Thirty-something bachelor Paul Davies has a thing for sheds. He bought his latest abode in Broadmeadow in 2016. Fortunately, it came with a house.
He lives here with Cookie, his 12-year-old rescue staffy. Previously he lived in a different warehouse in Broadmeadow.
His current house, which was probably built in the early 1900s, has two bedrooms. But Davies prefers to talk about his shed. That's where he gets creative for work and play. His dad had a shed and Davies remembers watching him fix his bike and pumping up his soccer ball. That's where Davies first became interested in cars.
"I guess, when you're growing up, sheds are where the magic happens," Davies says.
"You set shit on fire; you build stuff, you destroy. When you're inside, you're not allowed to do that."
Enter Davies' back garden and there's everything from lemon trees to a green 1969 Holden Kingswood on blocks. Artist George Hambov, also known as @Apeseven, painted a sweeping mural of a hare and a fox on the side wall. Davies speculates it might be inspired by a classic Greek fable warning of the dangers of curiosity.
Before Davies moved in, the shed was a concrete company and the business rented out the house separately. Davies bought it as one unit. He had big plans.
The shed itself has a seven-metre high ceiling with a spare bedroom and office. The workshop area houses his three rides. He has a purple 1962 EK Holden that he rebuilt with his dad, but he says it was his dad who did most of the work.
"Originally the plan was to have it on the road for my 21st, but I ended up being 27. I was going to uni and TAFE, and it just takes so long. It's a retired man's hobby. You just need days to dedicate to it, that's why lockdown was great," Davies says.
I'm not a die-hard Holden guy, it's just old cars in general.
During lockdown he spent a lot of time on the Kingswood in the garden.
The white 1995 VS Holden ute is the workhorse.
"I'm not a die-hard Holden guy, it's just old cars in general. Once you have one it's kind of easy to stay with the same family, the same breed," he says.
His flash Japanese track bike tends to be the wheels he rides to work. Davies owns cocktail bar MoneyPenny on Honeysuckle, and he's spent time in the shed working on pieces for the venue, including the mosaic and coaster-tiled tables as well as penny tables.
Every morning he heads to his shed.
"It's kind of where you start your day. You walk out and stand there, you walk out and say 'what are we doing today?' You get home at night and you might leave something on the bench. First thing in the morning you go out and start from there," he says.
He's tried his hand at many things, from welding to woodwork to building a meat smoker for friends. He didn't have a garden in his old place, so he's enjoying making a mess outside, gardening and sitting in the sun.
Another project in the garden is a massive chest freezer cold-plunge that he built. He takes a quick dip in it a few times a week to clear his head.
"There's a bit of science on it. You feel great for the rest of the day. It's torture; I don't look forward to it. It's kinda like going to the gym," he says.
He likes the location, it's not quite the suburbs, which never appealed to him. The space was originally across from an airport, District Park Aerodrome, which opened in the late 1920s and closed in the 1960s.
He gets along well with his neighbours and jokes that they have more fun and party more than he does when their grandkids visit. He enjoys getting coffee from Darks at the Stadium right up the road.
His latest project in the shed is getting rid of old projects.
"I don't want to be one of those guys who has 1000 projects and get none of them done," he says. "It's much more fun driving cars than working on cars, so you don't want to be working on cars forever."