Beautiful Rooms for a Monday (and a book cover reveal)

I’ve never been one to show you a picture and encourage you to scroll down to the end to see more but today I’m going to do just that. In addition to sharing the rooms and interiors that have caught my eye this week today is also the day that the cover of my next book is revealed. I can’t give you more than that at this stage which is why it’s being added to the end of this post rather than having a full post in its own right but I hope you will like what you see so far. I’m very excited about this one. It has been a mammoth job but I truly believe it’s beautiful, useful and innovative. It’s out on 27 April 2023 and you can either read through to the end to see or skip and I’ll wait…

rustic kitchen and gingham table cloth by Jessie Cutts of @townley_terrace

Right back? Starting in the kitchen with this rustic and pretty room belonging to  Jessie Cutts of Townley Terrace. The storage goes up to the ceiling but to prevent the room closing in and seeming smaller some of the cupboards are left open which adds depth and interest and allows the room to feel as large as it can. The jute rug adds texture, which is vital when you have a pared back colour scheme – which, as regular readers will know – is my default. It doesn’t mean no colour and it doesn’t mean grey or only pale colours, but if you prefer a palette of only two or three shades in varying different tones (taking you you up to about seven) then you need to bring in a variety of materials and textures to add interest.

Not forgetting those delicious olive green chairs which bring a splash of disruption. When recording the podcast the other day Sophie queried my choice of olive green as a disruption ( I plan to spray a burgundy lamp I’ve had for ages that no longer fits with the proposed scheme) but the point of a disrupter colour is that it is any colour you like as long as it’s a contrast on what is already there.

I was also drawn in by the tablecloth. Having finally tracked down the perfect pedestal table for the new kitchen – needed to be round, needed to have a pedestal leg it turns out the top (which is an aged metal finish) scratches quite a lot. So first up – any thoughts? It turns out had I read the instructions (“fragile; use plate mats and coasters”) I would have been aware of this, but I was so excited to find the shape and the material and the price that I ignored it. So now I need to dig my mats out of one of the 27 kitchen boxes we can’t unpack until the kitchen is done (February) and in the meantime either hide it with a tablecloth or find a way to cover the marks. Any good ideas please leave in the comments below. This is the table by the way – it’s lovely and solid and heavy and I love the shape but, you know, buy the coasters. I will be keeping it though as having spent six weeks searching nothing else has come close – most of the vintage ones I saw have very fancy pedestal legs which wasn’t right. The top, by the way, is quite a mottled gunmetal finish  – it’s not flat black like a piece of garden furniture. I love it. I just need to find a way of repairing the scratches and then varnishing it.

bathroom of elleihome

I love everything in the home of thoughtful boutique owners Elleihome and this bathroom is no exception. It’s not a large room and I appreciate that not everyone will want a gramophone in theirs but sometimes it’s just about the styling of the photograph. What you can take away from this is the soft wall colour, the feature bath, the vintage table and the Persian rug. All elements which work in any room – don’t forget you can apply these styling principles to any room if you swap the bath for a bed or a sofa and the loo for a table or chair. It’s the bones and materials you are looking at.

Stopping by the gorgeous home of designer Hannah Pemberton of Wandalust, whose colour schemes are rich and warm and always inspiring. If ever there was a room to which I could apply my first ever decorating mantra this is it: Something new, something old, something black and something gold. Try it in any room where you think it might be missing something and see how it works. In this case the bedstead might not be old but it looks it. It also ties in with the black windows and even the pillowcases.

kitchen of Caroline Briggs of @edwardian_seaside_home

Another Persian rug, this time as a kitchen runner – they really are forgiving (answer the “old” part of the mantra – you can say vintage if you find it more pleasing) and their dark colour and deep pattern means they hide spills and stains really well. I’d love an old wooden reclaimed kitchen like this and if you would too then you just have to start the hunt and don’t stop till you find what you want. If the units are all freestanding you can unite them with a single slab of worktop and you will need a good joiner to bring it all together and sort out different levels but it can be done. Another of my mantras is that you can spend money or you can spend time – clearly you can do both as well – but if you have little money you must be prepared to spent time looking for what you want and if you have little time you will probably have to spend more money getting it in a hurry.

image via @jessalveillis 

There are many reasons I love this room – not least the vintage metal table with its scallop legs (I’m definitely spending time looking for something like this) but also the vivid green velvet chair which wakes up this pink room and stops it blending into one. As much as I advocate tonal schemes for relaxing spaces you do need to give them a jolt everything now and then to wake it all up. Hence the value of the disrupter colour. Orange wouldn’t do it here as it’s too closely related to pink – cobalt blue would work, deep ochre and this emerald green.

