“Last night I came home late from drinks and found a small stuffed duckling, an egg (which I broke) and a batch of biscuits on my doorstep,” Rupert tells me as we creak around the floorboards of his Grade 2 listed Spitalfields townhouse. Word has gone viral since Rupert posted a You Tube vlog on his search for potential new flatmates to share his beautiful house with through Spare Room.co.uk, the site he founded.
He’s received over 7000 video applications from a diverse age group; ranging from sixteen to late sixties, and some have upped their game by gifting him in unusual ways. Ten people have written songs, one man journeyed all the way from Cardiff and another lady knocked on the door with a tray of hot cinnamon buns. Not to mention the offer to exorcise the house for ghosts!
None of the houses shares I found through Loot ads ever looked liked this, how I wish they had! Five floors of Georgian splendour lay untouched and unmodernised, except for the Victorian extension. I’m struck by how lucky this townhouse is to have found Rupert, a man who loves it’s faded grandeur interior just as much as it’s handsome exterior and never intends to redecorate. Milions of tacks still stud the kitchen wall from the days when a silk designer called Anna Maria Garthwaite used to pin her designs up – her life here commemorated by the blue plaque outside. His own style of taxidermy, Granny’s baby grand and decorative antiques all marry perfectly amongst the backdrop of his Princelet St House.
So what could a future tenant expect from living here? They might find themselves basking in the sun in the garden room, splashing around in the roll top bath, drinking mojitos in the music room and lording it up in an E1, central London postcode. And pay what they can afford, Rupert would much rather find the right person to share with than pay the going rate. Most Londoners interested in interior design or architecture could never dream of owning a house like this, let alone renting a room in one.
Three floors into the grand tour and already I’ve made a mental list of the qualities Rupert’s potential new flatmates need to be in possession of;
An inability to feel the cold (Rupert grew up on a farm without central heating and likes it cold, there is an AGA in the kitchen though)
Ballerina light on their feet (no corridor creeping on the sly, those original floorboards creak)
A cat (a former flatmate saw a mouse escape under the front door)
A calm disposition (many a bump and squeak goes on in the night, it’s just the wood expanding and contracting apparently)
A love of taxidermy (the menagerie includes a camel, bear, peacock, fox and a duckling if that lady mentioned above moves in)
Have green fingers (his pots and courtyard garden could benefit from some expertise)
Be good with a coaster (and respect antique furniture)
Quite apart from the fact that Rupert seems one of the kindest flatmates to live with, it’s refreshing to see someone waving the flag for communal living; why should you live alone after a certain age? Frankly, if I wasn’t already living with my brother, my cat and I would be pitching up on his doorstep trying to apply myself.
Find out who Rupert eventually asks to move in by following his search here.
I’m looking forward to watching the shortlisted applicants on camera.