Mad About . . ., Mad About The House

10 Beautiful Rooms

16th January 2017
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Aaaand it’s Monday again. Comes round fast doesn’t it? I was drawn to this inside out picture this week. The soft greys framed by the black frames and the olive tree living in the bedroom rather than on the deck. Given that I have now finished painting our bedroom in soft shade of grey I’m wondering if an olive tree would like to live in it. Somehow I doubt it but it’s a nice idea.

Perhaps the answer is to buy some pale greeny grey bedding to achieve that particular colour combination.

lyon apartment by maison-hand.com

lyon apartment by maison-hand.com

More generous foliage in this French apartment with its large marble island and worn parquet floor. I have to say I prefer it like this to the highly polished version of my Grandmother’s house which was basically one giant slip hazard waiting to happen. Add to that the rugs that slid over the top and the numerous tiny steps between each room and it’s wonder any of us got out of there alive.


wooden floors and walls in this apartment by maison-hand.com

More soft grey, this time in timber cladding on the walls. It’s a look I love but I think this will be for my second home. Or perhaps a house that isn’t in the city. It feels a little too rustic for the capital but would be perfect it the country and if that was where I lived that is what I would have.

railings by farrow and ball

railings by farrow and ball

For a slightly more city or refined look I would like this panelling. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that this is my current obsession for the kitchen. Which we have no plans to decorate (sound of hollow laughter rings round). The Mad Husband has suggested panelling one all of the library – I hate that it sounds so pretentious to call it that – it’s the back half of the sitting room that isn’t on the same level as the sitting room (so it’s not quite the same room) and it’s full of books. Anyway, it was his idea to cover the wall that doesn’t have shelves on it with panelling. I’m trying to persuade him – gently, gently. I’ve barely mentioned it yet – that I would like to do the far end of the kitchen by the table.

So far we have agreed that we are not actually discussing it in a realistic, actually going to do it, shall I get the tape measure kind of way. Which means that it’s all I can think about and he has forgotten that I ever mentioned it.

gubi beetle chair photo by Jesper Florbrant

gubi beetle chair photo by Jesper Florbrant

Sticking with the grey walls as the perfect backdrop, this image is from Gubi to showcase their beetle chair. Green is everywhere at the moment and it’s so beautiful with grey that none of us need to do any redecorating when we succomb to the lure of the leaf.

photo by jonas berg for the Sandberg wallpaper trend report

photo by jonas berg for the Sandberg wallpaper trend report

Back to panelling for this gorgeous wallpaper image. I think it’s probably only realistic to panel one room of a house – given that we aren’t Georgians, so this will have to be for my fantasy bedroom. Or bathroom. I rather love the prettiness of the floral wallpaper but keeping it black and white gives it an edge that pastel colours wouldn’t.

This kitchen diner is a wonderful space but I imagine that many of you will find it a little stark. Think of it as the start. Add a rug perhaps, a large plant some lemons in that bowl and the whole thing has been slightly softened. Books are the other thing. A room without books is like a house without windows I think no-one ever actually said. Perhaps it was a body without a soul. Anyway, you get the idea. Just add books is very often the solution to any room.

black and white kitchen by multiform

black and white kitchen by multiform

You could apply the same thinking to this black and white kitchen above. All the fittings are gorgeous, it just doesn’t quite look like anybody lives there.

Finally it’s back to the soft greys from the top. Painting up to the picture rail allows the ceiling to feel higher as it extends down over the walls rather than drawing the eye to the harsh line where horizontal meets vertical. Painting this way will make the room seem taller. And note how this grey welcomes the olive green and blush pinks and makes the whole room feel sophisticated and elegant. The kitchen stool with its black legs provides the perfect anchor and stops it all fading away into nothingness.

One tip – think about painting the inside of your cupboards in a contrasting colour. It will make your heart sing a little every time you open them. And on that note – enjoy the rest of your day. I hope you like these rooms.


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  • Nicky Hufford 18th January 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I totally empathise with the softly softly approach when getting a husband on board with the latest grand plan…..while they have passed comment and moved swiftly on, you are left obsessing about it day and night, trawling through internet info and images and wondering when you might casually mention it again……

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 18th January 2017 at 2:53 pm

      EXACTLY THAT! And also not quite daring to mention it in case they turn completely against it and veto it for ever and then you have nothing to obsess about. Because, clearly, that was the ONLY, thing that you wanted to do IN THE WHOLE HOUSE and nothing else will ever be as interesting again…. oooh look wallpaper….

  • Tracey Niblock 17th January 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Kate – any idea where the chairs in the black and white multiform kitchen come from? Currently looking for something similar (although slightly lighter wood)

  • Brenda Chipman 16th January 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Good morning Kate!

    I love your blog and have a quick question. I am trying to start a blog and was wondering about the pictures you use. Do you have to get permission to use them or if you just give credit below the picture is that sufficient for legal purposes? If you wouldn’t mind pointing me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.


    • Kate Watson-Smyth 17th January 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Brenda

      You should always credit and link. Pinterest is not a source it’s a search engine. Permission is always good where possible. Good luck with your blog, Kate

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