The Househunter Room by Room

14th July 2017

Two corkers for you this week. Well I think they are in that they sum up the Mad House philosophy rather well. Both are on with The Modern House, neither of them are modern. That is they are Victorian houses with modern additions and have been decorated in a mix of old and new, which is always the best way – mod cons with character as it were.


First up to East London, to this four bedroom end of terrace which is on for £1,475,000. It’s arranged over three floors and just look at that glass extension created in the side return. We just had the money and architect to stick a box on the back of our house – if you want to read about my experience with Kieran the architect it’s here  and as this is yer last post till Monday you can view it as something for the weekend. It’s a cautionary tale…


Anyway this, this had a proper architect. And it black, white, with lots of wood and the odd splash of pink it is clearly my house in a parallel universe. I have always wanted a sofa in the kitchen but I’d have settled for a window seat in a bay window. I have neither although I do now have a sofa in the garden which has been taken over by her imperial highness Princess Enid Cat. Who has taken to sitting right in the middle complaining huffily if anyone suggests she move. She’s a cat. What’s wrong with the sodding grass?


Anyway, window seats and vintage stools and tables. This is all rather lovely. I might not have had a grey tiled floor. But that might  be just me. I worry it’s a bit pavement but I know they’re screamingly fashionable and I think a lot of people do it because they want a seamless look with the outside. Why? I mean I get that you would want them to tone but a matching floor is never going to make you think: “Wow, this kitchen is enormous and has trees in it.”


I think it’s fine to have different surfaces but link the colour perhaps with the garden furniture and kitchen cupboards or, as they have done here, pink cushions inside and pink chairs outside. You may, of course, disagree with me. It’s a fairly new conclusion I have reached and it has been entirely tested on other people yet.


Then it’s through to the sitting room and it’s beautiful dark grey walls. But look how the pale rugs keep it light. There’s a mirror on the wall and a large vintage door propped up against the wall. Here the accents are deep orange which really stand out against the dark walls.


And finally to the bedroom. This is such a restful space and I think I tend towards the pale for bedrooms rather than the dark and dramatic but it’s entirely a question of personal preference. I might never get up in the morning if it was too dark in my bedroom.

What stops this being bland though is the old wooden pieces of furniture. I’m sure they all have a story to tell and they bring real character to this room.


And then there’s this one. It’s a flat. We won’t worry about the price. In the real world (outside London) it’s quite silly. Let’s focus more on the use of space and the decor. Oh OK it’s £1.2m via The Modern House and it’s got two bedrooms. Feel better. No I thought not. Come on and have a look though.


More use of pale grey and natural wood – and if you read yesterday’s post on future proof trends you’ll spot a few in this house. One thing I would add is that a patterned sofa is a great way to bring some va va voom to a room. I know it’s an expensive piece and you’ll worry that you’ll go off it but tastes don’t change that much. This sofa provides the perfect foil to the navy chairs which have patterned cushions to link to the sofa.

If you worried about mixing patterns you can always go a a black and white geometric with a floral. Always works.


Then these gorgeous double doors which have been stripped back rather than painted over. Although we did look at that house last week where the doors and architrave were painted in a stunning shade of blue. That’s another idea. Maybe the secret is that anything goes as long as it’s not just a plain white door which would make them disappear and they’re such a great feature you want to make the most of them don’t you think?


The same doors seen from the other side of the divide with another fantastic set of windows looking out into the garden. And let’s just zoom in closer (because we can). Mid grey, white and wood is such a wonderful combination. You could easily bring in more colour to this palette in the form of green, navy, orange, pink. Anything would go in here so you could liven it up or calm it right down with accessories.


Sometimes it’s interesting to see how they carve up the space when they make a flat and here they have incorporated the space under the stairs from the original hallway. The pillar will be holding the house up but acts as a perfect divider between kitchen and dining room and allows for a breakfast bar across the middle.


It has been very cleverly converted so I wanted you to see all the nooks and crannies in case you are ever in a similar position. My guess is that pantry shelves below were once the entrance to the kitchen and there was a wall running all the way along but they have create two large gaps in it for the entrance and the breakfast bar.




