Inside the six-bedroom house featured in John Lewis ad and now on sale for £2.7m
When the owners of this spacious, detached Victorian house in Kingston Upon Thames, south-west London, stumbled across it 40 years ago they knew they’d found the perfect family home.
The old house was tired and needed replumbing and rewiring, but it retained all its original fittings.
Every fireplace in the house still works – a particularly glorious feature for their annual Christmas Eve parties – and over the years the couple, with their three children, have added to the history of a house they describe as ‘a home that has seen a lot of life’.
It’s no surprise, then, that Monty, the CGI penguin star of John Lewis’s award-winning 2014 Christmas advert, was similarly smitten when he visited the six-bedroom, 3.582sq ft property, to shoot the commercial.
Sure, an animatronic ‘creature’ was used by the children while the ad was filmed before the cuddly animated version was added later – but keep that to yourself.
‘I have seven grandchildren and two of them lived nearby so they came over during the filming,’ says the owner, who does not want to be named. ‘They first thought I’d had real penguins in the house. I did, finally tell them the truth.’
The filming took two weeks and the family loved every moment of it.
‘They emptied the drawing room and painted it that deep John Lewis green,’ she says. ‘They filled it with furniture from John Lewis. The man who repainted it to our colour scheme afterwards (a genteel cream) was a real artist.
‘During his work with us he received a phone call telling him he’d won a job doing all the paint effects for the movie The Martian.’
The fabulous farmhouse-style kitchen has also been used for the Junior Bake Off TV advert. Some of the family’s own artefacts became props.
For the owners – who ran a Montessori Nursery here for 25 years – leaving their home of four decades will be a wrench but they and their dog, The Governor, are downsizing and hope to move to nearby Richmond.
It’s easy to see why they have loved this house so deeply. It’s a deliciously warm family home, with a beautiful walled garden, in arguably the best street in Kingston Upon Thames – tree-lined Albany Park Road is less than a minute from the river and within a conservation area. It’s no wonder Monty felt so at home.
Behind the traditional red brick exterior there are lofty ceilings and generous windows.
The living and sitting rooms on the ground floor are all entered through expansive doors from the wide hall. The house is built for entertaining, ‘It’s just great for a party’, says one of the owners.
Under the central staircase there’s a door leading to the three-roomed cellar. Upstairs on the first floor a large landing leads to five large bedrooms and two bathrooms. One bedroom has an external staircase that leads directly to the garden.
The star, however, is upstairs where an architecturally designed galleried second floor would be ideal as a yoga or pilates studio, gym or granny flat.
‘The greatest pleasure has been bringing up our family in this beautiful house. I hope another family will move in and love it as much as we do,’ says the owner.
It is a beautiful home. Indeed, it makes you wonder why Monty the penguin ever left.
The six-bedroom house in Kingston Upon Thames is on the market for £2.7million with Hamptons.
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