The hell of living in an Insta-famous house in Notting Hill (2024)

Last week, Amelia Shean heard a knock at her door, but when her boyfriend went to answer it, they discovered it wasn't for either of them.

'We have an antique door knocker,' she explains. 'It's very heavy and people were using it as part of their shot. They were holding it to stage a photograph, and they'd let it fall so it sounded like someone was knocking.'

It's not the first time something like this has happened. 'We also had a man walking past the window again and again until he knocked on the door to ask if he could come and take a look around inside,' she says.

Her boyfriend, 37, had recently seen a TikTok dance routine being set up in the street, but chose not to investigate further.

If you think it's bad having to run downstairs to take delivery of your neighbour's parcels, imagine how annoying it is to have strangers not just knocking on your door, but organising photo shoots and dance routines in front of your house.

This is what happens when you move into one of London's most picturesque streets.

Amelia Shean, 31,founder of Shean Communications, lives in one of London's most picturesque streets

What she hadn't realised was that she'd have to share her home with hordes of Instagrammers and TikTokers who want to use it as a pretty backdrop

When the opportunity to rent in Hillgate Village in West London came along, Amelia, 31, founder of Shean Communications, jumped at the chance as two-bedroom houses here sell for an average of £1.5million.

After all, who wouldn't want their first home with their boyfriend to be a pastel-hued terraced house that's straight out of a Richard Curtis rom-com?

What she hadn't realised was that she'd have to share her home with hordes of Instagrammers and TikTokers who want to use it as a pretty backdrop.

'I can't remember the last time I didn't see someone taking photos or a group posing together. It's a daily occurrence.'

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It's a fate shared by a handful of other homeowners in London who live in similar rainbow-coloured streets, such as Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill or Bywater Street in Chelsea, or pretty mews homes, such as the one in the 'to me you are perfect' scene in Love Actually.

'I think it must be listed on some website of the prettiest houses in London, as it's strange how many people are turning up,' Amelia says.

'It's not unusual for me to look out of the window and see multiple shoots going on at weekends. The largest group I've seen is about eight.

'I used to live just off Portobello Road, where there's another street with lots of beautiful, coloured houses. They have ropes outside theirs to stop people going up and down the stairs and taking photos… but I had no idea that people came here to take pictures before we moved in.'

She says it is 'crazy' how early tourists start taking photos in the street.

The first few arrive as she is still bleary-eyed and leaving for work. 'It's like Shaun Of The Dead,' she laughs.

'All of the people are in groups and are dazed and confused. They are always doing that rocking backwards and forwards on one foot thing — as if you're walking somewhere — that everyone does on Instagram. Then they quickly go back to check their phones to see if they like the pictures or not.

'The other day, I saw people going back and forth like that for 20 minutes.'

In Notting Hill influencers set up tents for outfit changes outside popular houses

She says the only time no one is there taking pictures is when it's dark. 'It was a compliment at the beginning but now it is slightly annoying as they get in the way when you're on your commute.

'Sometimes I'll have to wait inside the house for a few minutes while they finish up, to avoid being part of the shot myself.'

Living in such a pretty home makes you house proud, particularly when people are taking so many photographs of the front. 'I wanted to have flowers in the flower boxes outside,' Amelia says.

'But people kept sitting on them and breaking them accidentally when taking pictures, so now I'm going to get some beautiful fake ones.'

When she first moved in, her mother bought her a Christmas wreath for the front door. 'It had a really big gorgeous bow on it,' she remembers. 'Within three days, the huge satin centrepiece had vanished. Why not just take the whole wreath?'

Parcels have never gone missing, but delivery men often have to circumvent the photographers, who sometimes stand in the road.

While Amelia is keeping a sense of humour about her Instafamous house, not all residents are as relaxed.

In Notting Hill, where influencers set up tents for outfit changes outside popular houses, one resident started leaving stains on the ground by her front door to deter visitors, while others have thought about repainting their houses a plain colour — and even moved out to avoid the throngs.

Amelia isn't planning to move, nor has she bought a rope yet to cordon off her VIP residence, but she has bought dark glasses and keeps her head down as she walks in and out of her house, so nobody asks her to take pictures.

Like a celebrity? I say. 'Yes, except obviously I'm not,' she laughs. But her house is.

The hell of living in an Insta-famous house in Notting Hill (2024)
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