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Posted 21/05/2018 5:05 PM

Why everyone is raving about The Rookery...

Let’s be honest, home renovation is a trend, which has been flourishing for years. The number of times the words duck egg blue, feature wallpaper, floral prints and parquet flooring are mentioned within the interior design industry is countless. And it is an industry, which is only going in one direction, as more and more people jump on this rather voguish bandwagon. 


However, if this is something you are seriously considering, you need to be made aware of the large chasm that is likely to be left in your bank account once you have finished. But don’t let this deter you because if you’re particularly savvy about it, you could actually use your newly renovated home as a source of income, which ultimately might help to pay off some of the expensive investments that you made doing it up.  

Hiring out your house as a location set for photoshoots, filming jobs or events is something which is becoming increasingly popular. Following a renovation, Sally Hobden made the decision to sign her property up to the 1st Option agency, which we subsequently named ‘The Rookery’, and she has never looked back. Since, she has welcomed over thirty different clients into her home, from Tesco and John Lewis, to Estee Lauder and Land Rover, and has pocketed a small fortune as a result.


There are many qualities that make The Rookery an ideal house for shooting in, one being its rather desirable location in Streatham. The Hobden’s can be found on the outskirts of central London, which is convenient for many clients (the majority, in fact) who are not willing to travel very far for a shoot. Its slight distance from the city, near to Croydon in South London, is also a huge appeal for those clients who want to shoot somewhere that doesn’t have that overwhelming, metropolitan feel, but still isn’t too far away. It is the perfect family home, in the perfect suburban location.


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Being slightly further out also means that you get more for your money and can invest in a much larger property than some of the gorgeous, but often very pokey central London locations. This Victorian terrace covers approximately 2,200 sq ft of living space, a huge appeal to many clients who are always striving to find somewhere with enough space to manoeuvre their crew, equipment and props. A house like this, which is also reasonably tall, is perfect for filming jobs and larger crews.

 

Moving onto the house’s stunning interior, one of its most popular and distinctive features is the kitchen. When they moved in, Sally and her husband, Greg Hobden, decided that they were going to use the main front room, which would traditionally be the living room, as the kitchen. Before even being decorated, this room is easily the most magnificent in the house, automatically making it The Rookery’s showpiece. The tall ceiling and large bay windows establish a bright and airy atmosphere, great for shoots which require a lot of space and light. The poured polished concrete floor and horizontal clapboard-style panels along the walls are also distinctive and hugely popular with clients.


Sally and Greg went onto fill this kitchen with some gorgeous statement pieces. They installed farmhouse-style British standard cupboards, a traditional black gas Aga, exposed ducting above the Aga, and a huge rustic dining table as the centrepiece. All of these details contribute to what is a beautiful and very popular room with our clients. 


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What makes this location especially unique, however, is the wall panelling installed throughout the entire house. Sally has admitted that when renovating, she didn’t want to churn out yet another modern-day cliché, with sliding doors and a granite-topped kitchen island, which is simply following the trends of the ‘time’. Instead she wanted to pay homage to the traditional craftsmanship trend and create something alternative and distinctive, yet timeless and family orientated. She has said that the panelling suits the house, subtly enhancing its style and era and to see a variety of panelling look so good in situ is seeing her vision come to life.


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Sally uses a variety of panelling from room to room. As already mentioned, she uses a horizontal clapboard-style panelling in the kitchen, as well as the master bedroom and bathrooms. She uses vertical tongue-and-groove panelling in the children’s bedrooms, and Georgian-style squares and rectangles in the hallway and living room. The panelling adds texture and character to the house and this is what specifically makes it stand out above the rest; it has a USP, a distinctive feature that location clients want to use for shoots, that they might not be able to find elsewhere.

 

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In addition to the panels, Sally and Greg are experts at bagging a bargain and they managed to make their home so wonderfully unique by snapping up some classic pieces for a reduced cost. They bought their Aga for less than half price on eBay; their rustic table came from a trade store in Croydon; the Crittall steel doors which separate the master bedroom and the en suite were £350 on eBay and the black Churchill bath was reduced from £3,500 to £500 on eBay (see below).


