After a quarter of a century in their sandstone cottage at 19 Little West Street, Christine King and her husband Arnold Frolows have sold the property.
Christine is a recently retired casting director who ran Christine King Casting and worked on countless blockbusters such as The Dressmaker, Star Wars and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Arnold is a former music director at Triple J and ABC JAZZ, and they are ready to embrace the next stage of their lives. Although they are excited about the future, saying goodbye to this unique house is bittersweet.
Recently, Christine and I had a chat about their life on Little West Street.
How long have you been living in the house?
We were in the house at 19 Little West Street for 25 years.
Why are you leaving?
It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous house but we just feel like it’s time for a change. We’ve had a great time living here. We travel a lot and we want to be nomadic for a little while and spend a few months overseas.
Eventually, we’ll come back to the area because we love everything about it – from the parks to the community.
19 Little West Street is quite special isn’t it?
The house was built around 1860. It was renovated by the owner we purchased the property from, renowned sculptor Phyllis Koshland. She added a top floor and extended the back but kept the original structure in place. All of the tiles in the kitchen are handmade and it was quite an artistic renovation. We haven’t changed much.
What do you love about living here?
It feels quite special because it’s a little oasis. After walking past Victoria Street and down busy Liverpool Street where all of the action is, you come through this small lane and it’s surprisingly quiet.
For the area, the garden of the house itself is quite big. So we have this lovely outdoor space with a little fishpond and we spend a lot of time in summer sitting out there. We also have a deck on the top floor which is really bright and sunny, and warm – even in winter.
The trees are beautiful. We’ve watched them grow in the last 25 years and remember when they were fence height when we moved in. Now they tower up to the third level.
Do you have a favourite part?
Aesthetically, we love the way the house looks and we especially love the sandstone, and appreciate just how old it is, and just how much it’s a part of Sydney’s history. It’s beautiful but it’s also an incredible building material. If it’s a really hot summer day, you just walk through the front door and the temperature is ten degrees cooler and in the winter time it holds the heat. We never tire of looking at it.
There’s an amazing sandstone beam that sits across the top of the lounge and the kitchen entrance. It’s a great big beam which was installed by the former owner and I know it would have been hard to source.
There are other parts of the older, original sandstone where you can see the seashells, which is just incredible.
And I love that it’s a bright house. There’s lots of natural light coming through the windows and skylights. It’s not dark like a lot of terraces because it’s freestanding and has windows on the side.
What can I say? It’s a house full of favourite parts.
Aside from the trees growing how else has the area changed in the last 25 years?
The area has changed a lot. I remember when we first moved here it very much belonged to the working girls in Darlinghurst. I can remember – we used to laugh about it – when at night, cars would drive down the lane and stop briefly outside. We could hear everything that went on.
That’s all gone now. It’s very gentrified and is quite a gentle neighbourhood these days. There’s a primary school around the corner and as we go for our morning walk in Rushcutters Bay we can see the kiddies as they go off to school. But the café scene remains as vibrant as ever, and we like that energy too.
Our lane is a real community. Every single person knows everyone else and we all look out for each other. When we go away one neighbour will collect our mail another will water the garden. We lend our car to a family when they need it. We have often had street events. It’s very friendly, we will really miss it.
19 Little West Street SOLD before auction.