‘A psychedelic fantasy world’: inside frenetic Norfolk holiday home Kaleidoscope House

‘A psychedelic fantasy world’: inside frenetic Norfolk holiday home Kaleidoscope House

With statement wallpaper, contrasting colours and eclectic, Oriental-style pieces, the aptly named Kaleidoscope House presents rural Norfolk in a whole new light.

Fans of conservative, sensible country retreats should probably look away now as the feel of this nine-bedroom property is as daring as it is decadent. The house is best suited to those looking to host an energised weekender that demands a significant amount of character from its setting.

The house
From the outside, this diminutive, red-brick Grade II-listed Georgian house looks smartly traditional. Yet as soon as you pass through the bright yellow door, you enter a psychedelic fantasy world, designed to dazzle and make you smile.

Patterns clash everywhere — herringbone with rainforest foliage, blousy florals with graphic monochrome — but, incredibly, it all works. Or I thought so at least.

The property sleeps 18 in nine bedrooms. Downstairs is a large dining room, two lounges, a WC and a lovely big, bright, homely kitchen and pantry.

The property’s unassuming exterior

An adjoining cottage is accessed just off the kitchen and houses a snug lounge with its own projector screen for watching films (bring your own DVDs) and three bedrooms, with the other six found on the first floor of the main house. In total, there are two communal bathrooms and five en-suites. Throughout the bedrooms are compact but modern.

In the dining room, the slick, black lacquered dining table seats 22 and would be the ideal setting for a themed dinner party. The walls of this striking room are emblazoned with a Seventies black-and-white hexagonal pattern, enlivened (as if they needed to be), by shots of fluorescent pink.

The two lounges are ravishing and probably where this house’s quirky approach best pays off. Velvet sofas and parlour chairs cluster around two wonderful fireplaces in rooms decorated with Chinese urns and vivid botanical prints. The furniture is mainly mid-century, and there’s a curious but wonderful cream enameled, freestanding wooden bar.

A bright clash of patterns and colours in one of the home’s nine bedrooms

Things are more muted in the adjoining cottage, which is finished in black and white motifs and has a small private terrace patio that can be accessed from one of the bedrooms.

The location
The house is in the heart of Snettisham, north Norfolk, a peach of a village that is full of attractive stone houses, little boutiques and a great old pub teeming with all sorts, noon and night.

The observation hides and mud flats of Snettisham nature reserve — a haven for birds — are close by, as is the old-fashioned coastal village and beach at Hunstanton (10 minutes) and trendy Burnham Market (20 minutes.)

What to expect
Kick off a weekend with a morning walk along the coast or around Sandringham House (about four miles away), followed by a mid-afternoon drink at Snettisham’s The Rose and Crown. By the early evening, the pub’s low-beamed rooms are absolutely heaving, so guests will want to get back to Kaleidoscope House’s well-equipped lemon-yellow kitchen in order to get on with dinner.

The large, traditional pantry area has everything guests should need for preparation and cooking, including all manner of gadgets and utensils, while the kitchen has an Aga, a drinks fridge and a coffee machine.

Kaleidoscope House’s dining room seats 22

When the food is ready, the enormous dining table adds an element of grandeur to the occasion and there is a sound system and iPod doc for music. After dinner, guests can move to the lounges to enjoy digestifs besides blazing fires.

Later on, the basement calls and the party can descend to the soundproofed lower-ground level for — “Who me? Oh go on then” — karaoke. Whether you are sleeping upstairs or in the cottage section, the bedrooms are spacious, quiet sanctuaries to escape to when the time comes.

The small but attractive gravel and lawned walled garden at the front of the house has a few wrought iron sun loungers in place for guests hoping to recover in the sunshine the following morning. There is also parking here for six cars and barbecue equipment.

Standout feature
The karaoke cellar — hidden behind a dramatic red velvet curtain — is a real, rare treat. There is space for dancing down here and, while the karaoke system and song list are a touch outdated, there are plenty of ballads and Eighties hits to keep the cheesiest of vocalists happy.

The soundproof basement with DJ decks and karaoke machine

Props and Hollywood-themed dressing up clothes are available for any struggling to lose their inhibitions. There is also a set of record decks for music-lovers with their own vinyl.

Not so keen
Everyone loves a hot tub but the coach house in which it is found feels a bit like a garage and is a disappointing place to go for a soak, no matter how good the company.

The rooms
On the first floor of the main house, two rooms have super-king beds and one has a four poster. Each of the six bedrooms has a bold, individual look, so expect guests to spend a long time deliberating over which is their favourite.

Mine were the teal and floral, neo-baroque room, which has two double beds, and the masculine, black-and-white striped “Versace” room, with its two box windows.

Another of the boldly finished bedrooms

Of the three bedrooms in the cottage, one has a freestanding bath in the room and another has a contemporary four-poster bed, interestingly cut into the shape of a tree canopy. There is also a main bathroom with another bath in this section.

Who it’s good for
The house provides an ideal setting for memorable, animated parties, especially ones involving outrageous costumes and cocktails. The house is a very sociable space and the decor is so full of energy that open-minded guests will find it impossible not to have fun here.

Wedding ready?
No, this is a house in the centre of a village more suited to parties.

Getting there
The house is easy to reach by road, being 70 minutes from Norwich, 90 from Cambridge and two-and-a-half hours’ drive from London along the M11. If coming by train, it is one hour and 50 minutes from Kings Cross to Kings Lynn and then a 25-minute taxi ride to Snettisham.

Cost and how to book
The Big Domain offers the house and connected cottage from £3,689 for seven days. A reduced rate for shorter lets is not available.