Mad About . . .

10 Beautiful Rooms

29th May 2017
AD / May contain affiliate links
wood burning stove in navy living room by Greg Penn

wood burning stove in navy living room by Greg Penn

Hello on this Bank Holiday Monday. I can only assume that the storms clouds have gathered on the horizon and if it’s not already raining it will be about to do so – all the more reason so settle down with a cup of coffee and a stroll through this week’s edition of 10 Beautiful Rooms. This week we are keeping it real.

navy blue kitchen island by Greg Penn

navy blue kitchen island by Greg Penn

This is the home of Greg and Amy Penn, in Darlington, in the north east of the UK (where I’m certain it’s raining – I did my journalism training up there so I feel qualified to comment), who have been working hard for 18 months to renovate their four storey house. So far they have done the downstairs and one bathroom, the pictures of which I’m delighted to share with you here.

open plan living room in navy blue by Greg Penn

open plan living room in navy blue by Greg Penn

The house, a former dentist’s and flats is a Victorian terrace and they have had to rip the whole thing apart and start again. The sitting room is Dock Blue by Little Greene with Slaked Lime on the ceilings. Note matching doors and skirting boards and how fabulous it looks. Throw in the vintage rugs and plants and this is a house after my own heart.

open plan living room in navy blue by Greg Penn

open plan living room in navy blue by Greg Penn

The kitchen was designed by Greg and made by a local company for not much more than one of the chains wanted for “something hideous”. The couple have done all the work themselves apart from the structural work – steels and so on. But I can only imagine how long all the painting has taken. It took us about three months just to do our bedroom as we could only do it at weekends.

open plan kitchen navy blue kilim runner by Greg Penn

open plan kitchen navy blue kilim runner by Greg Penn

The bathroom is painted in Knightsbridge by Little Greene – another great colour. Greg acquired the bath for £25 on the basis that he would unplumb it from where it was originally installed and get it down the stairs – and up his own. This he did. He’s thrilled with it and its job as an impromptu jeans hanger as, like so many of us, the bath turns out to be a promise of spare time to come which never actually materialises.

grey bathroom panelling by Greg Penn

grey bathroom panelling by Greg Penn

That’s all from Greg’s house but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this project to see how the rest of the house unfolds. If you want to see in real time (as it were) then do follow him on instagram where he’s known as @manwithahammer and I hope it gives you inspiration for your own homes or hope that it’s worth it in the end for those of you who are in the middle of a big renovation.  My desire to find a room to panel is reinforced even further by seeing this.

blue hallway with panelling by homeplaceonline

blue hallway with panelling by homeplaceonline

Last week I wrote about Five Ways to Revamp Your Hall and if yours is narrow (like mine) then there’s no reason it cam’t have impact. I have long wanted vintage cinema seats in ours and here they are on the home of online store @homeplaceonline. Not only that there is a patterned floor for interest, the aforementioned vintage chairs, panelling and a gorgeous blue on the walls. Hallway heaven.

black dining room with plants and floorboards by cowboy kate

We’ve visited the sultry dark interiors of Cowboy Kate before but since we were last there she’s had a new dining room table which is not dissimilar to mine from Norr 11 and I’m not sure we saw her bathroom before. Again, more panelling but it’s more about the gold mirror and table in here. So decadent. I’m not sure Greg would be hanging his jeans over the side of this one.

black bathroom brass accessories by cowboy kate

Finally, she has appeared on these pages before but here is the work of super talented interior designer Karen Knox who has used this new wallpaper by Little Greene to such great effect in this bedroom. You can read all about how she did it here   – it’s raining out there, you might as well  – and in the meantime feast your eyes.

black bedroom with plants by karen knox

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of 10 Beautiful, but real, Rooms. They haven’t been styled for photographs or created with impossible budgets, just a lot of hard work and imagination and they’re all the better for that. If you have any questions for the owners then stick them below and I’ll see if I can get them to answer over the next few days.

Enjoy the rest of the day everyone.

You Might Also Like

  • Stephanie Heath 31st May 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I too loved every single room. Wooden floors a common theme….sigh.

