This end of terrace property in the centre on London has been transformed into an urban orchard with fruit trees and fanciful pompoms in pastel shades by interior design genius David Carter. Known for his theatrical and quirkily retro installations David was given free rein to create this fairytale adventure with a slightly dark edge.
“I love the idea of creating something hauntingly beautiful that only exists for a brief moment in time,” he said. “I wanted to make the Jacques Townhouse a very special place for people to visit, a place of whimsy and enchantment where everyone feels that they just walked on to a fantastical film set.” David, the owner of 40Winks guesthouse, certainly achieved that.
Greeted at the door by a blithe and dapper concierge, we were given a key, a handkerchief map and the bellboy was summoned to escort us to the table of temptations.
We ascended the staircase following the bellboy to our destination, and discovered that temptations there were indeed. A delectable array of cakes and cup cakes, created by The Vintage Patisserie welcomed us to the whole experience. Feeling like a child I held back from running over to the table and stuffing my face full of fancies – after all we were all grown-up professionals here, weren’t we? Before long though the waiters and waitresses became that little devil in my ear, begging us to try the cakes and canapés as if they were something taboo.
Exploring the curious and unusual surrounds was like becoming Alice stepping into Wonderland. The surface was whimsical with English fields recreated and ready to picnic in. An old gramophone wafted music across the room as ladies reclined under teacup trees supping on Jacques, a fruit cider. But with naughty undertones it also felt a little F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned.
Having assessed the style we confidently headed to the basement dressing and powder rooms to be made over from head to toe. We emerged as glamorous fifties-style divas channelling our inner Sophia Loren’s in hats, scarves, large sunglasses and summer frocks.
It was then that we sort out the fortune tellers to reveal what was in store for us once we left this bewitching place. With the help of tarot cards, star signs and palms, we were both confidently told to trust in ourselves and that we were heading in the right direction – all was good in the world.
The surrealness did not end with our surrounds or our hosts. The celebrities that we bumped into were equally unexpected. The serene singer Sophie Ellis Bexter oversaw the evening, taking a turn spinning the decks with hubby Richard Jones in the secret room that was transformed into a dance floor. On the way around we bumped into bemused designer Henry Holland, outrageously (but fantastically) attired Jodie Harsh and the beautiful T4 presenter Jameela Jamil who was being photographed in an English country setting. Other more unlikely attendees were This Morning’s Richard Arnold, Kitten turned presenter Liz McLarnon and a forlorn looking Donna Air.
But all good things must come to an end and with our senses satiated it was time to bid a fond farewell. Upon leaving the Jacques Townhouse, the world felt a duller and more boring place. I am just sad that this pop-up concept hotel is not a more permanent fixture – but then perhaps that would ruin the magic?
There are still a few places available so visit The Jacques Townhouse facebook page and sign-up to go along – it’s free!