend enough time with your family and now we’ll have that time.”

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Author: Joanne Brookfield

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