Friday, 1 August 2014

An evening at Talliston House

This is a tale of British eccentricity at its finest :-)
No, not that ...

I don't know what you're looking at, but I'm looking at an itty-bitty mouse bedroom in the skirting board...

That's just how I finished a very happy evening at Talliston House! In the beginning...

In the beginning a man named John Trevillian bought the Most Ordinary House in England (a three-bedroom semi-detached ex-council house in Essex) and vowed to turn it into something completely extraordinary: a place of pure magic. He gave himself twenty-five years, no more or less.
"The process is to deconstruct each room back to the brickwork and rebuild from scratch, so that upon completion not one square centimetre of the original house will remain (that’s inside and out)."

Pan says "I'm watching..."
And over the last twenty-four years (yes, they are now rushing to complete the project!)  John and other volunteers have transformed that house, one room at a time. Now each individual room has a "location" - both somewhere in the world and at a specific point in history - and each has a back-story. Open the drawers and the cupboards and you'll find that everything fits that place. Each chamber has its own scent and its own ambient sounds.

The New Orleans voodoo kitchen (1954) wherein Marcus cooked our amazing dinner

The Welsh tower-house (1887) where we ate it.

The Room of Dreams (Spain, 1977) where I wanted to sleep it off

The Cambodian Treehouse (1965) - and yes, we had to climb a rope ladder :-)

The 1925 detective's office, complete with ...
... Oh. That looks ominous...

Each room has secrets.

If you could take the carpet up in the Haunted Bedroom (1911, Scotland), you'd find that the underlay is newspaper from 1908 - and beneath that is chalked a protective circle...
Is it looking spooky? Or is it just me?

Yep, there I am looking spooky. And full of food.
Just to be clear - it's not the interior-design aspect that enchants me. It's the refusal to conform. It's the decades-long dedication to a unique creative vision. It's the enthroning of Imagination. It's the incredible hard work and the real sacrifices, and the way one man has gathered others into his interior world. It's the way different people come together to make something bigger than themselves. It's about a story - or a collection of stories - that become embodied in reality by being lived out.

Talliston is a delight - but it's so full of detail it's hard to take in on first sight. Luckily we were sustained by a wonderful four-course dinner:

"Appetiser - Locally sourced seared ham with fruit, peppers and baby cobs
served with a light marinade"
"Dessert - Papaya, banana and mango pieces dressed in an aromatic sauce, lightly steamed
in individual parcels and served with crème fraiche"

And a fair amount of wine:

Which brings us back to the crawling-under-the-sideboard photo at top, I guess!
I have to say  a huge thank you to John and Marcus for an amazing day - and I'm wishing you the best of luck for the rest of the project!

"Cthulhu fairies!"

(Talliston has various open events going on and does take private bookings, but you'd have to be quick - they are about to go into their final rush to finish...)


Vida said...

Great photos. And your legs are gorgeous!

Janine Ashbless said...

Ha ha! Thanks!