A self-confessed ‘Lewis Carroll nerd’ has revealed how she spent £130,000 transforming two homes into Alice in Wonderland themed rentals – fit with costumes, teacup stools and a Cheshire cat stained glass window.
Jacqueline Sinclair, 45, bought the oldest house in Brighton, Sussex, for £230,000, after getting fed up of juggling her corporate job in business travel and parenting .
The mum-of-three knew she needed a unique feature to make it stand out as a holiday property in the popular seaside destination.
She decided to use her passion for Lewis Carroll and transform the cottage into an Alice in Wonderland inspired stay, with imagery from the 1865 novel adorning the walls.
Despite being told it was a ‘terrible idea’, bookings started flying in and Jaqueline decided to redecorate another house she had previously been letting out to students and turn it into a unique holiday let.
Jacqueline splashed out £100,000 creating rooms with bespoke furniture, such as bunk beds as playing cards, playing card wallpaper, teaspoon chandeliers and teapot taps.
The Looking Glass cottage sleeps up to eight guests and prices range from £203 to £430 per night.
The income from this has helped single mum Jacqueline to earn enough to support and spend time with her kids – Louis, 13, Bobo, nine, and Coco, eight.
Jacqueline said: ‘My big passion is Victorian Alice and Wonderland. I’m a Lewis Carroll nerd.
‘Everybody told me it was a terrible idea.
‘It was high risk but now who’s laughing. It worked so well.’
The initial idea came about in 2011, as Jacqueline hoped to rent out a property to reduce her working hours and spend more time with her family.
After she realised how competitive the market was in the area and decided on thetheme, she then spent four months decking out the property.
Jacqueline was able to quit her job the same year after a flurry of bookings, before expanding the storybook style into a regency home she previously owned.
‘It needed £70,000 spent on it anyway so I decided to also do it up as an Alice and Wonderland theme,’ she explained.
The five-storey house was completely revamped, with six bedrooms, a lounge, dining room, two kitchens, three shower rooms and a toilet all fitting the aesthetic.
‘There is a magic table that twinkles and changes colour,’ Jacqueline explained.
‘Nothing beats the enchanted dining room. It’s a place that takes a second and third look to find hidden things.’
The regency house was renamed ‘the Wonderland House’ – sleeping up to 24 guests – and ranges from £600 to £1,600 per night.
The property also has costumes and holds hen parties for the ‘bride mad about Alice and Wonderland’.
Jacqueline said she visits and stays in the houses all the time with her kids who ‘love’ the theme.
She now hopes to expand further and bring her Alice and Wonderland unique stays to other towns across the UK.
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