In 2012, professor and poet Keri Glastonbury moved into what was once Chinchen street's "corner shop", though it's not on the corner.
The notable Islington terrace was built in 1880, and shopkeepers sold lollies and newspapers here for about 100 years.
The location has hosted many interesting people, and now Glastonbury and partner Eila Vinwynn are on the books.
Glastonbury bought the place because she liked the idea of having a shopfront.
It was very different to her previous homes, which included a tiny miner's cottage in Tighes Hill and various small Art Deco flats in Sydney.
"To me, this was like a scale I had never imagined. I never imagined owning a house with a double staircase," Glastonbury says.
"To me, this was like a MasterChef kitchen.
"When I got here it was very pristine; it was renovated with white walls everywhere.
"I felt like I was living in a hotel, because it was very modern. Since I've been here, I've grunged it up."
With the help of some of her neighbours, she worked on the house to make it better suit her style. She took the plaster off many of the walls, revealing bricks.
"My 'tradie' next-door neighbour Emma did the brick circle out the front of the house (some guerrilla paving)," Glastonbury says.
When you enter, the three-bedroom, one-bathroom terrace is immediately intriguing, with its timber floors, a double bass, Newcastle memorabilia and heaps of art. The home's newest member is Vinwynn, a painter herself. She moved in about 18 months ago.
They joke that the house summons queer women. Glastonbury bought the house from a lesbian couple, and another lesbian couple owned it before that.
"It was amazing; this beautiful poet's house. Quietly stylish. I thought it was gorgeous," Vinwynn says.
Before that, for six months, she was living in her friends' abandoned café in the Hawkesbury River. Prior to that Vinwynn lived all over the country, though she grew up in Bathurst. She is finishing her master of fine arts; her studio is at Newcastle ArtSpace, just up the street. Three of her artworks hang in the house, including the unmissable pink abstract piece in the dining room (or shopfront). It's called West Head.
"We can sit here and have breakfast and the painting changes with the light," Glastonbury says.
In the lounge room is El Rio (which she painted after spending time in Blanca, Spain, by the Segura River). In the bedroom is the painting called Totally Forgettable.
The home's location often prompts comments.
"Everyone from Newcastle goes 'ahhh Chinchen Street'," Vinwynn says.
The street once had quite the reputation, notorious for bikie gangs, drug dealers and sex workers. But since then, the area has changed and gentrified. LGBTQ health organisation ACON was involved with supporting sex workers and reducing their numbers on the street.
But the couple agree that, despite the street's transformation, it has maintained some of its grittiness with its industry and coal trains.
"There's still a bit of recklessness," Glastonbury says.
"There's a grime here you can never get rid of," Vinwynn says.
You can't miss the original "All To Newcastle" railway sign above the door to the lounge room. The home has other Newcastle references as well, including work from artists such as Peter Lankas, Sally McDonald, Matthew Tome and Jane Lander.
"I wrote a book called Newcastle Sonnets, and in a way this is the physical manifestation," Glastonbury says of her home and lifestyle.
Newcastle art royalty Gael Davies once lived here.
They know because Davies told them one day when she stopped and had a chat and a look around.
The two know most of their neighbours. Their courtyard isn't huge, so their greyhound, Tilly, gets frequent walks down the street to Vinwynn's studio.
They love the suburb. They love the retro mart on the corner, Planet Islington and Suspension coffee shop, where Glastonbury often meets with her students.
Due to the pandemic and other unexpected life events, the two have spent a lot of the past few months hanging out together at home, but they can't complain.
The painter and the poet are more a part of the place than ever before. They are a part of the shopfront's history, and the shopfront is a part of theirs.