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Whilst these bargains sound hugely appealing, they do start to add up, with everything costing around £3,000. They have both said that they could have decided to go for cheaper options, but spending money on these tiny details were a good investment and this is one of the reasons why they are so successful within this industry.

And that is exactly the point. When renovating a house with the intention to hire it out for shoots, you have to be aware that the costs are steep, but very much worth it. These purchases become investments and make your house more attractive to clients who want to shoot in it and hopefully help towards paying off the costs you made when renovating. For these kind of more modern houses, generally, the more money you spend, the better the finish, and the better the finish, the more business you will eventually generate.

 

However, it has to be noted that this is not something you should base your entire income on, as the industry is unpredictable and can often be rather inconsistent. Whilst your house might be the flavour of the month right now, there is nothing to say that this will be the case next month. And even when you make these big investments, the Hobden’s are the first to say that the income you receive from shoots certainly won’t cover the cost of an entire renovation of this standard.


But, as mentioned, if you invest the time and the money into your home initially, you have more chance of being a successful shoot location owner and your house could become one of the most desired ones on the market, as proven by The Rookery.


Click to see more images of The Rookery


Ella x

Tags

location, location agency, londonlocations, london, therookery, family home, neutraldecor, neutral aesthetic, locations for filming, photoshoot, photoshoot location

Posted 14/05/2018 5:05 PM

What better way to discover new interior design trends than overseas?!

As the summer months are nearing and the strawberry daiquiris are flowing, we, in the 1st Option office, are getting itchy feet. Flicking through old holiday albums and shopping online for bikinis are two pastimes, which are becoming all too familiar.

But as we stare out of our office windows and imagine the Mediterranean seafront there to greet us, all we can do is just that: imagine. So we have decided to swap interior design inspo for travel inspo and get you all in the spirit by sharing some of our favourite holiday locations, along with our own personal photography from the different trips we have been on. And trust me, between us there have been a fair few!

Cat – Account Manager

‘My all-time favourite holiday location is definitely Croatia. I went there a few years ago with my friends and it was honestly so much fun! My favourite cities were Hvar and Vis. Croatia is one of those places that is becoming more and more popular to visit but I can totally understand why. It is affordable, it is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and sunsets, and you have to travel about on a speedboat. What’s not to like?!’

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Kennedy – Account Executive

 

‘It all started with a few too many G&T’s (as any good story does) and a friend of mine, who happens to be a pilot for British Airways, and before I knew it, I had landed in Mexico City. This is now one of my favourite destinations in the world, especially when the Day of the Dead festival is taking place. The costumes, the decorations, the Mayan pyramids which we climbed (not advised on a hangover) – everything is so beautiful. We ended our boozy weekend with a quick flight to Cancun for some much needed silence and snoozing on the beautiful white beaches!’

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Sinead – New Location Library Manager

 

‘My favourite European city has to be Lisbon. It is the San Francisco of Europe and I have visited 5 times! The nightlife, the food, the beaches, the shopping – it really has got it all. The views are amazing from the top of the old town and it also has a really traditional feel to it, mixed with quirky bars and restaurants and the Time Out Mercado da Riberia, which is another level.’

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‘Then I have to give Lalaland a mention. There is no other place quite like LA. Walking down Sunset Boulevard you see all sorts of sights, from dogs skateboarding to 90 year olds doing headstands – anything goes! Also, if you are interested in some star spotting, get yourself to Chateau Marmont. To top off the holiday, I went swimming in the sea at the gorgeous Santa Monica beach after a hot trek up the Hollywood hills.’

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Stephanie – Digital Marketing and SEO Manager

 

‘For me, nothing beats my holiday to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean. It is a great location if you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday with lots of sea and lots of sand. To be honest, I spent most of the time doing water sports, but that suits me perfectly. From snorkelling and seeing sting rays and starfish, to parasailing on the back of a boat – there are so many fun things to do. I also went fishing most days and on one of the days, I caught a shark! The food is incredible, with an array of sea food and the best jerk chicken that I’ve ever had!’

