Mad About . . ., Mad About The House

10 Beautiful Rooms

23rd January 2017
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studio flat via alexanderwhite.se photo by henrik nero

studio flat via alexanderwhite.se photo by henrik nero

Hello and welcome to this week’s round up of 10 Beautiful Rooms. Starting off with this studio flat in Sweden which just shows what you can do with a small space. Admittedly, it’s full of fabulous windows, but the owners have had to contend with a sloping ceiling and what is quite a long narrow space. I love the idea of the glass wall to separate the living from the sleeping and note how the rug creates a sitting zone.

The colour palette is minimal to try and bring a sense of space and light but it’s all held together with the same flooring throughout, which also brings warmth to all those pale greys. Points to note? In open plan and/or small space living; keep the number of colours minimal, use rugs to zone and paint the walls the same throughout the space. The natural angles and the play of light through the day will make it look different and create shadows.

pale blue walls by henrik nero

pale blue walls by henrik nero

Of course you could also try a neutral colour – by which I mean a soft blue/green which will, in some lights, appear almost grey. This colour above looks fabulous with vintage wood and brass but would also happily take on a soft pink. It’s much more versatile than you might think and I speak as someone who doesn’t really like pale blue.

neutral room with pops of colour by henrik nero

neutral room with pops of colour by henrik nero

I love the unexpected addition of the red chair in this room above. It’s all so well-behaved and neutral and then bang! A red chair. It’s what Daniel Hopwood would call that element of naughtiness. Now, we all have our own definitions of what makes naughty but it’s that unexpected touch that stops a room being just a sea of well-behaved neutrals. For Daniel’s top tips small spaces then do read his guest post if you haven’t already.

vintage eames chairs photo by Dana van Leeuwen

vintage eames chairs photo by Dana van Leeuwen

More Eames chairs and this time in a mismatch of muddy vintage shades. I have these chairs, but mine are all ivory. They came from our old house where they sat at the end of a kitchen, which was painted raspberry pink, and we didn’t need anything more unexpected going on in that spot. In our current house they are well-behaved and matching and I yearn for a rogue green one.

pale green walls and blush bed by henrik nero

pale green walls and blush bed by henrik nero via AlexanderWhite.se

There really is no escaping the green at the moment. Whether you like the vibrant leaf colour of Pantone (I don’t) or prefer softer more muted, smoky shades (I do) it’s everywhere. And, as you can tell from these images it goes with everything from the mustard yellow chair above, to the soft blush pink headboard and the tan leather of the sofa below.

brown leather sofa and plants in the home of yvonne kwakkel

brown leather sofa and plants in the home of yvonne kwakkel

I reckon if you’d suggested tan leather and green a couple of years ago everyone would have shouted “1970s” and run screaming from the room. But here these colours seem so absolutely of the moment and so perfect that I wish my own sitting room looked like this. I think it’s to do with the basic monochrome/grey background that sets off these colours so well.

black bath and white metro tiles by mikkel vang for ashe + leandro

black bath and white metro tiles by mikkel vang for ashe + leandro

A couple of bathrooms for you now. Both are slightly modern rustic in feel. Now I appreciate we can’t all have our baths sitting in pretty little arches behind crittal doors but it’s the tiles I want to focus on. Classic white metro tiles will never go out of fashion – although there have been attempts to update the look with grey grout or laying them herringbone style – but you don’t need to be fancy. Try just using more – and they are the cheapest tiles around – cover the whole wall rather than just a discreet splashback area. Then, if you were lucky enough to have a bath like this you could paint it differently as the mood took you. A couple of years of black and then, ooh – while we’re on the subject – say green?

modern rustic bathroom styled by cleo scheulderman

modern rustic bathroom styled by cleo scheulderman for hkliving photo by sjoerd eickmans

This bathroom has gone the other way entirely with not a tile in sight. The rustic ladder – another device that has been used a lot in magazines but is, actually, a practical solution to a small space – and the bathmat that looks like a rug. I have been seriously contemplating this for my bathroom (see my instagram for a picture of it today) but am worried it might be too cream. I guess the only way to find out is to order it and see…. I’ll keep you posted.

back to back sofas by ashe + leandro

back to back sofas by ashe + leandro

A slight change of pace here for this luxurious sitting room which belongs to Naomi Watts and was featured in Architectural Digest.  Now I didn’t know it was hers when I found this picture, but I was talking to a client a couple of weeks ago about putting two sofas back to back in a large open plan space. She (my client that is not Naomi) has a large French window at the back and is wanting to install a wood burning stove to the front. The best way to take advantage of both views, and to create two seating areas – one summer,one winter – is to create a seating area like this.

