In 1773 Elizabeth, Countess of Home, commissioned George III’s architect, James Wyatt, to build a sophisticated pavilion at 20 Portman Square, designed purely for enjoyment and entertainment. The notorious Countess, aptly known as ‘The Queen of Hell’, was in her late 60s, twice widowed, childless and rich. She was born in Jamaica, married the son of the Governor of Jamaica and inherited a large fortune when he died. She came to England and married William, 8th Earl of Home in 1742. He deserted her shortly thereafter.
In 1775, Wyatt was sacked from the Home House project and his competitor Robert Adam, one of the most celebrated architects of his day, was appointed to complete the house. It is a triumph of Adam’s that he was able to convert a shell of a house into one of the most sumptuous neoclassical interiors in London, and Home House is acknowledged as Robert Adam’s finest surviving London townhouse.
The interior is conceived as a series of grand reception rooms, beginning with a typically austere hall and leading to one of the most breathtaking tours de force in European architecture: Adam’s Imperial staircase, which rises through the entire height of the house to a glass dome to reveal the sky above.
Fast forward some 200-plus years and Home House is London’s most exclusive private members’ club, effortlessly fusing 18th-century splendour with 21st-century style. An exceptional range of facilities are on offer to members, including two
restaurants, four bars, decadent party rooms ~ The Vaults, an intimate garden for al fresco dining, and 23 elegant bedrooms and suites.
An enviable calendar of social events and societies are offered with activities such as wine tasting, debating and legendary members’ parties that punctuate the social calendar four times a year. In what was originally the scullery below stairs, is one of London’s premier boutique health and fitness gyms, with personal training available from Home House’s very own team of personal trainers.
The House is a truly glamorous backdrop for any type of celebration ~ from cocktails or dinner with friends in one of the bars or dining rooms, to an elegant wedding in the lavish banqueting suites, it is London’s best-kept secret, right in the heart of town.
Appealingly for members ~ there are no stuffy rules.
Well, just one: ‘nudity is discouraged’. Mischief, on the other hand, is de rigueur.