10 Beautiful Rooms: The South West

We’re going regional again with this week’s 10 Beautiful Rooms as it seemed very popular last week so this Monday I’d thought we’d take a trip down to the South West. As before do nominate any others you think are missing and I haven’t managed a complete 10 in some of the other areas so do weigh in.

Dee Campling bathroom with plants
Dee Campling’s bathroom with plants @deecampling

With nearly 95,000 followers, Dee’s instagram feed is a beauty. Based in Cheltenham, Dee posts regular images of her plant-filled house decorated in pale greys with lots of natural wood and greenery. Moving over to Bristol and the home of Rachel Edmond, otherwise known as Raspberry Flavoured Windows. This is a masterclass in dark with gold accents.

gold and black by raspberry flavoured windows
gold and black by @raspberry _flavoured_windows

So I’m going to include two of her rooms because look at that for an idea – a gold stripe down the side of the fireplace which, she told, is so pretty when the fire is lit and then a gold fireplace. I can’t believe I haven’t seen this more often. You’d have to be pretty careful it didn’t look bling when when it’s the only colour in the room apart from the black it looks great.

gold fireplace in a black bedroom by raspberry flavoured windows
gold fireplace in a black bedroom by @raspberry_flavoured_windows

Now staying in Bristol and going to the house and work of Kyla Magrath, an interior designer who also has a fondness for a dark and dramatic interior. She’s also a dab hand with a gallery wall so if you’re looking for inspiration on that front then take a look at hers.

black and white staircase with gallery wall by Kyla Magrath
black and white staircase with gallery wall by Kyla Magrath

Staying with stairs but moving to Exeter and the home of Ellie who posts as e.t.shown_home. She has left the top of the stairs in its natural wood but painted the riser, which doesn’t get bashed about quite as much in black or possibly dark navy – Railings would be a good match for this. It’s a fabulous mix of colour and texture with the plants, wood and rattan and if I didn’t have teenage boys thundering up and down then I would definitely have a few more plants on the landings.

black stairs with plants by Ellie of e.t.shown_home
black stairs with plants by Ellie of @e.t.shown_home

Moving on to the account of Lou Watkins, who describes herself as 1930s drifting towards the mid-century and banging into the 1970s. She completely understands the idea of having one wow feature in a room although arguably in this shot there are two.

gallery wall by lou watkins
gallery wall by lou watkins 

Now where next? Let’s have another dark room shall we. This is the beautifully styled fireplace of Helen Ward, who makes beautiful paper cut designs – one of which is hanging over the hearth here. I know it’s traditional to hang a mirror over the fireplace but it’s also a really good showcase for a piece of wonderful art. Personally, at at the risk of being controversial or irritating some of you I have never understood the telly over the fireplace thing. It’s too high for one – surely you get a crick in your neck. And it also makes it into far more of a feature that it should otherwise be. But it’s an opinion that’s all.

navy blue walls and fireplace by helen ward of house of wards
navy blue walls and fireplace by helen ward of house of wards

If you like a calm and minimal aesthetic then you may already know Rosalia Park, co-founder of the biannual Cereal magazine. She is based in Bath but her picture are taken from all over on her travels and this shot particularly appealed to me.

calm and restful interiors by Rosalia Park
calm and restful interiors by Rosalia Park, of Cereal magazine.

If this is your vibe, rather than dark and moody and, I confess, I am torn between the two, then you will also love The Store House Story, whose home is available for photo shoots should you ever need anywhere. It’s in Herefordshire, by the way at Staunton on Wye.

modern rustic location house via @thestorehousestory

I had to include two of her pictures as I think the house is so lovely so we’re already at 12 room and there’s one more to go….

a palette of soft neutrals will always be restful via @thestorehousestory

And this is it and it’s back to dark and moody with the sitting room of Heavenly Homes and Gardens. Note how the dark walls really hide the television – I didn’t even notice it when I first looked at this room as your eye is taken elsewhere. The chandlier and mirror bounce light around from the large bay window and the coffee tables, with their open brass bases, also catch the light and allow it to pass through so the space doesn’t feel as dark. A heavy wooden coffee table would be too much in here.

dark interiors with brass accents by heavenly homes and gardens
dark interiors with brass accents by Jade at heavenly homes and gardens

Finally, not so much 10 Beautiful Rooms as One Beautiful Garden and this is the work of Interiors.Family who added this outdoor seating area after completing an extension into the side return. When I see things like this I wish I was better at gardening. I just can’t quite summon up the interest in it but I love looking at other people’s.

gorgeous outdoor seating space by
gorgeous outdoor seating space by

So I hope you have enjoyed your trip to the south west, as I said at the top – do add any more of your own suggestions in the comments below.

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. These are individually all lovely. Together they look a bit “samey”. The black/dark blue interior seems to have reached saturation point. Where now? I’d be very interested to know what the coming thing is, not least as I have a rom to decorate!

  2. I love to see the dark rooms but being of an age they remind of as a child going into old people’s gloomy homes, a little scary! Agree about the TV over the fireplace thing.

  3. Kate, I love 10 Beautiful Rooms and the effort you put into your posts. It enables us to take magpie nuggets of really interesting/practical ideas to try out for ourselves. Personally I can appreciate an element or 2 from all of these photos. I love how simple and unpretentious bathroom is. I do think that in our design obsessed culture (me included) we can fall into a trap of going overboard and rooms can look too ‘done’ It’s refreshing to have a counterbalance.
    I’m feeling pretty miserable today (trying to get rid of a cold virus) so the escapism is appreciated more so 🙂

    P.S. Love the outdoor planting. More please!

  4. Sorry but I’m going to go against the stream here and say that I think a lot of these very dark rooms simply look like they are trying too damn hard. After six months, if that long, most people would be dying for air and light. I love black in a room, but I gotta breathe too…..

  5. If you like simple, Scandinavia style interiors, Abi Dare’s Instagram pics on ‘these four walls’ are gorgeous. Like me, she’s in lovely Bristol! An interesting selection of pics today… I agree with the comment on dark walls, I love them but too many in a house and it starts to feel gloomy-esp in our gloomy climate! A mix of light neutrals and dark is the way to go in my opinion. As for large tv’s on the chimney breast- why??!

  6. Generally speaking I don’t like gallery walls and I don’t like writing hanging around the house. It’s very easy to accumulate instead of curate (and on some US pictures I’ve even seen one painting hanging on top of another, which as a painter myself really gets up my nose), and doesn’t seeing the same word(s) day after day get a tad tedious? BUT I love both the gallery wall and the remark on it belonging to Lou Watkins. Now there is an artist. And it all happens on a light wall; I’ve pretty much had enough of looking at black rooms.

  7. I’m all for the metallic fireplaces! I used Craig & Rose’s bronze and pale gold paint on bedroom fireplaces 1more than a decade ago. I’ve kept them ever since although, with big windows and light filled rooms, I haven’t gone to the dark side.

Comments are closed.