Come With Me To My New online House

Well today’s the day. From today you will be able to join me over on Substack where I have been busy behind the scenes hanging the curtains, unpacking the archive and arranging the furniture ready to welcome you in. Some of you will have already seen the email I sent on Monday in which I said I would explain in a little more detail while I have decided to move house.

I have been very happy here in my little corner of the internet but times have changed and it’s time to move on.  I very much hope you will come with me to Substack. There’s room for everyone in the new house and there are lots of exciting new ways to build a community.

I have been writing a minimum of three posts a week for nearly 12 years. That’s a lot of free content. This was one of the first interiors blogs in the UK when I launched in 2012. It’s one of the last ones standing in 2023. I love our community and the support you have given me over the years but the landscape has changed and I must change with it.

Mad About The House has always been supported by sponsored posts and collaborations. This is what allowed me to continue writing for free. But those partnerships are harder to find these days with the move to video content and the dominance of Tiktok and Instagram. As you know I love a still image and a word (or 500!) but it has become harder to support this kind of digital magazine without some form of financial recompense.

The other option is, of course adverts. I have resisted this with every fibre of my being. I never wanted to spoil a post about beautiful design with banners and pop-ups that interrupt your reading. It’s like being shouted at by a stranger as you stroll down a beautiful country lane. That said, in the drive to support writing as a career there’s barely a magazine, blog or even newspaper and magazine these days that doesn’t use ads whether it’s for designer handbags or garden sheds.

For the last few months I have considered putting the blog behind a paywall. But that felt like a punishment to all of you who have been here for so many years. So, rather than paying thousands of pounds a year to host this site, I have decided to move to Substack which won’t cost anything and where a rapidly growing community will allow me to increase the number of readers on a part free/part paid for basis. Those of you who subscribe will have received an email from me already with details of a discount. There will also be free content over there too so nothing needs to change if you don’t want it to.

As Farrah Storr, former editor of Elle UK and current head of writer partnerships at Substack, said in a recent post about fashion writers flocking to the platform: “Ask around and you’ll hear pretty quickly how much tougher it is out there to get sponsorship deals. Paid partnerships, meanwhile, are sporadic at best and compromising at worst. What fashion writers and creatives crave, therefore, is a steady, meaningful revenue stream, delivered by the very people who consume their work: the readers.”

Some of you may already be familiar with Substack. Others less so. It is essentially a subscription newsletter platform that allows me to publish content that can be both free and paid for. In short, instead of me paying thousands of pounds a year to a hosting engine so I can bring you free content, I can live over there and write as much as I want and some of you may feel able to support that by taking out a paid subscription.

I will still write lots – words are my first love. I will still write for free – but just a bit less than before. And by writing a bit less and knowing that I can still earn a living I will have more time to research and write better words. And I’m so excited for that.

I hope that you will want to support me in that writing by joining a new community over there which will be a quiet place to read and digest and chat quietly over tea and biscuits rather than shouting over the music.

The joy of Substack is also that you can download the app and follow lots of different writers to create your own interactive magazine that is constantly updating. Everyone has both free and paid for content so you can mix and match how much you want to see from each person. There is food, fashion, travel, politics, lifestyle and, of course, me.


If you sign up as a free subscriber (follower) you will get two posts a month (for the launch month of November there will be six).

If you choose to become a paid subscriber here’s what you will get:

kws sitting room shot by simon bevan
kws sitting room shot by simon bevan
  • Four posts a month (in addition to the two free ones)
  • These will include regular posts on where to shop, how to style and details of great design destinations as well as interior design news and renovation and decorating advice. More of what we have shared over here for so long.
  • Full access to the best of my archive which I have moved over there – including things like “What to Buy if you Rent, 15 Interior Design Rules to Live By, How to Find Your Interior Design Style,  and What to Buy if I know I am going to Renovate.
  • Access to a monthly drop-in design clinic where you can ask me questions and we can chat all things interiors. If you are unable to attend I will email the recording to you afterwards.
  • First look at the finished house in Italy and behind the scenes of the renovation.
  • First invites to the interior design retreats I will be running there next year.

Substack also has clever features such as Threads where I can, for example, start a discussion on that week’s Househunter (which will remain as a free post but we can all chat about it and, crucially, you can chat to each other more easily rather than this slightly clunkier format of leaving comments). Or Chat, which is a general place for nattering – much like a private WhatsApp group where I might show you a great lamp I have spotted while out and about for example. I have also just discovered there is an audio function and, as I have never recorded audio versions of my books, I’m thinking about do book readings – would you like that?

It’s more interactive with more innovative ways to connect and I’m so excited to get started. If you subscribe to my blog updates here you will start seeing updates from Substack in your inbox from now on. You can unsubscribe at any time and you can upgrade to a paid subscription at any time. Prices are £6 a month or £65 for the year (unless you grab that discount which is 20% off reducing it to £52 a year) so it’s less than a cup of coffee a week. It’s valid until 3 November 2023.


In addition there is a one off annual fee (founding member) of £350 which gets you a 45 minute one to one design consultation with me and a personalised signed copy of one of my books – whichever one suits you best for the stage you are at in your design journey.

See you over there. And there will still be content over here in the form of announcements and news and events as well as posts about the shop which is relaunching soon.

