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At midday on 6th October 1990  John Tode 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 the UK's most ordinary house and transform it into a wonderland of inspirational locations, each set in a different time and place.


 The photographs, videos and information included on this website are the result.


 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.


It was quite a brave undertaking, but made more so because the person who started this quarter-century journey could not even wire a household plug. As John Trevillian, he grew a team and his skills – then after finishing, as John Tarrow wrote the novel exploring the deeper mythology and magic of his creation.

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The places we live in are the people we become. So, change your world.




After a series of private commissions, Talliston House & Gardens now offers

a full interiors and design service. 

From the rooms of this inspiring space, the idea is to recycle, upcycle, reclaim and reuse objects, designs, textiles and inspirations from around the world to create new and exciting interior and exterior spaces.


Begin to transform your world with a personal consultation on décor, design, colour and more.

Whether you’re embarking on larger renovation or just need to talk through ideas, get inspiration on colours or to go through the step-by-step process of redecorating a Talliston room, this private and personal consultation is the first step to achieving that whole new look.

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Typical consultations take between two to four hours depending on the complexity of the project. 


Your consultation begins with a complimentary call to discover a little about your project and set a date for the visit. This will allow us to listen to your inspiration and ideas, and give a background to what you are trying to achieve. This will give the scale of change, scope and what is required, plus gives a chance to get to get acquainted.


Then, during the visit, we will take that concept and carefully consider the space, light and architecture of your rooms, one by one. Afterwards, we will supply a visual specification with your painter or decorator, helping ensure the correct colour, design, finish and quantities are ordered for your home.

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