Live Like a Londoner: Town House in Spitalfields
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Not your usual guest house: Fiona Atkins, an antiques dealer, began renting rooms over her shop in Spitalfields so that travelers could experience her beloved neighborhood, "an area of London that is like no other," she says. "Spitalfields is a vibrant area for all ages and cultures; for centuries, immigrants have arrived here to begin their new lives in a strange country. Each wave has left its own mark on the area: the French Huguenots and the Jews from eastern Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries and more recently the Bangladeshis." When Atkins bought her early 18th century weaver's house on Fournier Street, it was "virtually derelict. It had never been plumbed or wired, and almost all of the original paneling had been boarded over. But fortunately, this had preserved the original detailing. "It's a somewhat quirky place to stay," she says. "Some floors may slope, the interiors can be drafty, and windows have shutters rather than curtains." For booking information, go to Spitalfields Town House . Above: The living room is decorated with antiques collected by Atkins over the years. Above: The living room overlooks the vibrant Spitalfields streetscape. Above: A wood-burning stove warms the "sometimes drafty" interior. Above: A vignette by Atkins. Above: The table set for dining. Above: Atkins has added a modern kitchen to the premises. Above: An original stairwell leads to the rooms upstairs. Above: A bedroom under the eaves. Above: A new bathroom. Above: An elaborately draped four poster bed.