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Sophia – Account Manager

 

‘As a lover of photography, one of the main credentials I look for when on holiday is how beautiful it is and if I can get a good picture. And Barcelona certainly didn’t disappoint in this department. There are so many incredible sights to see including the Plaza Catalunya, Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. When I was there I also visited some flamingos, which, by the way, are my spirit animal. The tapas and paella are utterly delicious and the W Hotel is a great location for cocktails at night (and if you want to almost marry an Australian man, but that’s another story!)’

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Ella – Marketing Coordinator

 

‘Last year, my parents bought my sister and I a trip to New York for our birthdays and it was one of the best weekends of my life! Neither of us had been to America before so we didn’t really know what to expect but we definitely weren’t disappointed. We went during December so we got to experience all kinds of weather, including bright blue skies and blizzards of snow, but it only added to the whole experience. We went up the Empire State and got to see the whole of New York at night; we got a boat to the Statue of Liberty, where I was probably the coldest I have ever been in my entire life; we cycled around Central Park; and we shopped in Brooklyn, Times Square and the Rockefeller Centre, where we also went ice skating. There is never a shortage of things to do (and there is never a shortage of food, either!)’

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Ella x

Tags

holiday, holidays, holidaydestination, holiday location, summer, summer holidays, new york, barcelona, croatia, lisbon, los angeles, caribbean, mexico, location, location agency, filminglocations, londonfilming, photoshoots, photography

Posted 09/05/2018 12:05 PM

Would you like to see your house on the big (or small) screen?

When signing your house up to a location agency, there is always a major risk. Will other people like your house as much you do? Even if they like your house, will clients actually want to book it? Will your house be better than other houses in the industry? These are the questions that run through the minds of many location owners who hire their properties out for shoots. So when your house gets selected to feature in a brand new, hot-off-the-press television programme, you are naturally going to be rather elated, right?

Many of the location owners that we represent have been lucky enough to experience the thrill of seeing their own home on the big (or small) screen over the years. Most recently, our beautiful property ‘Crystal’ was hired to feature in one of the most popular ITV dramas of the moment, Marcella.

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Click to see more photographs of Crystal 


We have also had ‘The Water Tower’ featured in the BBC drama Collateral, ‘The Factory’ featured in Lucky Man, ‘Vertigo’ in BBC series Silent Witness and ‘Studio East’ in Channel 4’s Faces of Four, to name a few.


This trend to film large-scale shoots in real houses, rather than on built-up sets specifically manufactured for filming, is one which is becoming more and more popular. Not only is it cheaper to hire a house, it also makes the shoot appear to be more authentic.

 

Of course, not every location on our books gets selected for larger-scale shoots like these. It takes a certain architectural build, and a certain aesthetic. Filming crews can vary in size, but generally they consist of around forty to fifty people. Consequently, one of the main features that film companies prioritise when scouting for locations is a house with a lot of space, and preferably high ceilings to allow them to manoeuvre their props easily.

They also tend to look for houses with a distinct look; your property could be a manor house in rural Surrey, or a pokey council flat in the Dalston, but if there is something which sets it apart from other properties in the industry, there is more of a chance that it will be chosen for these types of shoots.    

There are certain properties that we represent which are particularly popular amongst film company scouts. Our beautiful Blake House in Battersea is a property which has been selected for these types of shoots, primarily because it is so spacious, with an open plan downstairs area and exceptionally high ceilings. There are also tall windows all around the house, ensuring that lots of natural daylight seeps into the rooms, another major appeal for film companies. The aesthetic is fresh and crisp, with a predominantly monochrome palette which is perfect for those looking for something more modern.


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 Click to see more photographs of Blake House 


At the other end of the spectrum, another location which is also popular for film shoots is our Hackney house, Burlotti. This property is much smaller than Blake House and doesn’t accommodate quite the same large-scale crew potential, but it simply oozes character. It celebrates a mix between high-end and shabby chic, between contemporary and antique, whilst maintaining a feeling of seamless unity from room to room. The property is cute and dainty but incredibly unique and this is the fundamental attraction. 

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 Click to see more images of Burlotti 


If you think your property has got what it takes to appear on the big or small screen, you need to take these factors into account. And it isn’t just houses that film companies look for. They are also interested in warehouses, studios, or even more general spaces which exhibit a very specific aesthetic and can create a very specific atmosphere in order to keep the ‘story’ alive.

