Linden Gardens, W2
Are palaces only for royalty or might mere mortals have a chance to live on a grand scale? Certainly the owners of this period beauty in Linden Gardens were able to enjoy a palatial lifestyle. Perfectly preserved with 20-foot ceilings setting the majestic tone, this was a truly sumptuous home.
Any tourist coming to London will have any number of royal palaces on their list of things to see: Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Hampton Court, Kensington Palace and maybe even a trip out to Windsor. These are not the only grand houses to be found, though. Dotted throughout the capital are houses that could arguably be called urban palaces. Though they may lack Rubens’ paintings on the ceiling, their grand proportions and imposing facades are every bit as impressive as their royal counterparts.
Located on one of London’s most beautiful streets, this house is the central building of the East Terrace of Linden Gardens, a Victorian avenue near Notting Hill Gate that was part of what was then a newly developed townscape close to Kensington Gardens. Measuring a massive 6,000 square feet, Linden Gardens was as big if not bigger than any royal apartment. The sweeping staircase ran through the centre of the house culminating in a large chandelier suspended from the top of the house. The original cast-iron balustrades were perfectly preserved, as was the mahogany handrail.
Throughout the house, the number of original features was astonishing, from the Victorian tiles in the hallway and the original marble fireplaces with their cast-iron inserts still intact, to the intricate cornicing. The fact that the house had rarely changed hands in the 150 years since it was built was evident.
The house was also practical with rooms that would have presumably been used as staff accommodation on the lower-ground floor, informal reception rooms on the ground floor and a very grand reception on the first floor. Upstairs were six bedrooms including a luxurious master suite. We were particularly taken by the romantic ‘love seat’ area adjacent to one of the reception rooms that encapsulated the Italianate charm of the house. Very Pride and Prejudice.
Few of us will ever be lucky enough to live on such a grand scale but surely homes like this are the stuff dreams are made of?