10 Beautiful Rooms

And it’s October already. Some of you will have received my newsletter, which I hope you are enjoying. Anyone who missed it can sign up here for either monthly (newsletter) or daily (blog) updates and I will try not to double up on news.

senato hotel milan
senato hotel milan

Last week I visited the home of Abigail Ahern, who has collaborated with Hillarys Blinds to create a range of 19 fabrics. I’m going to tell you more about that tomorrow, so either subscribe so you don’t miss it, or come back then to find out more about the collection. Now I wasn’t sure what it would be like so it’s testament to how much I like it that it’s appearing tomorrow because I wasn’t asked for any coverage and didn’t plan on giving it any unless I genuinely liked it.

black white and gold via @the.kate.edit
black white and gold via @the.kate.edit

Also last week I recorded the first episode of my podcast The Great Indoors with Sophie Robinson. I have included the trailer at the bottom but there is no subscribe link as yet. I will tell you when it’s been set up. We have been very lucky to receive sponsorship from DFS for the first series of six episodes, which has allowed us to  work with a professional producer, Kate Taylor, and sound mixer which has been brilliant.

relaxed coastal living by sally denning
relaxed coastal style by sally denning whose book of the same name is out now

As we are both huge talkers with years of experience, which means we know a lot of stuff, we wanted to keep a fairly structured feel to the show. We also wanted to avoid sounding too scripted, so having Kate, who is also passionate about our field and is in the process of buying a house, making her the perfect audience, has really helped as she can steer our chats as well as edit them for a crisper feel.

Sophie and I have both worked in media all our lives and so we know the importance of being edited. It was one of the things I found most difficult when I started this blog – that mine would be the only eyes to see it before it was published. In newspapers (when I was last in a newsroom nearly 18 years ago) your copy would be seen by two news editors, two or three subs and possibly even the editor before it was sent to print and the actual readers got to lay their eyes on it.

pearl lowe's devol kitchen
pearl lowe’s devol kitchen

So have a listen to the trail and see what you think. We recorded a more formal version, but both felt we sounded a little scripted so we went for this more informal one instead. I find it hard to listen to (( didn’t read my first book until about a year after it had been published) so while I know we have lots of interesting content I hope you will enjoy listening too. We have had great fun making it.

Anyway, enough of that, worrabout these ‘ere rooms? I have been enjoying the pared back nature of this week’s selection. There is something so calming about black and white to which you can add luxe with gold or warmth with any other accent colour.

sebastian cox kitchen by devol
sebastian cox kitchen by devol

The key is texture, something which Abigal Ahern is passionate about. These rooms may all have a very simple colour palette – mostly two or three colours – but they all have lots of different materials from wooden cladding to shiny gold, luxurious marble and battered leather as well as wood – painted and natural – and plants.

That’s the key to any successful scheme, particularly if you are nervous of using too much colour in one room. Mix up the materials as much as you can.

grey walls and matching radiator by flames house
grey walls and matching radiator by @flames_house

This image above also sums up, for me at least, the importance of painting your radiators. It matches the wall and so while it doesn’t disappear completely, it allow the focus to be the artwork above and the plants in front. Imagine how it would look if it was painted in the traditional white. I think it’s pretty much all you would see in that picture. I’m not going to apologise for being evangelical about this but I think it makes a huge difference to a room.

pale kitchen by devol at @ingredientsldn
pale kitchen by devol at @ingredientsldn

I’m also gradually introducing these pale creamy shades to you too because I think they’re coming back – it may take a couple of years but they’re making inexorable progress towards us so we might as well get used to the idea. I adore this Devol kitchen and while I might not be ready to do my own house in these pale shades (yet) there’s no doubting that, for me at least, they are very calming and pretty to look at.

shades of greene by little greene

As is green. There isn’t much in my house bar the wardrobe wall in my bedroom but I think there could be more. Little Greene released its green collection this month and this green door adds a wonderful punch of colour to this light and white hallway.

green door via nichol naranjo
green door via @nicholnaranjo

And here are Sophie and I sitting in the green of her garden on our DFS Sofa (it’s the Palace by the way). Have a good day and I’ll see you tomorrow.


















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.


  1. Hello Kate,
    I completely agree about painting radiators the same color as the walls. How do you feel about radiator covers also painted the same color as the walls? Worth the expense or not?

  2. Hi Kate, do you by any chance know the colour of the walls / ceiling of the Sebastian Cox kitchen or the pale kitchen by Devol? They are both lovely.

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