Thank you all so much for your support over the last 11 years, I hope you will come with me on the next stage of the journey. My first new content will be out on Monday and it’s a tour of the private Milan home of the designer Piero Fornasetti. It’s an incredible house that’s not open the public and you won’t want to miss it.

Sign up here


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. It’s understandable that after years of providing free content, the landscape of blogging and digital media has evolved, and you’re considering new approaches to sustain your work. The shift towards video content and the dominance of platforms like TikTok and Instagram uno online have indeed changed the dynamics of sponsorship opportunities.

  2. Hello, lovely that you moved to Substack; as other bloggers have been letting me know of their move. I can’t pay for anything but will continue receiving the few free two posts allotted. I am thinking of quitting blogging again when my time runs up on wordpress…space is nearly used up. I’m sorry, I don’t make sense, I wish you all the best. Keep doing it and at it. Stay prosperous!

  3. Thank you Kate, I love your posts and have subscribed. However, I didnt get offered the 20% discount, which you mention is still valid till 3rd November?

    1. Hi Sowson, the discount was contained in the email I sent to everyone at 7am on Monday 30 October.If you subscribe to the blog you should have received that email. If you have that let me know and I can cancel your subscription and refund you

      1. Hi Kate, yes actually I did receive the blog on monday 30th but hadnt had a chance to open it as I was oncall all of last week and only opened this one as it said “come with me to my new online home”!

      2. Hi Kate, yes I found that post but hadnt read it as I was oncall that week and it passed me by. Am I still eligible for the discount please?

  4. I am really unclear as to what I would be signing up for. Please could you explain? Are all subscriptions free and otherwise, to Substack? I’ve just read the most recent reviews of Substack and they are very poor, whch doesn’t encourage me to use it at the moment. If I can ony get content via Substack, then I would be incredibly gutted as I have loved using this site and it has been enormously useful in helping me decorate my home. I don’t have a problem with paying for a subscription, but at the moment, I don’t feel encouraged to do so. Perhaps you could allay my hesitation? Your site has been enormously helpful to me and I would like to ssay this is the first style advice for the home that has actually made any sense (having read plenty already), so thank-you for all the fantastic free advice you have given me so far. Will the blog cease to exist?

    1. Dear Clare, thank you for taking the time to write and for your kind comments. You are one of the reasons the blog has kept going for so long. So Substack is an app that you can download to your phone or you can receive posts via email – as you do now from the blog. It’s effectively a new way of blogging although it’s called a newsletter (just a newer term) but, in addition to just reading posts there is more of a community – the chats and threads that I mentioned in the post. So it’s a more immediate way of chatting to each other (as well as me) than leaving a comment and hoping someone sees it and responds a bit later on. It is like a giant whatsapp group when it comes to conversations and community and, as some of the content is paid for, it is therefore visible only to those who have paid which many people have found makes them feel more confident about sharing – either opinions or photographs of their home. It can be intimidating to share on the wide open internet when you have no idea who might weigh into a conversation.
      Now, there is a mix of free and paid for content and you can choose what you want to receive so there is no obligation to pay for anything. Most people offer a mix of both. I will be doing that from next month – two free and four paid for posts. There will also be other benefits to paying which I have listed in this post. But, since most people have free content you could build your own free magazine (for want of a better word) with, say, two free recipes, two interiors posts, some fashion, a bit of politics and some lifestyle. You will find all that content on Substack and it’s entirely up to you what you choose to have in terms of what you want to pay for (or not). Or you could decide to spend £20 a month and subscribe to four or five publications in depth and get your content that way. Most people charge between £5 and £7 a month with discount for those taking out an annual subscription. My £6 a month (£65 annually) comes to around £1.25 a week for example.
      In terms of the blog – no it’s not closing but I will be keeping it more for announcements, launches and, when the shop is redone, shopping and content from there. The bulk of my writing will be on Substack and you won’t have to pay for it if you don’t want to. As I said I have written for free for years, it costs thousands of pounds to host this site and paid sponsorships and collaborations are on the wane, so it has been harder to justify so much writing for free in recent times. I don’t know if this will allay your fears – Substack is just a new place that feels unfamiliar but since it’s free why not have a look – for this month at least? You can sign up as a free subscriber (and leave at any time) and see if you like it? If you don’t then you have lost nothing and if you do you can decide at that point if you want to pay or would prefer to remain a free subscriber. Here’s the link if you want to explore. Let me know if you have any more questions and I will try to answer them.

      1. Dear Kate. Wow! Thank-you so much for your incredibly detailed reply. I really appreciate you going to so much trouble. The suggestion to try it for a month before paying is sound advice. I can totally understand the need for you to make this move. A couple of other bloggers have said pretty much the same thing, but have chosen different solutions. I have always wondered in fact how you managed to provide us with so much free content. I personally am happy to pay for your well considered and thought out advice, but so many people found the app difficult to use that it put me off.

        I wish you every success with this new venture and I am absolutely sure you will make a success of it. I have always enjoyed reading your blog, even if my tastes are somewhat different! The way you encourage us to study every element of a room has really made me look at decorating differently. In addition your promotion of ethical and small businesses has been enormously helpful. Thank-you once again.

  5. Thanks Kate. I have subscribed – I always knew that if you offered paid content I would sign up, as your blogs are always excellent, insightful and entertaining. I was amazed that you produced so much for so long for free, so best of luck at Substack and I’ll see you over at your new house!

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