Joanna Trollope OBE gives us a virtual tour of her London home. The writer is speaking at the Curious Arts Festival this weekend. Find out more in our festival guide.
Tell us about your house
I live in a cod Georgian townhouse in west London, which means it has a lot more light and much easier rising staircases than a real Georgian house would have. It has the kind of tiny outside space that you dust rather than garden but the east/west orientation makes dawns and sunsets dramatic. The terrace it’s part of was built in the 1960’s in the gap left by a wartime bomb and its chief charm for me is that it is very sunny, very easy to run and makes no demands on me as an older more characterful house might well do.
How does your home reflect you as a person?
Certainly the colours – a lot of grey and neutrals, with the colour provided by things, such as the coloured glass my grandmother left me. And it’s calm – I like calm – and tidy and full of bookcases, with very comfortable beds.
If we knocked on your door, how would we be greeted?
With a warm welcome, I do hope!
What’s your favourite room in the house? Describe what’s in it and why it’s your favourite
To be honest, I like the whole house. If I didn’t, I’d do something about the room I didn’t like so much. I love being able to choose for myself and in my taste.
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought for your home?
The most expensive thing would be something very dull, like the boiler. I’ve certainly bought paintings, but not ones that are more costly than the boiler, and the furniture I bought years ago was hugely expensive then, but seems almost free in retrospect!
And what’s the oldest thing in your home and how did you acquire it
Family heirlooms that I have been left over the years, like pieces of furniture. I don’t think I possess anything old that hasn’t belonged to someone in the family before me, and those associations are obviously very important.
If we snooped in your kitchen what would we find in your fridge?
I’ve just had a look for the purposes of answering these questions! The answer is : milk, live yoghurt, a dish of stewed plums, the ingredients to make beef Stroganoff for friends coming to supper, salad stuff, San Pellegrino, a bottle of Chablis, a net of lemons, eggs, and purple sprouting broccoli from Lincolnshire.
And if you invited us for dinner, who would be there and what would you cook?
See above. Or it might be a quick and excellent Thai curry I make with king prawns and sugar snap peas, followed by cheese and fruit or perhaps a chocolate tart kindly made by Waitrose – I want to be able to talk to guests and look after them, so the food has to be very manageable.
If we rifled through your wardrobe, what favourite items or things of significance would we find?
More grey. And more. Enlivened by the odd garment in navy blue. Lots of Joseph trousers. One treasured Bella Freud sweater. Many wonderful garments from Zara, including a dramatic striped trouser suit which is – of course – basically navy blue.
It’s Saturday night at home, what’s the plan for the evening?
As quiet a plan as possible, if I’m at home. Telly catch up, reading, newspapers, the kind of easy supper I can eat with a fork, long bath, early bed – bliss!
Joanna Trollope will be talking at the Curious Arts Festival, from 21st-23rd July, Pylewell Park, New Forest, Hampshire. www.curiousartsfestival.com