Upstairs to another calming bedroom with a table that could double as dressing and desk. If you do need a desk in your bedroom then consider a console table.They’re narrow but long so usually fine for a laptop and you can have the other stuff to the side of you. Then when you win the lottery and move to an enormous pile you can stick it behind the sofa or in the hall where it was intended to go.


Finally, a huge basin makes life easier in the morning if there are two of you and if there isn’t room for two basins. I’m guessing someone in this house likes a bath so they have squeezed in a small one. I might rip it out and install the biggest shower I could in this space.

Right that’s yer lot. Wishing you all a good weekend. I’ve left you some more to read – do share your architect experiences below and I’ll see you back here on Monday for 10 Beautiful Rooms.


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  • Sparkle 15th July 2017 at 6:43 am

    Hello, just wanted to say I enjoy your interiors blog more than any other and look forward to your curations of lovely items, ideas and rooms, not to mention your humour, every time they pop up. Thanks so much for showing how to parse the elements of what makes a room work – I’ve learned so much. Both houses today are lovely – the planning of the kitchen of number two is a very clever use of space. Thanks again for a lovely blog – such a treat.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 16th July 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely comments x

  • Patrick 14th July 2017 at 3:49 pm

    I love how bright the rooms have become with the contemporary window arrangement. I agree with you, that a slightly lighter floor color would be amazing too, such as limestone. The beige would go very well with the wooden furniture and light coming through.

  • Jill 14th July 2017 at 9:59 am

    I love all the rooms this week. I thought the dark grey living room was your house when I first saw it, it’s very similar isn’t it? I agree with your new conclusion about a seamless floor inside/ outside; there’s only so far you can trick the eye. I’ve read your post about the architect before but I’d forgotten how bad the experience was until I re read it this morning, what a nightmare for you.

  • Annie 14th July 2017 at 9:47 am

    Ooh the first one please with that dark living room. Love the colour and the drama it adds. I’m trying to find an excuse to repaint our front room some dark colour (although I’m heading more towards dark blue). I have to say we have the same tiles inside and out in our kitchen and I love it. But I think it works for us because we only have a small patio with sliding doors across the whole width, so it does really work as an extension of the kitchen. Plus our extension is full of glass (not quite as much as the house above sadly but still…) therefore it feels almost like a conservatory? Does that make sense? It sounds very wrong as it doesn’t look anything like a conservatory, I guess I just mean that it is very light and bright with or without the doors open. Anyway, in my humble opinion, I think it very much depends on the space, both inside and out. I certainly wouldn’t match the tiles if it was a paved area with a proper garden beyond.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 16th July 2017 at 2:47 pm

      I think you’re absolutely right and it is, always, in the end what works for you but I have seen many people become enslaved to the idea with the result that both floors suffer.

  • Janet Whincup 14th July 2017 at 9:14 am

    They are both very lovely houses, each with their own features to offer. Different colour schemes which again both work well. We have light grey walls and lots of natural wood. ( For the life of me I can’t see why that door is leaning on a wall as a feature, it’s an accident waiting to happen. )
    I wish we had the money to own an older property. A seabird covered me in poo this week which is supposed to be lucky. Lottery ticket purchased but no such luck followed. Properties similar to that in the NW where I live would sell for about 1/3 to 1/2 these prices.
    I also read your blog about your builder, what a nightmare and an obvious tall tale teller. If you only said “bummer” to him you managed very well.

  • Joanne McLoughlin 14th July 2017 at 9:12 am

    I have had a TERRIBLE experience with an architect . I can’t say too much as it is a legal case, a word of warning ,don’t trust a builder just because the architect recommends them !!!!
    My architect refused to recognise faults that even I could see & I am not a professional.

  • BlasR 14th July 2017 at 8:58 am

    (IPad typos. Humph. Should have read “I do like”, but Apple knows best.)

  • BlasR 14th July 2017 at 8:56 am

    I’d o like a laugh on a Friday morning and thank you for delivering it.

    Of course Enid wants the garden sofa; she’s a cat. Shame on her humans for suggesting the grass.

    I’ve always thought the same as you re inside to outside being seamless. Does that include moss, earth and debris indoors, too?

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