Now – are you ready?  I’m excited to share with you the reveal of my new book cover. I’ll tell you more about it in due course but, for now, here’s the cover and a link to story in The Bookseller magazine which tells you a little more about it. It’s taken a long time to put together and I’m so happy that Pavilion, my publisher, ran with my idea, which was not easy to put together. You can pre-order from today on either Amazon or Waterstones. In essence it’s three books in one but as all the subjects overlap the pages are split to allow you to create the book you need for the way you live.

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. When I was a rotten teenager, my best friend hosted a rowdy party at her parent’s home while they were away. Horrible scratches resulted on her mother’s table. After we “colored” them in with Sharpies no one was the wiser. My first thought was to top yours with glass. Also, you might be able to get the top repainted in an autobody repair shop with something more durable. Good luck!

  2. Re the metal table top…I have had both a zinc coffee table and a stainless steel kitchen worktop which distressed me enormously when they got their first few scratches. Now, a few years down the line they are covered with them and it looks lovely….a beautiful lived-in patina. Although I am still careful not to plonk heavy things which might cause gouges…

  3. Amazing that you have done so many interiors AND written another book Kate. Many congratualtions.
    Anyone else having problems with the link tpo the table?
    I would definitely have a glass top made if you want to live a stress free and happy family life!

  4. The best place I’ve bought fabric for tablecloths is Merchant & Mills. Their Millie gingham linen looks like a match for the one in the photo (and also for Projeknitynni (if that’s how you spell it) pillowcases!)

  5. Wax (e.g. a child’s black crayon) can be used to fill/disguise scratches before putting the glass on top.

  6. Have your tried to rub the scratches out using a soft microfiber cloth with either vinegar or non-gel toothpaste? If the scratches are light on the surface this should work. Don’t let the vinegar sit on the surface but rub it in and then rinse. Mineral oil should work as well.

  7. I love your blog so much!! I moved house and had a baby at the same time about two and a half months ago…so we had to move in quickly. The house we moved into had previously been rented out and unfortunately it is quite bland and boring. However, it was renovated about 7 years ago with a view to being rented out and I feel it is too environmentally unfriendly and wasteful to tear up everything. Your new book looks like it could help with that. Do you think you might consider doing a podcast about decorating when you have two young children (3 year old and newborn in my case)? Another topic you’ve previously touched on briefly is house orientation. Ours is east west facing and is quite awkward as the living room/dining room is east facing whereas we would be more likely to use it in the afternoon/evening when unfortunately there is less light. Would you consider doing a podcast about paint colour and house orientation? Finally our house is also awkward as it was originally an independent house built in the early sixties. Unfortunately a house was built and stuck on to to the south facing wall so it lost a lot of light. The living room now has just a single pane glass door in the corner. Hope there are some topics here that you would consider covering in your podcast!! Thanks very much for your wonderful blog!!

  8. Good morning, loving the new podcast series, and so pleased to hear your book is progressing! I see the suggestion was already made to consider glass ordered to size as a topper. We’ve done that with a shapely 20’s round table, and now we enjoy using it daily rather than looking wistfully, or using it with me looking threateningly at the husband. Simple to clean also. Good luck with the home reno! I remember my things in storage for 3 months while we pulled up floors and installed underfloor heating ourselves throughout the ground floor…the loo was one of only 3 places to sit in the house…

  9. The book looks a winner. I’ve got all of your others and so this one is also going to join them. Thanks for always including so much content into your blogs, I’ve definitely avoided some mistakes by reading them.

  10. Hello Kate, enjoying the new podcast series, congratulations on the new book, and ongoing cheers for the new house redecoration/renovation.

    Do you need to sand the scratches out of the epoxy paint finish on your table and then coat with protective varnish? Not sure how solid the paint finish is, or whether varnish will expunge the mottled finish you currently love, but the scratches are now there and you either call them ‘patina’ and learn to love them, or jettison the table and find one that you can, you know, put stuff on without mats and coasters and fiddly stuff.

    I”ve been reading the blog since the first lockdown and I’ve noticed an increase in what some call a ‘layered’ design aesthetic and I feel is cluttered. I’m certainly not a minimalist, but some of these rooms make me a bit itchy, and somehow tired too. Any chance of some more calming interiors? I’m thinking Conran rather than Pawson

  11. The book looks so good!! Well done.

    One possibility for your lovely table is to have a piece of (safety?) glass ground to shape to cover the surface, but of course you’ll still see it. I’ve done this with an vintage table that I want to put flower vases on. I do miss feeling the texture of the table, but it makes an vulnerable thing usable. And no faffing about with mats.

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