  • Furntastic 31st May 2017 at 7:06 am

    These rooms are indeed very beautiful. I loved the interiors and colors. I liked the plants used here they are giving the green and freshening feel.

  • Annie 30th May 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you, Kate – lovely rooms indeed. On the subject of panelling, as so beautifully shown in these images, may I ask a question? I’m redoing our bathroom and want to go for a black/white look, with patterned floor tiles, black panelling on the bottom half of the walls and then I guess white walls above. Only thing is I have two small marauding boys and I wonder if they and panelling are incompatible in a family bathroom scenario and whether the panelling will just get trashed/constantly soaked? I don’t know how robust panelling is… I’m just struggling to work out an alternative that gives me a strong colour on the bottom half of the walls, since am not sure about black tiles.
    Also, does anybody know if that faux panelling wallpaper is any good or can recommend a good one? (For the hall/living areas, rather than the bathroom. Yes, I am a bit panelling-obsessed.)

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 31st May 2017 at 4:02 pm

      I’m quite obsessed with panelling too! We had panelling in our last bathroom with two small boys and I seem to recall it was fine. I would take advice from the builder about really good paint though – maybe you would need a gloss there which is a bit tougher than an eggshell but I would take advice on that. Re wallpaper – you can have wallpaper in bathrooms but it will need varnishing to protect it if it’s in an area that’s liable to get wet. If you are worried about black tiles then you could use charcoal or slate? That’s a bit softer than harsh black. As for faux panelling wallpaper is there a reason you wouldn’t have the real thing in a hall? Unless you have a radiator in which case yes wallpaper might be the way to go. Try Mineheart or you could try anaglypta which is now screamingly fashionable and if you paint it in matt black or another dark matt modern colour looks fantastic. It’s the magnolia vinyl silk that doesn’t work.

      • Denise 31st May 2017 at 4:45 pm

        I have been told that you need to use “marine-grade ply”.

        If you go with sealing the wallpaper, I think someone (Kate – was it you??) recommended Polyvine’s “Decorator’s Varnish” – see Polyvine.com

    • Greg Penn 31st May 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Hi Annie, Greg here from the article! We’ve found the panelling in our bathroom really durable.. It’s made out of MDF and easy to install, but we did paint it with a Little Greene oil based eggshell! We’ve the same paint on our kitchen and it’s very robust! Strangely enough we’re currently decorating our hall/stairs and are currently painting below the dado rail black as there is lincrusta below – very beautiful and very very durable – it’s been in the house for decades and still fine.. We’ve had to replace some in bits, and have enough left for the downstairs W.C.. We’ll be painting that one in eggshell (but the rest in the hall and stairs is washable Matt).. In black and white so sounds very similar to what you’re going for.. It’s not finished yet but we’re loving how it looks! Good luck!

  • Denise 30th May 2017 at 11:06 am


    I love your Norr 11 table and Cowboy Kate’s one looks really good too. Do you know where she bought it, please?



    • Kate Watson-Smyth 31st May 2017 at 4:11 pm

      I think she had it made from a slab of wood. You have to be careful about warp and splitting is the only thing.

  • Vivienne 29th May 2017 at 10:16 am

    Beautiful rooms. The woodburner in the first photo looks like a vintage TV. I fully intend to have me some of that stunning wallpaper in the last photo – just as soon as I win the lottery.

  • Miriam 29th May 2017 at 9:36 am

    This is one of my favourites of your room selections. I love every single photo. The kitchen is an inspiration for me – I love the look of a kitchen built in an area that didn’t originally house a kitchen. When we (many years in the future) reconfigure our ground floor to enlarge the kitchen this is the sort of look I want to achieve.

  • Anne Brown 29th May 2017 at 9:04 am

    It’s so easy to get carried away with the bright, zingy colours of summer isn’t it? But these are rooms for all seasons – calm and reflective. Many thanks Kate for the post.

  • Sandra 29th May 2017 at 7:47 am

    Love the bathroom. I have been tinkering with painting my bathroom F&B light gray and keeping my honey coloured floor and wall tiles in the shower area. This has spurred me on.

    Thanks for the beautiful rooms in a bank holiday.

  • This website needs cookies to work correctly. Click the ACCEPT button to use cookies or click Read More for additional info.