I have always been surrounded by the love of art, decoration, and living ideas. My mum is a decorator by heart and all her life was interested in discovering and admiring new trends. She would spend hours in an Art Gallery browsing around for the next piece of art that she would buy for the house. She was constantly refurbishing our family home. It was amazing to see how she could transform a room. I always admired her skills and great taste. I’m not sure I have inherited her skills but I do certainly love a good stylish home. Therefore I was extremely excited when AO.com invited me to see some of the amazing and stylish houses in South West London that have been featured in LivingEtc magazine.
I have never been on this tour before, even though this year is the 5th annual Livingetc House Tour! I wasn’t sure what to expect from it all but I was really looking forward to getting inspired and enjoying viewing these houses. I have always been nosey so this is the perfect opportunity to go around and inspect everything, LOL!
It’s funny how you want to know more about the people who live in these houses after visiting their homes. You feel like you are hanging out with posh people for sure. It was a really cool experience. Anyway, I will give you some highlights of the day together with some recommendations, so you can make the most of it if you attend the tour next year, as I have to admit, I made a lot of mistakes!
I was lucky to be able to bring a plus one so I asked my lovely friend Nicky to come with me as it is always more enjoyable when you have someone with you to discuss everything that you are seeing.
HOW IT WORKS & RECOMMENDATIONS
We met at Clapham Junction and went straight to House No 2 as we were instructed in advance. We went from House No 2 to House No 7 and then finally we went to House No 1. These were 7 luxury homes and once inside each, we were able to walk around and feel inspired by so many great ideas.
We were sent a map in advance. I recommend you to properly study this map at home beforehand so you then have an idea of distances and timings. I didn’t do that and I was surprised by the amount of walking that we had to do. I was’t prepared for that at all – yes, silly me! I should’ve done my homework. I was wearing boots with small heels! Yes, you are readin right – heels! What was I thinking? Of course, that was the worst decision ever! Please, if you go next year, wear trainers or flat shoes. It will be a criminal thing to do to yourself to wear heels, LOL!
Anyway, back to the tour. The map highlighted the participating homes with a guide to finding the easiest way of travelling between them, plus detailed information about each of the properties which I thought was very good. The tour ran from 1o am to 4 pm and I promise that you will need all that time for sure. Just so you know, the tickets cost £35 per person.
We were told that because it is a self-tour, no transport is provided between the homes. Also, there is no wheelchair access and they are unable to provide mobility support at any of the homes. The age restrictions are 18 years old or over so no babies or children are allowed, so bear this in mind too.
HOUSE NO 2 – THE LANTERNS
Left Photo: from LivingEtc Magazine
This house was amazing – a dream come true! Wow, it felt like a set from a movie. I loved going around and checking every single room. It was really inspiring, although I’m not sure if I would have a house like this. Their art was really beautiful and I also liked their kitchen a lot.
The property was a former school building with tall windows and lofty ceilings. It was all about space and light. The ground floor has the living room and the kitchen linked to each other. The master bedroom has a mezzanine level with an extra bathroom and dressing area.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures here so I was only able to take the outside, although I have shared the photo that Livingetc featured in their magazine.
HOUSE No 3 – PLOUGH MEWS
This house was interesting although it was not one of my favourites. We were only allowed to take photos of the outside area which was actually very pretty. Hidden away behind mews doors, this former stables is now a home. It has been converted into a two-storey, L-shaped apartment that wraps around a beautiful garden. The garden for me was the highlight of the house.
The decor is exotic and adventurous. The owner of this house is a fabric and accessories designer, who originally lived in just one part of the mews but after her family grew, took over the flat next door. This house will be featured in the next edition of Livingetc Magazine.
HOUSE No 4 – HEATHFIELD ROAD
Right Photo: from LivingEtc Magazine
This house was featured in the LivingEtc October 2013 edition. This Edwardian townhouse was bold and brave with a dash of humour. It is full of vintage and mid-century finds. The owner, an interior designer, has transformed it into a family home in a cool and colourful way. The lower-ground floor is a teenage hang-out area, while the bedrooms feel more escapist and romantic.
