Other People's Houses with LivingEtc and AO

Last Friday I spent the day doing one of my most favourite things in the world, like ever - having a good nose around other people's houses, on the LivingEtc House Tour in Northwest London, as a guest of AO. I felt truly lucky to be asked along, together with a bunch of other super lovely bloggers, for an intense day of interiors fun.

My tour started at the third house, which was where we were meeting our lovely hosts who were travelling from Manchester that morning.

Über stylist Marianne Cotterill threw open the doors of her magnificent five-storey Victorian mansion for us, and I have to admit that I was so taken with it's beauty that I wasn't at all very focused on taking photographs. I know, I know, I'm totally sacked. Lucky for you (and me!) then, that the house has it's own site right here.

A house like this doesn't happen overnight, that's for sure. This house has clearly evolved over many years of collecting. It was full to bursting with the most amazing treasures - a master class in mixing vintage and contemporary pieces. The house itself, testament to the fact that you can leave your perfect finishes at the door - a bit of cracked plaster, or peeling wallpaper or paint only adds character and beauty. Laid-back glamour at it's absolute best. Can you tell I liked it?

So come back when you're done snooping - I'll just be sitting in the park-sized garden having an Aperol Spritz waiting for you...

Hanging seat in garden

Oh, good you're back! I'm ready for you now, with my blogger-head properly attached.

Right. Let's talk about house four, a three-storey, fully restored (and extended) Arts and Crafts home built in 1929, which was rather divisive amongst our group. Of course homes are immensely personal things, and most certainly not one size fits all. Wouldn't life be boring if that were the case? Some loved this house, others really didn't like it much at all.

I feel a bit sorry for house four actually (yes, houses have feelings too), because house three was such a hard act to follow, making this one feel more 'show' than 'home'. It had all the 'right' elements, but as the family had only been living in it for six months, it lacked the soul that comes with a home that's been lived in for many years.

It will come with time, and once the garden is finished and it matures, it will be showcased so beautifully by the stunning crittall windows and doors that run across the entire rear of the house. It will evolve and come into it's own, and I certainly wouldn't say no to living in it! It just needs a bit of time. And a bit more personal stuff. Stop me if I'm getting too technical.

Dining area with herringbone parquet and crittall windows

Living room with green deco style velvet sofas
Dining area with herringbone parquet and hanging wicker chair

Bathroom with white subway tilesSo, moving on to house five...

Debi Treloar is an interiors photographer extraordinaire, and has shot loads of interiors books including those by Selina Lake, Holly Becker and Pearl Lowe, so it's no great surprise that her home is super photogenic.

Eclectic master bedroom with layered textiles and artwork

Murano chandelier in master bedroom
Bright floral display against white backdrop in colourful eclectic home

It was such a relaxed happy atmosphere, full of lovely pops of colour (and plenty of neon to boot) largely set against a white backdrop.

I think it was the hottest day of the year so far in London that day (yes, I did use the words 'hot' and 'London' in the same sentence), and at times I honestly felt I'd been transported to Ibiza for my summer holiday a couple of months early, especially when I went to see what was at the bottom of the garden...

Garden studio with reclaimed tin tiles on bar and copper panelling

Yes, I could do with a studio / party room like this. Oh, and the crittall windows. I die...

Crittall windows looking back into house

I did a small bit of snooping on this good old web, and here's the house as photographed by Debi herself a few years back. My photos are obviously real-life snap shots, so it's always interesting to see how a house looks when it's photographed professionally too I think.

I loved the diverse styles of the homes I saw. Really, I could spend forever looking at houses as beautiful as these - I doubt I'd ever tire of it.

Thanks for having me AO!

Now please do go and visit these other blogs for some more House Tour action including some I didn't get time to see or haven't included here.

Oh yeah, and if there's any way you can possibly afford to install crittall windows, herringbone parquet and a swinging wicker chair in the garden, or living room, you absolutely should. Le sigh.