Muslin-and-lace 'shrine' to Laura Ashley for rent at pounds 1,000 a week

THE ESTATE agent was choosing her words carefully as she looked around Abingdon Villas, a four-storey Victorian House in a quiet west London street. 'Well it's all a bit 'busy',' she said. 'Not my taste but some people will love it. They'll think it's well worth a pounds 1,000 a week to live in here,' writes Liz Hunt.

From attic to cellar, the house is a sprigged-muslin and lace-enshrouded shrine to the memory of Laura Ashley, who designed it herself in the early 1980s. The present owner is anxious to discourage voyeurs, but the Independent was given a sneak preview of what any would-be tenant would 'inherit'. Interest is high, particularly among Americans, according to Chestertons Rental.

Few words are needed to describe the interior - festooned, swathed, draped and pleated will probably do . . . a draper's fantasy. In the tent room, or boudoir, on the mezzanine, every available inch of space - ceilings, walls, alcoves, and the single bed - is adorned in a pale lemon fabric littered with multi-coloured stripes and flowers, while scarlet fringes and tassles offer relief - of sorts - to the eye. The bathroom is a riot of blue and white stripes, sprigged curtains and pelmets. Even the lavatory bowl is glazed with a transfer of daisies.

Mrs Ashley showed some restraint in the Master Bedroom, which has a harmonious grey and lemon colour scheme dominated by a magnificent canopied bed, but is largely chintz-free. But even the basement utility room did not escape - a delicate blue border, unmistakably Ashley, runs around the grimy little room.

(Photograph omitted)

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