The Househunter: Room by Room

Proper lottery money this week as we get to have a look around this house which, apparently, belongs to the illusionist Derren Brown. It’s a 19th century former print house that has been converted into a three bedroom property spread over five floors to include a cinema, artist’s studio and two south-facing terraces.

It’s on the market for, breathe…. £4,750,000 with The Modern House and I’m assuming that yes of course you want to have a look. And there’s plenty to see although this isn’t a psychology blog so we probably shouldn’t spend any time on the unicorn head, the zebras, Greek busts, the Bull (Minotaur) and peacocks. But I’ll just flag them so you can see as we walk past. This is not a minimalist apartment and I wouldn’t want you to miss anything after all.

So the cinema and study are on the lower ground floor, the kitchen and one reception above, and en suite bedroom and second reception on the first floor with a giant master bedroom suite and roof terrace on top of that. The third bedroom, studio and second terrace are on the third floor but I can’t see a bathroom (or loo) for them before the basement. This works if you live alone but as a guest I might find that tricky in the middle of the night. Also fascinated by the fact that the master bedroom has a bath in in the bedroom and another in the ensuite. And no shower.

But floorplans aside, I do rather love it and if I had £5m quid down the back of the sofa (need a bit more than the asking to sort the bathrooms out) I would buy it. The ceilings are high, the windows are tall and the beams bring character. It’s filled with books and objects of interest all of which bring huge amounts of character to it. We’ve all seen those celebrity homes which are hired in staged furniture and cold tiled floors. This does at least look real. And interesting. And I, for one, would love a rummage through those books.

Even from these photographs every time you look you can spot something you hadn’t noticed before. In terms of what we can take for our own homes I’m not sure there’s much – unless you live in a huge space that needs zoning.

I love the yellow velvet sofa that was probably made specially but hugs the fireplace and the coffee table and creates a cosy seating and chatting area in what is a very large room. I will say that I find the industrial tin lights slightly at odds with the rest of the room but that also appears to be the only lighting. There are no table lamps or floor lights visible.

It’s hard to tell from the floorplan which room is which but I might make this my office. All that natural light would be perfect and then a woodburning stove for winter working. Having spent 10 years working in a north-facing kitchen I can vouch for the joy of a woodburner over fingerless mittens any day.

Now opinion is still divided over the bath in the bedroom scenario. I’m not sure it’s for me but there’s no denying this is a very pretty picture and I like the idea of a bath under the window leading out to a roof terrace. And, as I mentioned above there is another bath by the dressing room on the other side of this bed so it’s probably the notion of one for evening baths and one for practical morning ablutions.

This is the other bedroom with that door leading to the en suite where there is a shower. Again I may not be convinced by the bath in the bedroom but I’m definitely not having a giant mirror at the end of the bath and I don’t care how much bigger it make the space feel.

I’m here for the vintage haberdasher’s storage unit though. And the panelling. And that pretty green colour on the walls.

So what do we think? We buying lottery tickets or not. Do go and visit to see the floor plan and more pictures for yourself.


Tags : eclectic homeLondon houseLondon house for salethe househunterThe Modern House
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. Bath in your bedroom is the ultimate indulgence. We put a gorgeous copper bateau bath into our bedroom last year and it’s the best thing we ever did. I know that it divides opinion but i’m not sure why – to me it seems the obvious place for a bath to relax in to be. Who wants to lie in a bath in a sterile room looking at a toilet?
    Now what i don’t understand in interiors is the whole washing machine in the kitchen thing- why do we do that? Dirty clothes in the kitchen, yuk Lol

  2. I’m definitely in!! For those of us who like the interest of the objects and books, I’m guessing it’s all going with Derren anyway, sadly. The stuff IS eclectic, but does actually have the underlying theme of ‘a zoo in my house’, which personally I rather like. And like Debbie says above, at least it’s different!

  3. Looks like it might be a nice space without the clutter which I have to say feels very contrived to me. If asked to create a illusionist/magician theme for an event/ party I feel quite a few of us could come up with similar. So bit disappointed that it feels so ‘typecast’ if you catch my drift. Or has it been staged so buyer doesn’t forget the ‘celebrity’ price tag?

  4. Great bones, needs emptying…. looks like someone’s visited a reclamation yard spun around in circles with their eyes shut and bought anything that touched their fingers….

  5. Love the “bones” of this house Kate. I’d love to see it empty of all the possessions tho so I could appreciate the structure.

  6. Agent: “Derren, we need to talk about the dead animals. They have to…”
    Derren: “Look into my eeeyyeesss..”

  7. Ditto all of the above.
    Far too fussy for me but the overall building is interesting.
    Is that a stuffed dog on the hearth in the second photo?

  8. Gosh this is dreamy! I absolutely love it. Bags of character, beautiful windows and doors, gorgeous panelling… I like the copper bath but would lose the other one. And completely agree on the lights, too many of them and the industrial look is only really passable in the kitchen. Way too many Knick knacks for me (dread to think of the dust on those shelves) but I love the artwork. What a find!!! SOLD (if you can lend me £4.5 mill)

  9. Way too busy for me. I would remove quite a bit it feels overwhelming. Two no no’s for me, bath in the bedroom, even if I had the room I wouldn’t have one. As for the full length mirror at the end of the other bath, I’d have to wear a blindfold lol. It is a lovely house though.

  10. How fascinating and inspiring – but I’m with you on the baths! Love that big shower with the black and white minton tiles. And did you notice the floral toilet? Gorgeous.

  11. This is great fun for a Friday. The garden is gorgeous and would kill for a roof terrace. The first thing I would do is take out those baths in the bedrooms. I think they are the worst and the thought of it brings me out in a rash. In terms of decor, there are some great pieces but I’d get rid of 50% of them so you could properly see them. Far too much clutter. Did we all see the fish tank?! Finally, the tin lights are awful. But oh the possibilities!

  12. Taking aside the impracticalities, this house is so interesting and full of character. Just love the green in the final photo. It is giving me ideas and it pairs so well with red. I would keep the large mirror by the bath but would have one foxed so that it helps with the light but doesn’t give you the overall horror of a clear, life-sized, nude portrait. Unless you are a model of course. Or can’t see without your spex.

    1. Appreciate your commet on specs in the bath Lesley. I got myself a lovely wooden over-the-bath rack, with somewhere to prop a book, somewhere to stand a wineglass or mug. Drew myself a bath with scented oils… Then realised I’m getting old. Can´t read without my glasses, glasses steam up in a bath. Then the cat got in and tried to use it as a bridge and the planned relaxing/pampering session degenerated into cat and wine in the bathwater and nasty scratches for me.
      Anybody want a barely used bath rack?

  13. Love it! So over the same old. Eclectic heaven and so interesting. I could spend hours looking at all of the books and interesting curios. My idea of heaven!

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