The transformation of Talliston House & Gardens

The transformation of Talliston House & Gardens

Talliston House

We were thrilled and intrigued when we discovered the story behind the recent purchase of a cabinet and some birdcage lamps.

Our customer John Trevillian is the mastermind behind Talliston House & Gardens – a three bed ex-council semi which he purchased a quarter of a century ago and then set about transforming. Talliston means ‘the hidden place’, and this once ordinary house now hides thirteen rooms, each set in a different time and place.

 Over 25 years, John has painstakingly deconstructed each room back to the brickwork and rebuilt from scratch. Now the project is complete, not one square centimetre of the original house remains. John only used professional tradespeople when essential to comply with building regulations (structural, electric and gas), and the rest of the skills (from carpentry, bricklaying and garden landscaping to basket weaving and gold leafing) were learned and contributed by ordinary people.

John estimates that over 100 friends, artists and volunteers have helped him to transform the house. In a recent interview with The Guardian he said: “Everyone thinks I’m independently wealthy or that I’ve got a degree in interior design. But all I had was these stories in my head. I was the kid who’d run around castles, dreaming. This is the house I was meant to have.”

 The rooms include a 1950s New Orleans-style voodoo kitchen, a New York detective’s office, a gothic haunted Scottish bedroom, a Cambodian treehouse in the attic and a moveable tipi. Each space is full of objects from around the globe, sourced from antiques traders or auctions, or gathered on research holidays.

Voodoo Kitchen Talliston House

The voodoo kitchen

 The input of Shimu was in the Starhouse, a recreational arkspace melding Oriental tea house and Art Deco styling, where we contributed an antique Chinese cabinet from Shanxi province and birdcage lanterns.

Starhouse,  Talliston House

The starhouse

We were delighted to able to help John with his amazing project. He commented: “Building Talliston I have worked with innumerable companies, sourcing pieces from all across the world. As the deadline loomed I knew I would not be able to travel personally, and was looking for singular unique pieces. Everyone at Shimu excelled at helping me with questions and details on a number of items before we found the exact right combination. I wish all of my experiences could have been that helpful and professional.”

John says his favourite rooms are the haunted bedroom, as its construction was the most complex; and the office, as he has written three novels here and believes it embodies the feeling of escape that Talliston represents.

The Talliston project was completed earlier this month and was opened to the public over the weekend of 18th October. John is now planning a well-deserved break and hopes to return to writing, as well as securing Talliston’s future and financial independence.

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