A typical house in between an authentic pub and an iconic Underground station welcomes you to lesser-known London. A stay at our North London Townhouse is the opportunity to experience the old blue-collar but dynamic neighborhood of Kentish Town. From every window, the city is everywhere — with its trains, its colorful townhouses, its brick walls, and its small shops and gardens. And in every room, you find eclectic decor and furnishings — a mix of Seventies and Victorian, Eighties and Arts & Crafts. Welcome to a swinging London house, thanks to Marcus Iglauer, a German architect and photographer who fell in love with the British capital.
Marcus Iglauer, why did you buy a house in a lesser known district like Kentish Town?
MI: “I came to London 18 years ago and never wanted to leave again. It’s the most cosmopolitan city in the world and the mix of people and cultures is so inspiring. The house in Kentish Town caught my eye one day when we were strolling around the neighbourhood. It’s a proper townhouse from the 1850s, not like those typical Victorian terraces you see all over London. A neighbor told me that the house was once a doctor’s or dentist’s surgery… lots of history! We kept most of the original features to keep its character, and just made modest structural changes.”
As an architect and self decorator, what did you like in this house? Can you explain the ambiance you wanted to share here?
MI: “I love the feel of this house. It is a bit difficult to describe since you really have to experience it, but everyone tells me that this place has a great ‘vibe’. It’s so bright and, despite being so close to the high street and the train station, it’s very quiet. Even though I love minimalism and the great modernist architects, I also have a soft spot for eclectic interior design. Adding nice things makes a place warm, cosy, familar. We like to create a space that feels personal.”
What kind of decor do you like?
MI: “I like nice things, good design, good quality materials. It doesn’t neccessarily matter which decade, style or designer. You can combine quality pieces; it’s less difficult than you think. I love objects when they have a use and a history. In Japan, a piece of art is not a sculpture or nice frame, it’s a wooden bowl used by many hands. I love this idea. The way an object is used is sometimes more important than the way it looks. Part of my decoration is also a kind of clin-d’oeil [wink] about a movie or music from the Seventies. Elegant decoration does not necessarily exclude a touch of humor!”
Can you explain your way of traveling and how you choose destinations and accommodation?
MI: “Before I started travelling with my wife Joanna, I didn’t pay too much attention to the place I stayed in. I usually picked a cheap place somewhere and off I went exploring. That all changed when Joanna showed me her idea of traveling which was, let’s say, a bit more ‘luxurious’. After 15 years and trips around the world, we have found the perfect mix — we love a nice boutique hotel one day, a little finca (basic but well designed) in the middle of nowhere the next. We want to be inspired, and that can happen in many different ways. We usually plan trips that take in a few countries, last year we went to Panama, Colombia and Ecuador. I have been to 100 countries, and my goal is to see them all in my lifetime.”
You have other properties in London — where are they? What do you look for in each of them?
MI: “Most of our properties are in north and west london (Notting Hill) but we are expanding south of the river too, which is a big thing for Notting Hillers. Some properties just need an overhaul, some TLC, and some nice furniture and interesting pieces to make them a bit special. We want to strengthen the character of the place, bring out the best of it!”
To stay at one of Marcus Iglauer’s properties, or any of our vacation home rentals in London, browse our collection here.