You wouldn’t have to have the console table if there wasn’t room and note how the sofas are quite narrow; it’s the cushions that are fat. One to ponder anyway, if you live in an open plan space. It’s also something to consider if you have one of those Victorian terrace houses with a knock through double living room. As long as the opening has been created to be as wide as possible then this can be a good way to make use of both spaces. So often the back one is just a passage to the kitchen.

railings by farrow and ball

railings by farrow and ball

Finally, panelling. This is what I want to do in my kitchen – see below. I think it would bring interest and cosiness to what is essentially a box on the back of the room. Himself is slightly sticking his fingers in his ears and singing when I mention it. I am aware there is a radiator issue – we’ll get to that when I win the panelling war. I am playing the long game. At the very least I want a vintage green Eames chair in there.

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 15.08.11

What do you think of today’s selections. I hope you haven enjoyed it and I’ll see you all tomorrow for my interview with the winner of The Great Interior Design Challenge – which is an interesting story even if you didn’t see the show.

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  • Janet Whincup 23rd January 2017 at 5:21 pm

    I love the settees back to back, that’s a great idea. Just a pity that our current house doesn’t have large enough rooms.

    • Jo 5th February 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Hi there can someone tell me the colour on the walls the pale green- love it!

  • Hannah Gilmour 23rd January 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Love, love, love your blog and Instagram feed! I started following you when you bought your gorgeous new kitchen table and I’ve been glued to your feed ever since! I’m currently having my bathroom gutted (nightmare!) so I’ve been reading your brilliant articles on the subject. The lighting article was fab! Like you I’ve gone for dark walls (stiffkey blue. Bathroom is north facing), white metro-ish tiles on the wall, hexagon tiled marble floor and mid grey roll top bath. What I’m now looking for is a nice bath mat – can I find one?… no! the closest I’ve got is those from Abanja – and only a couple stocked by Woodgrey in the UK. Sadly too cream! G&G one is great but like you I need something more white. Something cotton-y and interesting looking. I would love to know where I can buy a TASTEFUL bath mat!?!

  • Libby 23rd January 2017 at 10:46 am


    Sorry about the spelling mistake. my fingers are just too fast! I CAN spell “BLOG.”

  • Libby 23rd January 2017 at 10:41 am


    I am new to your BOG but it is just what I need to start a new year full of good intentions.
    We are about to install a standard small fitted kitchen – galley shaped with doors at both ends and a good existing red tile floor. The house is UK 1920’s. Have you ideas too keep it clear and light. Perhaps NO wall cup boards along the longer walls (one of which will have central cooker and the other a sink and window.) We fancy GREY unit doors below and warm beech work tops. A lot of storage is not essential. Do you favour built in fridge, or is this dated?

  • Stella 23rd January 2017 at 10:30 am

    The red chair is perfect, as is the gold table lamp in the penultimate image.
    Panelling would work beautifully in the dining section – you’d have to change the rad though – a column one in the same colour as the panelling would be very nice.

    Fiona, I have a column rad in front of a panelled wall in a WC which I think works well but agree that UFH is the way to go in bathrooms anyway.

  • Fiona Duke 23rd January 2017 at 8:33 am

    Last comment seems to have disappeared so will try again! Just fitting panelling into a beautiful ensuite bathroom at the moment which I’m very excited about. Interesting that you mention the radiator as I couldn’t get my head around a radiator on the panelling so going under floor heating as it’s an unusually large bathroom but would be very interested if you have an image of one where it works…….. ?

  • Fiona Duke 23rd January 2017 at 8:24 am

    Just about to install panelling in a client’s bathroom which I’m very excited about. Interesting you mention the radiator as I just couldn’t get me head around putting one on the panelling so going under floor heating to avoid. If you’ve seen a pic where it works well would love to see it ?

  • Sandra 23rd January 2017 at 8:13 am

    Today, the mismatched chairs, bathroom rug and a surprise element in the room have caught my attention. Great start to the week.

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