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House Curious

Lifestyle and interior shop. Social workshops for the creatively curious.

HOW I USED MY HOME TO SET UP MY DREAM BUSINESS

Sommer Pyne

 Photo by Gavin Smith

Photo by Gavin Smith

Your home can be so much more than just a roof over your head.  My home is my sanctuary, creative hub, a family home and my business. My business was built on using my home to host gatherings where people could learn a craft and share a meal together. I love sharing my home with new friends and the energy I see when people gather for shared passions is super satisfying (see our next event here). 

Your home can be used in so many wonderful and creative ways. And it may even make you a bit of money on the side! A little extra cash to put on the mortgage or extra money to hit the shops sounds good, right? The only limitation is your imagination - think pop-up shop, supper clubs, airBnB or even a location for films and fashion shoots.

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Who’s been watching the BBC drama McMafia, based on the Russian underground criminal world? The eight-part series finished last week but you can watch it on catch-up if you missed it. You may have noticed something familiar about the main character Alex Godman's (played by James Norton) house. Not only have I been enthralled in the storyline but I was intrigued to see how my Victorian house was to be transformed into a mews house which features throughout the series. Did you spot it? I’ve had quite a few people asking me if it was House Curious and they would be correct!

 Photo by Gavin Smith

Photo by Gavin Smith

I often rent my house out for fashion shoots and commercials but this was a much bigger production and it took a lot of convincing initially for us to agree to the filming. Yes, it’s exciting but I also love my house and inevitably with a big production crew of 50 or more damages were inevitable. We also needed to move out for two and a bit weeks whilst the set designers transformed our house and filming took place.  We were lucky enough to be put up in a hotel because it wasn't realistic to stay in the house while they were filming. The production crew removed my furniture and replaced it with different furniture and accessories. They even built fake walls and windows to turn the house into what we see as a mews house in the programme. The only piece of furniture that was mine was the bed. Not many people can say that they had James Norton in their bed lol.

 Photo by Gavin Smith

Photo by Gavin Smith

I’ll admit, the shoots can at times be quite disruptive to family life. But if you’re prepared to open your home, it can be quite lucrative! It’s worth remembering that any style and size of home can work for shoots, you never know what the creative director’s vision is! 

 Photo by Gavin Smith

Photo by Gavin Smith

The money I have made has allowed me to set up the House Curious shop. Without this I would have needed to get a loan, so for me it's been a positive experience and allowed me to set up my dream business. If you’re thinking of using your house as a shoot location here are some things to consider when preparing your home for its close up:

It’s best to list your home with a few location agencies. Do your research though as some agencies may be better suited to your type of property.

You will need good quality photos of every room that can be uploaded to the location agencies site.

The agency takes 20% on every job and as it’s an income you will also need to pay tax.

Depending on the job they may ask if they can wallpaper a wall or paint a room. I always opt out of these jobs but for some people this could be a bonus and a chance to update a room for free.

Having house rules is really important so make sure the agency is aware of your rules.  I have a no shoe policy, no dragging of furniture, all rubbish must be removed, floors must be protected from equipment etc.

A central location within the M25 is desirable and off street parking is a bonus but not essential.

All production companies have their own insurance but it’s worth checking with your home insurance that you don’t need further cover.

The Agency that got me the job with McMafia was JJ Connect and the other main Agency that I’m listed with is 1st Option.

I hope that gives a little insight into using your house as a location venue and making a little extra cash on the side. If you have any other questions that you would like to know about renting your house out for shoots please ask below and I will answer each question.

Have a great day,

Sommer x