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Our seven fav arty house tours

An artist’s residence usually has a little summ’n summ’n for everyone; whether you’re a major fangirl for its former occupant or a lil freak for interior design. And when you’re being guided around by someone just as passionate as you? That’s amore. Here are seven of the best.

Salvador Dali House Museum | Portlligat Spain

[Portlligat, Spain]

Dalí’s sprawling hillside estate in this tiny seaside village started life as a row of fishermen’s cottages, which he pimped considerably over the years, building an egg-shaped ‘acoustic room’, and a characteristically ostentatious swimming pool. Despite its grandiosity, he only ever built the one bedroom, so guests would have to stay at the local hotel and leave him and his wife Gala in peace. 

Kettle's Yard | Jim Eade | Cambridge UK

[Cambridge, UK]

Jim Eade had one important request when he left his house and art collection to the University of Cambridge following his death: the lemon, situated in the first room near a Joan Miró painting called Tic Tic, must be refreshed regularly, so as it maintain the balance of the space, Tic Tic featuring a yellow splodge of paint in its right hand corner. This detail is emblematic of Kettle’s Yard as a whole; the harmoniousness of the art with the natural.

Donald Judd Foundation | Spring Street NYC

[New York City, USA]

This former factory turned studio and residence in New York’s SoHo is one of two major attractions for Donald Judd fangirls [the other is in Marfa, Texas]. The space is typical Judd: textured, well-proportioned, minimal. It is a haven of calm within the chaos of Manhattan.

Le Pin Perdu | Huismes France | Max Ernst Dorothea Tanning

[Huismes, France]

Nestled in an inconspicuous village in the French countryside, with only the smallest of plaques to announce its artistic former residents, is the last home of Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning. Although the house itself is not open to the public, the current owner has turned Ernst’s garden studio and outhouses into a shrine of sorts, and if you ring the bell you’ll be welcomed to an enthusiastic tour of his impressive collection of Max Ernst paraphernalia. 

The Glebe Gallery | Derek Hill | Letterkenny Ireland

[Letterkenny, Ireland]

This former Co. Donegal rectory was home to Derek Hill for nearly thirty years. The charming pink house is decked out in William Morris textiles and objets d’art which include Picasso ceramics, plus Hill’s own gorgeous paintings. The informality of the arrangement feels as if he has just popped out and you are wandering the house as a friend, rather than a tourist.  

La Casa Azul | Frida Kahlo | Mexico

[Mexico City, Mexico]

Although she spent some years in the infamous bridged house with her husband Diego Rivera, the Blue House of Coyoacán was where Frida Kahlo was born, lived as a child, and spent her later adult years before she died in an upstairs bedroom in 1954. It has been left largely as was, complete with trinkets, paintings and an archive containing thousands upon thousands of photographs of art’s most recognisable face. 

Lee Miller Roland Penrose | Farleys House and Gallery | Chiddingly UK

[Chiddingly, UK]

The complex of farmhouse and land where Lee Miller and Roland Penrose lived has been kept in the family, and is now managed as an open house gallery by their son and granddaughter. It is the ultimate destination for fans of surrealist art, not only for its collection of treasures but for the feeling of walking the same halls as the greats: Man Ray, Leonora Carrington, and Picasso were all visitors. 


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