John Lewis advertising of 2014 and at home (Photo: Mike Horton)
When the owners of this spacious Victorian mansion in Kingston-on-Tamsa in southwest London discovered 40 years ago, they knew they had found the perfect family home.
The old house was tired and had to be rebuilt and altered, but it has retained all its original features.
All the fireplaces in the house still work – a particularly glorious aspect of their annual Christmas celebration – and over the years a couple with three children have enriched the history of the house, which they describe as a house that has lived a lot.
No wonder even Monty, the star of the computer-generated penguins in John Lewis’ 2014 Christmas ad, was stunned when he visited a 6-room, 3,582-square-foot site to shoot the ad.
Kitchen (Photo: Mike Horton)
Of course, the animatronic creature was used by children to make commercials before the animated version was added later – but keep it to yourself.
I have seven grandchildren, two of whom lived nearby, so they came during the shooting, said the owner, who doesn’t want his name mentioned. At first they thought I had real penguins in my house. I said I finally told them the truth.
The shooting lasted two weeks and the family loved every minute of it.
They’ve emptied the living room and painted as deep green as John Lewis, she says. They filled it with John Lewis’ furniture. The one who later painted over it in our colour range (genital-cream) was a real artist.
While working with us, he received a phone call that he had been commissioned to design all the effects for the film Martianin.
Previously used as a Montessori nurseryRanee used as a Montessori nursery (Photo: Mike Horton)
The fantastic farm-style kitchen was also used for the Junior Bake Off TV spot. Some of the family items have become accessories.
For the owners – who have been running the Montessori kennel here for 25 years – leaving the house, which took four decades, will be torture, but she and her dog, the governor, are downsizing and hoping to move to the nearby town of Richmond.
Salon (Photo: Mike Horton)
It’s easy to understand why they loved this house so much. It is a lovely warm family home with a lovely fenced garden on perhaps the best road in Kingston-on-Tamsa – Albany Park Road, tree-lined, less than a minute’s drive from the river and set in a nature reserve. No wonder Monty felt at home.
Behind the traditional red brick facade are high ceilings and generous windows.
Garden (Photo: Mike Horton)
The living room and lounge on the ground floor enter through spacious patio doors into the wide hallway. The house was built for entertainment: It’s just great for a party, says one of the owners.
Under the central staircase there is a door leading to the basement of three rooms. At the top of the first floor a large staircase leads to five large bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the rooms has an external staircase leading directly to the garden.
However, the star is located on the top floor, where an architect’s gallery on the second floor would be an ideal place for a yoga or Pilates studio, a gym or a grandmother’s apartment.
More info: Great Britain
It was the greatest joy to raise our family in this beautiful house. I hope another family will settle down and love it as much as we do, said the owner.
It’s a beautiful house. Really? One wonders why Penguin Monty left in the first place.
A six bedroom house in Kingston-on-Tamsa sells for £2.7 million in the Hamptons.
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