The Househunter: Converted Schoolhouse

This is a bit of a find. It’s a two bedroom flat in a converted school house in south west London – SW11 to be precise, which used to be one of those golden postcodes, which goes some way towards explaining price.

Are you sitting down? Well then, I’ll say it very fast because it’s onepointninemillionquid from The Modern House and yes you read right that it only has two bedrooms and no garden but look. Just loooook at it.


I have been researching a magazine feature on how to use period furniture in small spaces and, while this isn’t actually that small, it does illustrate perfectly how old furniture can mix really well with modern to create a room that has lots of personality and, crucially, individuality.

While this isn’t a modern building, the recent conversion means that the walls are newly plastered and the floors newly laid so it has the straight lines of new build to it.


The kitchen with its modern wooden units will tick many of your boxes but using an old table is a great way to mix different woods – cupboards, floor and table – without making it feel like a Swiss chalet. And who doesn’t want a window seat?

You know I also advocate something black in every room and that black cupboard in the top picture is perfect. This is making me want to redo my kitchen.


Now I know this is only a two bedroom apartment but the owners have managed to squeeze in three different eating zones so it’s clearly not the average two bedder. Here is another table above, and the old leather chairs look brilliant with the marble.

In fact, it’s split- level and the sitting room, pictured below, has three double height sash windows. It’s so big you can have different sitting zones as well and I love the iron pillars.


This light below looks very Ikea to me and it’s a great idea for hanging a light over a small table in a corner. In fact, if you look closely, there are no overhead lights in this room, apart from this one. It’s all table lights and floor lights and task lights, which is what it is supposed to be, particularly in a large open plan space where you need to create zones.


Spot the other table below – this time in glass so it doesn’t fill the space, but the iron legs give it a touch of modernity. The flat was done by Cassandra Ellis, an interior designer and furniture maker we’re definitely going to come back and take a closer look at her work.


Finally, one of the bedrooms. Another black cupboard, a simple colour scheme, a few vintage pieces for character. Now, where did I put that two million quid.


What do you think? Fancy it?


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. I think this house was in Livingetc recently. The designer is the owner, if I remember correctly. It is really lovely.

  2. Very interesting and attractive as your finds always are, Kate (I’ll just blank the price tag!)
    I love the hanging shade – wish I knew where to get one …
    By the way, did you get your Edi lamp? I’m kicking myself as I missed out on investing and have been trying to track one down (without success yet) ever since.

    Anyway, thanks for the house hunting gems!

    1. Thank you Fiona. I thought that light was from IKea but perhaps they don’t do them any more. The original version is called the Akari 33N Pendant light and you can get it from the Conran Shop for, ahem, £592…. fantasy house fantasy lights I’m afraid. I have asked the Edi people about a light for you. I know they had production issues and they haven’t been released yet so it may not be too late. I’ll keep you posted XK

      1. Yes – fantasy lights indeed – sigh. Ah, well – it’s always nice to know, so thank you for the info. Thank you so much too for asking about the Edi lamp for me! I’m very sorry they’ve had problems, as they seem great and the lamp is fab. Fingers crossed that it all works out for them. BTW, your blog is an amazing treat that appears in my inbox with phenomenal regularity – a true wonder of the web! I love it … xxx

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