Mad About . . .

10 Beautiful Rooms

27th August 2018

Another beautiful rooms regional round up –  this time from London as a) I’ll be back soon and b) this features a room from the lovely house of Suszi Saunders, who is featured in the August edition of Living Etc so it seemed timely to include it here for the last August rooms post. 

Morning and it’s Mad Monday again. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one rejoicing in the blue skies and cherry blossom on Friday, then watching in bewilderment as the hail fell in the afternoon and waking up to snow on Saturday morning. As someone quoted the poet Pam Ayers the other day: “Never mind the beast from the East, where’s the charmer from the Bahamas?” Still, enough of the weather – as English a topic as that may be – we have reached London in our tour of 10 Beautiful Rooms.

image by kristine hall of @restoringlansdowne

Now this is only a fraction of the beautiful rooms that are out there in the capital – as with the other stops on our tour inevitably there have been omissions, but we can return to all that at a later date. For now, given that it’s Monday, it’s snowing at the time of typing and heaven knows what it will be doing by the time you read this, we are starting with a beautiful bedroom. Because I’m pretty sure that any time before 10am on a Monday morning that’s where I’d rather be. And this is a good’un. And if you like this bedding this is similar.

farrow & ball inchyra blue by @restoringlansdowne

farrow & ball inchyra blue by @restoringlansdowne

Sticking with Kristine’s lovely house and the beauty of Inchyra blue walls with just a great piece of furniture and very little else. Sometimes it’s great to just leave a blank space and let the room breathe. Especially when the walls are such a lovely colour as this.

Sticking with blue walls and natural flooring, we come to the home of Suszi Saunders who is working to create a cruelty-free and vegan home by her decorating choices. It’s looking pretty good so far and I spy, if not a crittall door, then at least a pair of dark painted glass doors that will give the same effect. This is a good trick for bringing in more light if you do want to go dark but are worried about losing light. Suszi has painted the ceiling as well which looks amazing but the parquet floor is light and this pair of glass doors will also bring light from the hall.

black cupboard and white walls by @malmo_and_moss

black cupboard and white walls by @malmo_and_moss

More dark walls from Rebecca at Malmo and Moss. For some reason she doesn’t show this part of her north London home much but it’s one of my favourites. More wooden and glass doors painted black and they look so much more modern when they are dark. We had glass doors two houses ago and painted white they looked like something left over from the 1980s that no-one had got round to updating. Paint them dark and suddenly it’s a statement.

black panelling by @vintagecuratorinteriors

black panelling by @vintagecuratorinteriors

More black walls and this time it’s the side of the stairs in the home of Samantha who buys and sells vintage furniture. If only I had a hall big enough to decorate like this and if you do then make the most of it. A simple monochrome scheme with vintage, natural wood and a plant and it looks amazing. Never underestimate the need to make your hall look amazing. It’s the first thing people see when they come into your home (as do you) and it needs to make a statement. Even a simple welcoming Hi is enough and yes I know they have to be practical spaces too. Here are five easy ways to revamp your hall from a piece I wrote last year if you want some ideas to help you get started.

black and white bedroom gallery wall by deborah vos

black and white bedroom gallery wall by @deborahvos

Next up – tired? Wish you could go back to bed? Well sticking with the black and white theme this is the dramatic bedroom of Deborah Vos, whose house featured in the debut Rockett st George book Extraordinary Interiors. And if you’re struggling to create a gallery wall then this is also a good place to start. Start at one end and work across with different sizes and shapes. These all have black frames round black and white images but you can vary one of those elements if you’re not sure. It’s meant to be organic and random – it very rarely is in my experience, so sometimes finding an arrangement that you like and adapting it to your own walls is a good way to start.

image by @house_of_henry_jones

image by @house_of_henry_jones

And never forget the power of just propping a picture against a wall as Lesley of The House of Henry Jones has done here. I get almost as many questions about arranging shelves (yes I know this is a mantelpiece but similar) as I do gallery walls. So note here- the minimal colour palette with gold accents. The varying heights the pair of pairs – that do not match. This is a great example of the perfect shelfie – interesting objects, different shapes and a toning colour palette. Even the picture, which has been casually propped against the wall is part of the overall scene in a way that would be quite different if it was hanging a few inches higher on the wall.

