During the first years of The Muppet Show tapings, before he bought his house on Downshire Hill in Hampstead in May 1979, Jim stayed in various hotels, rented apartments and homes in London. For season one, Jim stayed at two different addresses in Kensington – Harley Gardens and Claybon Mews. For the second season, Jim rented #12 Frognal Gardens in Camden, perhaps charmed by the location’s name. And for the first half of the third season, home was a hotel — the Holiday Inn Swiss Cottage near Regents Park.
That summer, Jim shot The Muppet Movie which included a small role for James Coburn, and that may have been how Jim met the owner of his next residence, Lynsey de Paul, then Coburn’s girlfriend. A singer/songwriter, Lynsey de Paul was a popular fixture on the entertainment scene on both sides of the Atlantic — so if not through Coburn, Jim may very well have met her socially. Jim stayed in a small house on the property that Lisa Henson, who visited Jim there with her mother Jane, remembered as being a small guest cottage in the garden that felt more like it was in the country than in the middle of London. At that point, Jim began to look seriously for a permanent address and started negotiations on a house on Church Row near Frognal Gardens. Within months, he purchased his home on Downshire Hill. The location near the Hampstead Heath was ideal for long, contemplative walks, and Jim eventually took over an old postal building across the street to house his Creature Shop where it remained until its relocation to Camden Town in 1992.