Pegs Adams, her partner Luke Gale and her cat Takk (pronounced Tuck) moved into their one-bedroom brick apartment in Cooks Hill just before Christmas last year.
“We are very glad to have a place just for us. Before this, we were in share houses with other people, and Takk doesn’t get along with other people,” she says.
“She lives indoors for two reasons: she’s beautiful and she’s stupid. She fell off my balcony at my old place.”
Pegs was born in Canberra, but she moved to Newcastle when she was two. She’s lived in a few places in Newcastle before this.
For four years she lived in an 1861 five-bedroom eight-fireplace mansion in the East End with up to 20 other 20-somethings.
“I can’t believe they gave us that place,” she says. “We wore glasses and high-waisted skirts during our inspection, so they thought we were in our 30s.”
The lowlight of her sharehouse living was when she and a dear friend accidentally burnt down a rental property.
She and Luke found their current location through friends. She realised she already knew landlord who owned the shop below.
“I walked in and I saw the amount of windows and high ceilings and the amount of light going on; it looked completely different to every other one-bedroom apartment I’d ever seen,” Pegs says.
She’s not certain of the home’s history, but she knows that before the current owner bought it, there was a gallery in the shop below and parents lived upstairs with their children behind a wall that’s no longer there.
Before her current landlords, only their bathroom had plumbing, so there wasn’t a functioning kitchen.
In the past, a balcony wrapped around the outside of the building.
Pegs describes the space as 1800s meets the 70s with a thin corrugated iron look.
The abundance of plants are immediately noticeable.
She has roughly 40 plants all over the place. From the window view out their bedroom there’s nothing but trees to add to the greenery.
“Without them I don’t feel like I’m at home,” she says of her plants. “I’m also quite pale and don’t spend a lot of time in outdoor areas just basking if you know what I mean. What I love about this place is that it’s up in the trees. Lots of people have furniture; I’m not into furniture; I’d rather have plants.”
Pegs works casually for a plant store in town called High Swan Dive. Working here has improved her green thumb. She recommends aspiring plant-owners to fill their house with plants rather than trying to remember to take care of a few.
“I found when I used to have two plants at opposite ends of the house they would die every six months; now that I have 40 in one room, I don’t seem to forget about any of them,” she says.
A cutting of heart leaf philodendron came from her dad’s plant. He died when Pegs was little, and her mum has kept it alive Pegs’ entire life.
In with the plants and on the wall is an original painting by James Drinkwater. It’s one of her most prized possessions.
“I bought it at an exhibition of his, and I had the exact right savings in my account. I’ve never regretted it. I would never part with it, ever. As soon as I saw it, it made me want to try harder, but at the things that I can do,” she says.
Pegs is an illustrator and plays piano and keyboard. She’s been playing with local band The Firekites for over eight years, and she practices her electric piano in her apartment every day. She sits on the speakers to play.
“See you don’t need furniture,” she says.
Her partner, Luke is self-employed; his business is installing garage doors.
“It’s like Meccano for adults. He’s a mechanical engineer with a passion for technology,” Pegs says.
The zoo animal curtains on all the windows add a childlike element to the place.
“I went to spotlight and it was the only material I could possibly stomach. I took what they had left to the counter, they had 7.2 metres I wanted 10. The woman was like ‘redecorating the nursery are we?” I was like, ‘sure’,” Pegs says.
In their bedroom Luke has a projector where the two watch movies and also Slow TV.
“I do meditation looking at slow-moving trains every day,” Pegs says.
Early next year the owners plan on doing extensive renovations on the space, so the trio will have to leave their lofty abode.
Takk is about to turn four, and Luke and Pegs are planning a big party for her before they move out. The two are sad to be leaving their leafy block and the neighborhood. From the locals to the coffee shops, even to the nearby fire station and the “comforting noises” that come with it, the place is pretty much perfect for Pegs and her crew.