CEO & Founder of The Other House, Naomi Heaton, is an acclaimed London property expert and knows the streets and neighbourhoods of prime Central London like the back of her hand. Here, she shares her unique insights and insider tips on South Kensington and why it was the perfect location for her first Residents Club.
Why did you choose South Kensington for The Other House?
Our intention for The Other House has always been to open several locations within prime Central London. When I first saw the 11 Victorian terraced houses that make up The Other House South Kensington, the first of our Resident’s Clubs, it was love at first sight. To me, it perfectly encapsulates what’s so wonderful about this part of town – convenience, culture, striking architecture and ‘village’ appeal. Restoring buildings in need of love and attention and reintroducing them into the neighbourhood for future generations and travellers to enjoy has been a thrilling process.
What nostalgic or personal ties do you have to the area?
I have long called W1 home but one of my earliest memories is visiting The Natural History Museum and seeing Dippy, the enormous 26m long dinosaur – I’m sure it’s delighted millions of children around the world.
South Kensington is a cultural hotspot – where/what is a must for new locals to the area?
As London’s arts and science district, the choices here are endless, but for me, it has to be the Victoria and Albert Museum. With a keen interest in interior design, I love nothing more than wandering through the unfolding displays of Domestic Interiors since the Renaissance, to fuel my inspiration. From Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen evening dresses, it’s a powerhouse of exciting exhibitions.
What’s your favourite way to spend a Friday evening in the area?
I’d start at our destination cocktail bar, the Owl & Monkey. There aren’t many bars in London with treetop views in-doors, so it’s a great way to kick off the night in style! Lead by our talented Bar Manager, Flavio Russo, our classic and signature cocktails – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – are as exciting as the bar is glamorous, and as flamboyant as its interiors.
I’d then head to The Royal Albert Hall; it simply can’t be beaten. Last year we had a very special evening there at Raise the Roof with Jools Holland in support of men’s healthcare charity Prostate Cancer UK which my husband, Jonathan Waxman, founded. It has long held a special place in my heart, so I always look to see what’s on when we have visitors in town.
How would you spend a quiet day off?
Cromwell Place is a vibrant hub for the arts with an incredibly exciting roster of exhibitions and events. One of their current displays, The Value of Things, curated by Brian Kennedy, is a piece that questions meaningless consumption and the importance of collecting objects that you enjoy and preserve. Their exhibitions always help me see the world through different eyes.
If you’re not au fait with South Kensington, the Royal London Walking Tour will take you across some of the most beautiful attractions in Central London. In three hours, you will see palaces, gardens, parks, and memorials – a particular must for fans of the Royal family!
Where is the ultimate shopping spot in South Ken?
The Conran Shop, on the Fulham Road, located in the stunning Art Deco Michelin House, has been a go-to of mine for years. Their signature mix of design classics and one-off vintage finds make it a perfect spot for gifts and a quick retail fix.
And finally, where’s your favourite hidden gem in the area?
Tucked away behind rows of Victorian terraced houses, Prince’s Garden is mostly known only by locals. Originally designed as a private garden square for very grand families, the square is still technically private, being owned by Imperial College, but is open to all to enjoy. Although only one row of houses away from Exhibition Road with its many tourists, it’s a remarkably peaceful space.