Ella x

Tags

locations, londonlocations, filminglocations, londonfilming, interiordesign, londonhouse, marcella, collateral, bbc, itv, dramaseries

Posted 01/05/2018 4:05 PM

Affordable Ways to Transform A Room

In our modern day culture, it is hard to avoid the stunning interior designs that are endlessly posted to our Pinterest pages and Instagram feeds. Whether its white tiled bathrooms, terrazzo flooring or metallic work surfaces, it is becoming increasingly popular to want to emulate these designs and refurbish our own homes. However, for the majority, this process can sometimes feel unachievable if you don’t have the budget to match the expectations of a very critical Instagram audience.

But don’t fret. There are some top tips that you all need to know that will ensure your pad is trendy and up-to-date, without having to take out a loan in order to do it. 

One very easy way to transform the overall aesthetic of a room is by creating a feature wall. In order to do this, all you really need to purchase is a tub of Dulux, which on average costs around £25, and a paintbrush. L'Essenziale - a popular interior design blog – reveals that an extra lick of paint is one of the best tips amongst professionals when it comes to revamping a room. You might also want to create a feature wall out of whacky wallpaper, like The Roost, or even a fabric tapestry, which vary in price but can be really quite affordable.

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 Click to see more photographs of The Roost

Alternatively, if you don’t want to go to such an extent of changing an entire wall, maybe buy some local artwork, or paint your own canvas. This way, you are saving money and putting your own artistic stamp on your house.

If the room you are re-decorating has a bed or a sofa, another useful way to create a new aesthetic is with throws and pillows, just like De Beauvoir have done with their sitting room. These can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be, so it really does depend on your personal taste and budget. However, you can get some which are extremely affordable but are still super stylish.

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 Click to see more photographs of De Beauvoir

One of the most important aspects of any room, in my opinion, is lighting. Whether this be bright and white, or cosy and homely, I think that lighting is the best way to create a certain atmosphere and make you feel a certain way. You might want to buy an antique lamp, like Mile End Road’s, some pretty fairy lights or even some candles, which can be really inexpensive, but create a huge impact on the overall mood of a room.  

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 Click to see more photographs of Mile End Road

As a final piece of advice to you, never underestimate flower power. Whether you buy a bouquet from your local market, or pick some from your back garden, this interior accessory is timeless and the easiest way to brighten up any room.

Ella x

Tags

location, agency, london, home, renovation, wallpaper, featurewall, decor

Posted 20/04/2018 10:04 AM

How to make your home ready for spring

After a week which has felt like we may as well have been in the Maldives, we have started looking at some new interior trends to heat up our homes and get us in the mood for a (hopefully) hot spring…

Butter yellows, powder pinks, baby blues and minty greens are extremely popular right now. One of our favourite new locations, ‘Bille’, has nailed this ‘ice cream palette’ trend, tantalising our interior taste buds with its strawberry pink kitchen units and multi-coloured dining room chairs. Who says mango, vanilla and mint choc-chip aren’t a delicious combination?!


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Billie

For similar locations with gorgeous pops of colour have a look at…

Adventure, Burlotti, Criffel, The Kitchen, Clayhill


Another way to bring a little spring blossom to your boudoir is with foliage. More and more people are introducing plants into their homes and they can be the perfect accessory to bring any room to life. Whether that’s a hanging basket above your dining table, or a standing cactus next to your toilet, a little greenery is always a breath of fresh air.

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Mount Pleasant 

For similar locations have a look at…

Clapton Tram Shed, Balham House, Cotton Studio, Tree House

 

Last, but certainly not least, you can put a little spring into your interior step with a touch of tropical. This trend embraces a mingling of all kinds of colours and textures. Bolds, golds, wooden panels and whacky wallpaper, don’t be afraid to throw it all into the mix just like one of our more extravagant locations, Little Venice, transporting your home from a dreary London, to the exotic Mediterranean.

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 Cavendish Place

For similar locations have a look at…

Flora, Little Venice, The Cube, Kontiki,


Ella x 

Tags

location, agency, spring, interiors, interior design, trends, floral, bright colours