studio space with a dog and moving out on his own
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Marrickville
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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Luke. I'm a hairdresser and I work in Newtown. I've lived in the west for around eight years now. I grew up in a small beach town called Kiama. It's four hours out of Sydney on the train. I moved to the city by myself when I was 15. I would classify myself as a local now.
I live here with my dog Kubo.   He’s a Shiba. He's a very calm, introverted dog. I love him.

How did you hear about Nightingale Marrickville?

It's quite a funny story. I went to another inspection for another place in Newtown. I was talking with a client the next day and we were commiserating on how awful the market is and how tough it is to find housing, especially with me having Kubo.

She asked me how much I was earning and told me about Nightingale Marrickville and the salary cap. I had just got an eviction by non-renewal notice with only four weeks to find somewhere. So as you can imagine in Sydney, I was freaking out, especially having Kubo. I speak to a lot of people where I work and I've heard a lot of stories of people surrendering their pets just to get a place to live. For me, that just wasn't an option. She told me about this place and about the ballot. I thought, I'll just put my name in. I know I meet the requirements, what have I got to lose?  I was lucky enough to get one. Awesome.

How are you finding it?

I really love the space. The first day I was here, there was lovely afternoon sun coming in this big window and I thought, I love it here.

Even though yes, it is a studio, it's a small space, it feels so much more. I love that I can put my art up on the walls and I can decorate, finally. I've customised the pegboard shelves to be how I want them and even though it's a small space, it's so workable and it's mine. 

The acoustics have been great. I don’t hear anyone. I also love the floor and the sound of Kubo’s feet tapping on it.

I just got the couch on the weekend and when I first put it in, I was worried because it's so much bigger in this space than I thought. But it is actually perfect. It folds out to a sofa bed. I don’t expect many people to stay with me in a studio, but it’s great to have the option.

How do you get to work in Newtown?

Bus. We’re quite lucky the stop is right outside. The bus goes down the road for two seconds and I am there.  I am considering getting a bike though. With the big bike storage here, it makes sense. Sydney hills will make it a good workout without paying to go to the gym. I don’t have a car. I don’t want to while I live in Sydney. It’s so congested and awful. I much prefer living close to where I work. 

Have you used the community rooms much yet?

The first week I mostly stayed in my apartment because I was unpacking, but this week I've gone down there quite a lot, especially with Kubo, getting him used to other spaces.

I finished work quite late the other night. I took my dinner down to the shared dining room and played some video games with my friend. The space is lovely and it's made me rethink things like do I actually need a microwave or can I just go downstairs and use the shared one and save the space and money.

Have you met many of your neighbours yet?

Just in passing so far. Everyone loves meeting Kubo. I'm glad he's not the only dog. There are a couple of other cute ones that have moved in already. I am hoping they’ll all be friends. Kubo is totally cool with no backyard. He’s five years old and never had one. There’s a massive park downstairs. It’s awesome.

This is my first time living alone by myself. I've lived out of home since I was 15 and have always been share housing.  In the last two years, I've felt like I need my own space. It's time. 

I was worried Kubo might not be used to being alone a lot, but he's proven himself. No mischief.

Are you saving money by living here? 

I had a really great deal with where I was living. I was paying $300 a week for a room in a share house. When I decided it was time to live on my own, I was looking around and it was going to go up to a minimum $500 to $600 per week and I thought, I’m not going to be able to save for anything. All my saving plans were going to crumble. Living here, I get my own space but I'm still building towards my future. I'm not living paycheck to paycheck.

Favourite spots to go to in Marrickville?

I’m still discovering them even though technically, I lived in Marrickville before, but at the other end. So far, I’ve been doing lots Lox In A Box. Delicious bagels. Very delicious bagels! And Vesbar Espresso on the corner. 

Lazy Bones. I haven't been there since moving, but it’s a really great live music venue.

First published in
June 2024