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A Peek Inside London's Forgotten Mansion

Jun 11, 2016

Everyone has their own idea of what makes a dream home. For some, the more bedrooms and bathrooms the better; for others, a tiny house is perfect. Maybe it's in the country, where there are no neighbors in sight, or perhaps it's in the middle of the city, directly in the hustle and bustle. 

Whatever your idea of the perfect home is, it's always fascinating to see how others live. That's especially true if they reside in a completely unique property. And this Georgian mansion in London? Well, it certainly fits the bill ... and then some!

This is the almost-unassuming entrance to Malplaquet House.

The stately home is located in East London, on Mile End Road.

The home was originally built in 1742. Its name comes from the Battle of Malplaquet, which took place 33 years earlier.

First purchased by a wealthy widow, the mansion was later occupied by Harry Charrington, who was co-owner of the second largest brewery in London at the time.

Sadly, after Charrington moved out in 1833, the great house was divided into smaller flats and several shops were built along the front portion of one side.

In 1895, the last domestic tenants moved out and the house was used mainly as storage.

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The property was neglected for decades, until the Spitalfields Trust, an architectural conservation charity, stepped in and bought the house.

The house needed some pretty serious repairs, though, so the Trust was happy to sell to two eager buyers in 1998 for £250,000, a relative steal for a house of its size.

The lucky new owners were Tim Knox, a museum director, and Todd Longstaff-Gowan, the gardens adviser to Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace.

The pair describe themselves as "terrible collectors." They told The Telegraph that, after being consigned to only walking sideways through their rooms because of the overflow of their collection, "We desperately needed space."

Unfortunately, they didn't have an unlimited budget, so their search for the perfect home was a hard one. When they visited Malplaquet House for the first time, they knew they'd found the perfect home for their collections of objet d'art.

"It had a lovely atmosphere. Despite being a complete tip and infested with pigeons, we knew it was full of promise," Tim told The Telegraph. So, they bought the home, moved into the one room that was relatively livable and began a refurbishment project that lasted the next five years.

They wanted to keep the atmosphere and character that originally drew them to the property, so they avoided total renovation and restoration. Instead, they "wanted to preserve it in that plain way."

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They worked quietly and unobtrusively, keeping the storefronts that ran alongside the front of the house intact. When the shop facades finally came down, locals were surprised to see that anyone lived in the home, despite it having been a decade since Tim and Todd moved their collection in.

The pair spent years finding period pieces, like the studded front door, claw-foot tubs, and more, to outfit the house. They removed more than 160 tons of rock and debris from the basement, and worked to make the spacious garden an oasis.

Finally, they were more or less happy with the results and returned to their main love: their collections. Unfortunately, Malplaquet House is now simply full to the brim.

With no more room for their esoteric items, Tim and Todd have sadly listed the house for sale. The 4,500-square-foot, three-story home boasts seven living rooms, five bedrooms, and one-and-a-half baths. The price? A whopping £2.95 million (or about $4.3 million)!

Don't forget to SHARE this amazing home with your friends and family!

H/T: Boredom Therapy | Rightmove

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