Talliston House and Gardens

"Britain’s most extraordinary home"

Great Dunmow, Essex

Talliston House through the front gate

Experience this house


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At midday on 6th October 1990 author John Tarrow stepped into a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex and started a personal journey that grew into a twenty-five year project: to take a standard English dwelling and transform it into a wonderland of inspirational locations, each set in a different time and place.

The process was to deconstruct each room back to the brickwork and rebuild from scratch, so that upon completion not one square centimetre of the original house remains (that’s inside and out). Using only those tradesmen essential to compliance with building regulations (structural, electric and gas), the rest of the skills (from carpentry, bricklaying and garden landscaping to the more esoteric like basket weaving, gold leafing and treehouse construction) were learned by ordinary people.

Using traditional techniques and authentic items sourced from around the globe, John and his team have created something from nothing, or perhaps more accurately, something incredible from nothing special. It is Talliston’s outward normality that is its magic; it is truly somewhere extraordinary within the ordinary.

During the tour you’ll find yourself leaving the present and entering the past (and even at one point entering the future) as you step from a Moorish bedchamber into a 1920s’ study and from a New Orleans kitchen into a Victorian tower.

Yet the essence of the house is more than how it looks. It is also how it sounds, smells, tastes and feels. Every location has a story woven into it, and while images of the house are astonishing, Talliston is not designed to be a place viewed in photographs. It is not enough to just see the house – instead you must experience it.

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