10 Beautiful Rooms

Hello everyone, are you ready for this week’s edition of 10 Beautiful Rooms? This week we’re dividing things up between light and dark.

C + E -Zoe-Chan-050-web-1600-px
image courtesty of Chan + Eayrs

First of all a series of rooms by the firm Chan + Eayrs  whose first project The Herringbone House featured on these pages a few months ago. They describe their style as Arts and Crafts meets Japansese modernism with a dash of Wabi Sabi. In the absence of anything more articulate I’ll go along with that, although for a more easily understood vernacular I might try elegant modern rustic. Which, now I come to think of it is how I might ideally define my favourite style.

C + E Zoe-Chan-027-web-1600-px
image courtesty of Chan + Eayrs

As you can see the colour palette is minimal so this look relies on texture for its success. Intricate tiling, marble and wood mix with both antique and modern furniture to bring it all together.

image courtesty of Chan + Eayrs

Above all the colours are soft – bare plaster pink walls and dark windows to frame the views outside. A dilapidated chair and a few plants for life and greenery. It’s a lot harder to pull off than it looks – mainly because most of us have too much stuff to ape the minimalistic Japanese look.

image courtesty of Chan + Eayrs

I’d like to try it but I think it’s not for my current house. Although The Mad Husband announced the other day that he was currently loving all the pale rooms in our house. I took this as a warning shot across the bows in case I had a secret plan to bring in more colour. Which of course I did. You don’t get to spend 22 years with someone and not know when they’re plotting. However, I think it takes more than 20 years to know instinctively WHAT that plot may be. Just that there may be one.

C + E Zoe-Chan-052-web-1600-px
image courtesty of Chan + Eayrs

I’m saying nothing, but on that note we will drop into this gorgeous dark space belonging to Fiona Cameron of I featured her incredibly clever Ikea wardrobe hack on the blog a few weeks back (last image) and am delighted to be able to show you more of her home.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
room painted in farrow & ball london clay image courtesy of around the houses

Fiona lives in Edinburgh and says that the long winters and dark days meant that her overriding concern when decorating this “incredibly bland” house that she moved into three years ago was to make it a cosy retreat.

“Dark walls create a cocooning atmosphere and it’s like coming home to a big hug,” she says.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
farrow & ball’s london clay brings out the panelling in Fiona Cameron’s home

“Dark walls aren’t just for winter though. On (rare) sunny days I enjoy the way the light brings out the richness of the colours. Dark decor has added sophistication and created an impression of luxury in my home despite most of my furniture being inexpensive or vintage finds.

“It works particularly well with mid-century furniture and acts as a great backdrop for art making everything pop.”

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
dark walls is like coming home to a big hug says Fiona Cameron of

Mind you, all that original panelling and cornicing doesn’t hurt either. This house may be been bland when Fiona bought it but it was always beautiful. But of course you want to know what colours she has used to achieve this.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
walls in farrow & ball hague blue

The sitting room is in Farrow & Ball London Clay and the dining room – pictured above and below – are in trusty Hague Blue. Apparently she is has painted the hallway Inchyra blue but she can’t show us yet because…. drum roll…

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
dark colours are the perfect foil to mid-century furniture says Fiona Cameron of

She’s making a chandelier. I know. I feel inadequate. The last thing I made was a cup of coffee. Still, I’m sure she’ll tell us how to do it afterwards and for the rest of you I’ll point you in the direction of the shops.


Fiona’s blog is linked above but you can also follow her on instagram 

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.