It was one of my favourites homes because it brought a smile to my face. It was very much a colourful and happy home. It really had this nice, positive energy all around it. It also brought me back home in a way, because my mum loves colours and she has never been shy about choosing them around our family home so this house had a similar impact to me.
I also felt, however, that it was all made up for a showroom. Everything was matching too perfectly in my opinion whichin some moments took away the fact that this was a real home with real people living there. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, LOL!
Apart from this I really enjoyed visiting this house. They also had an old style radio in various different colours in pretty much all of the rooms. I thought that was a cool feature!
HOUSE No 5 – LOXLEY ROAD
Photo from LivingEtc Magazine
This house was featured in the LivingEtc August 2011 edition. This is also an Edwardian house with a retro style. It has a lot of bronze and silver combinations. I’m not sure if I like this combination but I must admit, they did a great job in this house. The back of the building was extended to create an open-plan space for cooking and socialising, They also had a more formal dining room and a living room at the front.
I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the house so I don’t have much to show you and also I was so tired that I couldn’t concentrate too much at this point as my feet were really killing me, LOL! From this house to the next house I had to walk with shoe protectors over my socks. This was a great suggestion by Nicky and it helped me to survive and arrive at the next house.
HOUSE No 6 – BURNTWOOD CLOSE
This house will be featured in the December edition of LivingEtc Magazine, so watch out for it! This house has a lot of life and colour. It has a lot of green all around. It was very welcoming home.
When we arrived at the house, they had a Zipwater Van outside and were offering us some drinks. This was the best idea ever as we were so thirsty and tired at rthis point. This is another tip that I would like to add. Bring a packed lunch as you won’t have time to stop anywhere to eat and drink between visiting the houses. We didn’t do that and we were really desperate for food and drinks, so this drink was very welcome, LOL!
The house was a thirties house. They had a garden room with floor to ceiling thermo-glass which brought the tropical garden into the house. It was interesting to see all the different ideas that they had such us never-ending rolls of drawing paper next to the dining table for the kids.
There was a lot of inspiration that came in the form of contemporary art which was really interesting. I loved their kitchen. It had a lot of light and it was a place I would be happy to be. I enjoyed visiting the house. It was also great that we were able to take photos, so I took lots as you can see, LOL!
HOUSE No 7 – Honeywell Road
This house was featured in the LivingEtc November 2011 edition. I wasn’t very impressed with it. I’m not sure why. It was a beautiful house, don’t get me wrong but for some reason, it didn’t appeal to me.
We were not able to take photos here, just a few details. I therefore only captured a few areas in this house. We were almost at the end of the tour. We had taken a bus from house 6 to 7 and now we needed to walk towards House No1 which was our last house to visit. I put together all my energy in order to get to the final house.
HOUSE No 1 – Wakehurst Road
This house will be featured in the November edition of LivingEtc Magazine. They have a large family room with a kitchen diner and a separate living room at the front, accessed via impressive glazed doors.
The master bedroom has a massive open view glass where you can have a nice view outside and it has lots of light. I thought that was interesting. They have a cute room for a little girl. I was thinking of my girls when I was there. I really felt that I wanted to know more about the owners in this house. I had the same feeling I had with House No 2.
This was an amazing opportunity for me. I have never done something like this before and I loved the idea. It is a great way to grab some ideas for your own home and of course to get inspired. The only thing is that it made me think at the end: “Right, why am I not having a house like this? Will I ever have a house like this? I’m almost 40 now. Will that ever happen to us?”. I know it sounds silly, but I had all those thoughts in my head after doing the tour. I guess it is okay to dream about it, but it certainly left me with a feeling of wanting something better for us. Let’s see if we can move to a house like this one day! I will let you guys know, LOL!
I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to AO.com for kindly invited me and Nicky on this fantastic tour. We loved the experience and I will definitely do it again next year but of course, next year, I will be more prepared. If you would like to see more photos from this day you can use the hashtag #LivingEtcHouseTours on Instagram or maybe why not book a ticket for next year’s tour! 😉
Have you been to any of these house tours before? What do you think of this year’s tour? Which house do you like the most? Would you like to go next year? Please leave a comment below as I would love to read what you think.
*Disclaimer: I received 2 VIP tickets to go to LivingEtc House Tours 2016 in exchange for a review on my blog. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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