The Househunter: Room by Room

17th February 2017

de montalt mill for sale

Well last week’s property went down like a lead balloon didn’t it? Hopefully you’ll like this week’s choices better. This is De Montalt Mill, in Bath, which is a four bedroom maisonette about ten miles from Bristol and is on the market for offers in excess of £850,000.

You get the ground and lower ground floors for that as well as the south-facing garden, two parking spaces and a garage. But never mind all that technical details, come inside for a look. And I love this space below don’t you? It’s just off the kitchen and I love the whitewashed brick walls and wooden cladding. The soft blue at the far end just gives it character (you know I’m going to say paint the sodding radiator) and the old furniture works perfectly.

whitewashed brick walls and vintage furniture

Mind you, modern furniture will also work really well as a contrast. As long as you get the right modern furniture. I love the room below with painted walls which work so well with the grandfather clock, and the dark window frames which, ahem, frame the view so well. I’m going to move swiftly past those chairs for fear of offending but the rest of the room is a good balance of vintage and modern.

open plan kitchen via

From this end you can see what a great space it is. I think the bookshelves would work better if they either matched the walls or were open rather than being glassed in. There’s something wrong about putting books behind doors, unless they’re ancient and priceless and all that. I think every room should have books in and the books should feel accessible and inviting. That’s why I don’t hold with colour co-ordinating your books. It stops it being an invitation to browse and turns it into an interior styling moment. Style the cushions not the books.

open plan living room via
Shall we move on? This is a five bedroom terrace house in Bath that is for sale with Knight Frank for £2,000,000. The owners here are also fond of a grey blue shade – I imagine it varies depending on how your computer is calibrated so we won’t obsess too much over the colour here.

bath house via knight frank

Mind you when a house is this pretty on the outside you know you can do great things with the inside. This is a great table and chairs, which would work so well in the house above. It just brings character to a room and also looks like a table where families have sat down and chatted and eaten and spent time together so it’s adding to the story of the house.

blue dining room via knight frnak

I think the room lacks a little definition and I would change the pendant lights to black or really dark grey and the same with the wall clock. That would just anchor the space a little better. But it’s fundamentally a great place.

pale blue dining room via knight frank

This sitting room is a great room; large with high ceilings, a marble fireplace and tall windows. But the furniture isn’t working hard. The pendant light isn’t strong enough to make a statement, the furniture is too loosely grouped around the rug with no focus so it looks like you’re waiting to play charades. Put the sofas facing each other with a coffee table between. Change the chairs for something a little less upholstered and with a little more wood. Or, if you want the sofas like that for telly-watching, consider a narrow console table behind with a couple of lamps on so you don’t need to use the pendant in the evening. That would bring a little height to the arrangement – alternatively you could put a standard lamp between the chairs and the sofa for the same effect.

grey sitting room

Most rooms are fine, it’s just the little tweaks that make all the different. The finishing touches if you like. When you’ve arranged your sitting room so that it works for you stand back and cast a critical eye. Are there variations in height? Are there different light sources in different parts of the room? Are there personal touches like books and plants? It is all too matched? Can you ring the changes with different cushions? Is there some black and I don’t mean the telly? Is there some metallic to add texture and bounce the light. Answer all those questions and your room will be improved.

And with those thought I shall leave you for the weekend. You can, as ever, catch up on Instagram. I shall be celebrating a terribly significant birthday and entertaining my mother in law. Not on the same day. I shall see you here on Monday.


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  • Ugne 21st February 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Finally, finally someone like you, a designer admired has said it best: style the cushions not the books! Thank you! Wish that would get around and be respected and noted by all individuals.
    I enjoy and look forward to your blogs daily! Thank you. Good day!

  • The Househunter: Room by Room – Mad About The House – KORULY 19th February 2017 at 11:11 am

    […] Article Source: Mad About The House […]

  • Marcella 18th February 2017 at 5:51 am

    Happy Birthday!!!
    Thank you for all your work, and for sharing it so wittily. The Bath home “took the cake”?
    Love&Cheers & abundant felicitations,
    Marcella of California

  • Lizzie 17th February 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Kate, the maisonette in Bath is the one for me.

    Love all those windows. Great bones. I am also digging the combo of stone and green that is the backyard. But (there’s always a but, right?), I want the whole thing. Top to bottom and everything my little eye can spy. Both houses are great, dreamy picks.

    Have a good weekend!

    • Lizzie 17th February 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Happy Birthday!!

  • Mandy 17th February 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Love your suggestions and totally agree regarding books, am now casting a critical eye over my living room. Happy significant birthday!

  • Ardith 17th February 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Happy Birthday, Kate! Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Jo Ann 17th February 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Couldn’t agree more about how NOT to style books.

  • Maryellen 17th February 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Happy Birthday!!!!

  • Flora 17th February 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I’m a big fan of the blue, but I just want to make that living room tons more fun! All a bit…beige. I like your ideas for the living room, I feel like that wall between the two doorways needs something on it too!

    Happy birthday, Kate – hope you have a lovely weekend.



  • Sonia 17th February 2017 at 9:22 am

    They aren’t particularly to my own taste because I like brighter colours. I’d use that duck egg blue in a much smaller space which somehow intensifies the colour; and I feel that lovely table at the second property is crying out for a big rug under it.

    But I did think that they looked very personal, furnished with things that have been bought over the years and not just ditched because they are no longer in fashion. I find it refreshing to see rooms that haven’t been decorated by reference to the Instagram Book of Design Clichés:
    Wall painted in Stiffkey Blue
    Wishbone chair with Mongolian lamb cushion
    Succulent arranged on shelf next to brass object (penguin, armadillo, bald eagle etc)
    Reclaimed table with mismatched chairs, one to be Eames knockoff in this year’s Pantone colour
    Beni rug

    I jest to a degree – I have many of these things in my own home – but I have noticed that my insta feed has become very homogenous of late. That’s why Kate’s posts about retaining your own style and originality are so good. Happy (significant) birthday.

    • nvrm 17th February 2017 at 10:30 am

      I so agree with you! I follow several scandi instafeeds, and while I was ok with them all having white walls, wood textures and sheepskins, the wishbone chairs and string shelves started killing it for me, and then the Louis Poulsen lamps finished. I mean, I understand when everyone under a budget buys Ikea, but surely there’s a wider choice if you have money for designer lamps.

  • BlasR 17th February 2017 at 9:02 am

    I love to read how Kate would improve the look of the rooms. So very apt and so very clever.

    Significant birthdays are only worrying when completing the Age box in surveys. Think more of a “feels like” age, unless, of course, that too is depressing. Enjoy both occasions, Kate.

  • Kate 17th February 2017 at 8:14 am

    Too bland for me and some of it a little bit frumpy. Sorry. I didn’t know you could pay so much for a maisonette in Bath!

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