My House Tour

Enid's House for JJ Locations

Something a little different this Monday as the house has been through some changes since you last saw it and I thought I would show you around some of the updates. I will be writing about the individual rooms in more details over the next couple of weeks so save up any questions you have for then.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

When we started renovating this house eight years I had hopes that it could be a location house – that it might earn back some of the money we had spent on it turning it back from two rental flats to a single family home. Over the years it has had the odd job mainly through contacts and people I know – PRs and stylists etc – but it has never had a formal job if you like.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

That has changed now as it has finally got its CV and a brand new set of pictures and is with JJ Media as, what else, Enid’s House. So here’s hoping it can earn its living. Or at least get itself a bit of pocket money to pay for the spare room that needs redecorating. And the front garden. And possibly the windows which need repainting. Neither of which are very sexy jobs but they need doing.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

One thing I want to point out if anyone is wondering if their property might be suitable is that you don’t need a big house to be a shoot location. JJ told me last week that they have a couple of council houses on their books as they often provide locations for tv and films. Recently they were asked to provide a two up two down cottage where the front door opened straight into the living room. I used to live in a house like that. They really struggled to find one. So don’t think that your house couldn’t work for its living.

They are asked – on average three times a week – for a real home. Not a posh, fancy uber-decorated massive mansion sort of place. But a real home. And with the average job starting at £750 it might be worth considering as a way to earn a little extra.

Their most famous location property is one you might be familiar with as it has featured on these pages before. It’s the home of Sommer Pyne, founder of House Curious, whose house was featured in the recent BBC series McMafia.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

That was a huge job, the likes of which don’t tend to come around very often and you need to be pretty sure you’re up for it if they do. Sommer, who was heavily pregnant at the time, had to move into a hotel with her husband and daughter for two weeks while filming took place.

Her house is Victorian, but the production company wanted it to look like a mews so they built fake walls and windows and completely changed the kitchen decor. It was so different that it took me several episodes to recognise it as Sommer’s house.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

And in case you were wondering why the crew didn’t just use a mews house? Film crews are big – there were about 50 people involved in McMafia – and mews houses tend to be small. Using a bigger house means you can fit everyone in and still have room to film.

At the end of shoot, the entire house was repainted and the floors in the bedroom re-sanded. So yes it’s good money but you need to be sure you’re up for it. A day long shoot with a photographer taking stills for a magazine is much easier as you can often still be at home as long as you’re not in the way.

JJ Locations have two types of membership. There is the standard format where the client approaches the agency and asks about availability based on the pictures they have seen on the site. JJ Locations negotiates, arranges it all and charges you 20 per cent of the fee in commission.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

Then there is their new Connect service, which I have joined.  Basically you pay JJ Locations a monthly fee (£7.50 or £75 for the year) and you manage the booking yourself. That means you pay no commission. So you could pay off the annual fee with one job and still be in profit. If you want them to take a full set of photographs for you (as I have done) that is £300, which again, you should cover with the first job.

JJ Locations say most houses have between one and five bookings a year. Obviously some will have many more than that. So we shall see what Enid’s House can do.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

If you are a standard member and take your own pictures, JJ will offer advice on how to make them better. And we come back to that old chestnut (from Paul Craig, whose own house features on the site) – get your horizontals flat and your verticals upright. Use the grid on your camera to make this work. Sometimes a wide angle will bend the walls to get everything in so you need to watch out for that.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

Another point to note is that there is a difference between an interiors shoot and a locations shoot. For the latter, clients need to know if there’s a cat flap in the wall (and JJ have had requests for that) or a smoke alarm on the ceiling – it’s up to them if they choose to edit it out afterwards.

But for an interiors shoot, you might remove unslightly downlighters and plug sockets as they can detract from the beauty of the finished shot. The aims are different and the photos need to reflect that. So, for my shoot the photographer used a wide angle lens to show as much of the room as possible.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

So in these pictures you will see that all those things are still there whereas the first time this bathroom was featured in a magazine there was no visible electric light at all. It had all been removed as it makes the ceiling look ugly and detracts from the rest of the shot.

Enid's House for JJ Locations

In addition to requests for sitting rooms with steps, council houses, cat flaps and loos that are separate from bathrooms, there are also all the standard requests for kitchen islands, concrete floors, wood panelling and all the things that make the houses featured on these pages so lovely and inspirational.

JJ very rarely turn a house down, even if it’s just one room so if you think your house has got what it takes then get in touch and see what they say. You never know…

Enid's House for JJ Locations

I hope you have found this useful and enjoyed wandering round my house. I will be writing about the kitchen and bedroom soon.


Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Love the pictures! house looking fabulous! my husband is obsessed with doing this – and reading your article he may be on to something! thanks for the info 🙂 x

  2. Your house is lovely, lovely, lovely. And of all the oddest spaces to covet? Your fabulously stylish hallway and stairs!

    My sister bought a wreck of a large house in Leeds, said purchase leaving her totally penniless. She was lucky enough to have it chosen as a location for an episode of an ITV school history series: the main house being the doctor’s, one of the delapidated one room terraced cottages round the back being the impoverished patient’s.
    My sister was 1920s crazy and was lucky enough to have quite a lot of say in how they decorated. She got to choose which William Morris wallpaper they used (height of 70s chic!) and make other colour decisions which left her with a décor she really liked but could never have afforded, and done to a much better standard than her own DIY skills would have ever allowed. Then she got the location fees on top and even an actor’s salary, as said patient was my nephew, making his screen début at 6 weeks old!

  3. Hi Kate, love what you have done! I noticed that your ‘dining room’ window is partly concealed as is ours, probably because you have some steps down from the hall to the kitchen and have built into the ‘return’. Is this a permanent structure? We currently have shutters concealing the bottom half of the window and wonder what other people have done to resolve/conceal this!

  4. Your house looks beautiful. I’m curious what your arrangement is with shoes. I have three teenagers and they all have so many trainers that our hall floor always looks messy. Do you have shoe storage downstairs somewhere?

  5. Bravo, Kate – it looks more fabulous than ever! And I’ve got floor envy as yours look freshly painted, which is what mine need but (sigh) it’s a big job. I’m sure Enid’s House will end up working far harder than the cat that inspired it.

  6. Hi Kate,

    This is really interesting, thank you. I’ve often wondered about something like this, but not being London-based, was wondering how important location was?

    1. Most of the magazines may want to shoot in and around London as that is where they are based but there are plenty of brands based all over the country and they may want to shoot a new brochure near to their showrooms. And if it’s TV or film work then if they’re shooting a series in Leeds they might need streets or houses that fit with a particular style of architecture. So in short, I don’t think it’s important at all. Why not have a look on the JJ site and key in a couple of locations and see what comes up?

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