black and white kitchen by bianca hall @frenchforpineapple

black and white kitchen by bianca hall @frenchforpineapple

Now to the newly decorated kitchen of Bianca Hall and note how the real plants are echoed in the cushion material – and the limes on the table – but I suspect they are only there for the picture rather than real life. Another great way to make a kitchen feel more homely is to bring in items that wouldn’t necessarily belong in there – so pictures on shelves, lots of luxurious greenery or flowers. Interesting wall lights. It’s details like that that make this room stand out.

reflections by designsodaruthie

reflections by @design_soda_ruthie 

And then there is Ruth’s lovely sitting room seen in this clever mirror image. I think it’s Farrow & Ball Smoked Trout but it might be Dead Salmon and no neither of those are joke colours by the way. And if you have a spare five minutes and enjoy ridiculous paint names then you must visit Colour Makes People Happy where you will find gems such as This Room Was Dull And Depressingly Basic with a 20 Watt Light Bulb In It (a mid blue) and No-one Ever Went Broke Underestimating The Taste of the British Public ( a mid grey) alongside A Hole in the Air with an Undercurrent of Blackberry.

dark windows by @violetandthistle

dark windows by @violetandthistle

Finally finishing with a dark room because it’s amazing how good a dark window frame is but also keeping the ceiling and floors pale as well as the furniture balances all the dark paint on the walls. This is also quite a monochrome scheme but this time with splashes of pink rather than green or natural wood. They all work and I hope they have given you some food for thought for your own decorating schemes.

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  • Debs 19th March 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Hi, really like the crittall (or not crittall?) door especially in black. Anyone know where I can get one, possibly made to measure for an non standard size at a sensible price? I’ve seen so many examples on Pinterest but all seem to be from Holland or somewhere far far away in a language I don’t speak. I found one company in the UK but the installation which I can sort myself was over a thousand pounds which was ridiculous let alone the 2.5k+ they wanted to make a single door. Any suggestions pleas?

  • William Hodgson 19th March 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Kate
    I love your blog, I’m equally infatuated with dark colours, particularly those from F&B and L&G. What intrigues me is whilst dark colours look great in old properties with high ceilings , tall windows and ceiling mouldings, could such colours, in your opinion look oppressive in newer homes that are devoid of any architectural features, and height? As I am soon to relocate and leave my beloved Edwardian terraced house for 18 year old town house, your thoughts on the subject will be much appreciated. William

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 19th March 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Hi William, funnily enough I saw a modern house the other day that had been painted dark and it looked great so yes I would go for it. The slight issue is that the ceilings will be lower, so if you paint the walls dark and leave the ceiling white it’s possible you will visually bring the ceiling down by drawing attention to where the dark ends and the light begins. So if there is a room – bedroom for example – where you can paint the ceiling as well without it being oppressive then I would think about doing that – that will blur the edges and make the ceiling look higher. If you don’t want to do this with a dark colour then try a mid one – it doesn’t have to all be white and light just because it’s modern. Another way to bring in dark colours is to paint half the wall – that way you can have white on the top half (or a chalky pale colour of your choice) and the same on the ceiling thus blurring the edges between wall and ceiling that way while bringing in some strong colour and personality on the bottom half (keep the skirting boards dark to match). Then you have a choice about half painting doors and architraves or going dark all the way round ot staying light all the way round. When you don’t have architectural features to add interest then you have to do it with paint. Hope that helps, Kate

  • Sarah Hodgkins 19th March 2018 at 10:46 am

    I am a huge fan of dark walls, the trend for white everywhere just makes rooms look like the inside of a fridge in my view!

  • michelle 19th March 2018 at 9:39 am

    The interiors all look like they are from the same home….

  • Janet Whincup 19th March 2018 at 8:27 am

    My usual comment, oh to live in an old house with features and scope.

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