Talliston House: The Secret Within

KiddyCharts are lucky enough to have their home in a wonderful part of the country; North Essex, with its quant villages, and pargeting. It’s greens, and duck ponds.

We have lived here for nearly ten years, and I didn’t realise that 25 minutes away from my home in Saffron Walden, one man was on a mission to create another world inside an ordinary ex-council house in Great Dunmow; Talliston House.

For almost 25 years, John Trevillian has been telling the story of his house; creating a different tale with it’s wonderful decorations, and expertly sourced artifacts in every room you enter, causing a wealth of emotions. Sometimes blogging brings you to special places, where you experience something that even words struggle to explain properly.

John bought this house in 1990, and from the first moment he walked through the threshold at midday on the 6th October, he has been creating and weaving a tale throughout the house. Sadly, as the 25-year project nears its conclusion, Talliston House is running out of money. One may ask why we are writing this, and appealing for help with another man’s vision.

However, the house is utterly unique. It is the kind of place that you truly do have to see to understand; every item within it, every room has an intricate story woven around it and their specific occupants. That story has taken nearly 25 years, 1,650 antiques and trips to 27 countries to create. You can almost “feel” the house’s personality as you walk through the rooms which from humble beginnings have been transformed into something extraordinary. Each room has an occupant, and a location to shape its story and provide the all important chapters for Talliston House’s story…..

The Labyrinth

This garden is the only outside clue to what lies within – the Labyrinth is occupied by Tobias Crowe, the gardener from The Old Rectory, which the space is modeled upon. There are wonderful little details even in this small space, from the metal bees in the paths, to represent industriousness, to the wonderful rabbit hole that is hidden beneath a flowerbed.

The Watchtower

The first room you come across within the house has a medieval feel to it, but is welcoming nonetheless. The Watchtower is modelled on Mead Hall of Twr-â-Gân, and the occupant is the Castle’s housekeeper, Rose Meirion. The room itself is littered with beautiful touches, from the Duomo on the table, to the secret room hidden beneath the display cabinet.

The Watchtower: Talliston House

Any room that can cause bloggers to scrabble around on the floor to discover what is beneath has come up trumps – and is it any wonder given the wee house you are rewarded with after going on your hands and knees under the display cabinet in one corner of The Watchtower?

Talliston House: Secret house

The Voodoo Kitchen

Walking from The Watchtower into the kitchen is an amazing experience and there was an audible “Wow” from almost every visitor on our tour with John….

Voodoo Kitchen: Talliston House-Entry

The contrast of this light room to the dark medieval feel of the Watchtower is palpable. The Voodoo Kitchen is based on a 1954 kitchen in New Orleans, and voodoo artifacts hang from the walls, and 1950s postcards and magazines adorn the surfaces and walls. Marcus, who very kindly made us cream teas for our visit in here, seemed very at home despite the magic in the air….

Talliston House: Voodoo Kitchen - Markus' home

The details in this room were simply stunning – here are a selection of shots so you can really see what I mean:

Voodoo Kitchen: Talliston House

The Boathouse

A house like this had to have a different kind of bathroom didn’t it? Well, this bathroom is based on a Norwegian boathouse; the walls and ceiling were bursting with nautical artifacts. One could imagine leaning back in your bath and being transported far, far away to a Fjord. I suspect that the beer here is no where near as expensive though…

Boathouse: Talliston House

The Fountain Courtyard

From the kitchen, you can walk out into the courtyard, which transports you to Samhraidh Cottage in the Boyne Valley. This cottage was thought to be the house of a witch…and some of the details I spotted around the gardens were certainly in keeping with this tale. However, they were nothing when compared to what we would find upstairs….

Garden: Talliston House

The Haunted Bedroom

Talliston House is a room of contrasts, and the Haunted Bedroom and the other main bedroom provide the starkest of these. It didn’t surprise me to learn from John that younger children visiting the house were afraid to come into this room; it has a eerie feel with an ouija board and empty shoes occupying one corner of the room.

Talliston House: Shoes and Board

Talliston House is raising funds by allowing you to have your own crest designed and adorned on the walls within this bedroom – there are already a number of crests present, but still some to be bought. The room itself is based upon a child’s room, Jack Macpherson in Stonehaven in Scotland. The boy died young and the room was believed to be haunted by his spirit, with his parents sealing it with holy symbols and vowing never to set foot in it again.

John has managed to create a truly nightmarish place…and I am fairly sure I wouldn’t be choosing this bedroom to sleep in…

Talliston House: Haunted Bedroom

The Room of Dreams

This was my favourite room in the house, and the exact opposite of the haunted bedroom; welcoming, colourful and joyous.

The room is modeled on a guest room within The Alhambra; a holiday destination that I have very fond memories of, so it was always going to appeal to me. The room is light, and airy and so very welcoming. I could definitely imagine sleeping here without too much trouble at all; just pulling back though wonderful floaty curtains and just drifting off…

Talliston House: Dreamtime

The Office

The splendour of The Office within Talliston surprised me; it is a very relaxing room, and one that you could imagine the occupant, Jacques-Michel D’Olore, has no problems getting inspiration for his work within. I know I could have sat at its desk for hours on end very easily.

Talliston House - the Office

The Treehouse Sanctuary

The final room in the house was a little difficult to get to – up a ladder, and therefore, I don’t have any personal photographs of The Treehouse Sanctuary as I wasn’t too sure about the final leap up to the room; meaning I couldn’t take any photos annoyingly.

However, as you can see from the official pictures – the room is stunning:

Talliston House; Treehouse Sanctuary

Overall, it would be unthinkable to have such a wonderful house lost to us due to the need for a little bit more funding.

So why not visit the Talliston House fundraising page, and see what you can do. Better still, if you are relatively local – visit the house for yourself and see how you feel walking through that doorway to the secret place that lies within.

You life will be all the more richer for having done so; mine is, without a doubt.

From the outside, the house is deceptive; inside John has woven a beautiful, inspirational tale that shouldn’t be lost; Talliston House should be allowed to continue to tale its stories for generations to come.

Talliston House: Save the extraordinary