The Househunter: Room by Room

Starting off our house tour this week with a trip to Hampstead, always pretty in an idealised Richard Curtis London sort of way. For many years it was known as the home to academics, writers and media types it has, of course the massive Heath with swimming ponds and city views. And now that you have sorted of guessed the kind of prices we are talking about you can come on in….

So this, which is lovely, is a two bedroom duplex with communal gardens and underground parking that is on the market for £2,595,000 via The Modern House. Remember, it’s Fantasy Friday and we’re just coming in for a nose about… And a very fine nose it is indeed.

The living space is some 40ft long and is arranged with the kitchen at one end, then the dining space and the living at the end which leads to a balcony. Spot the Muuto Nerd chairs at the table. The pink alcove you see in the picture below is actually the hallway and you can see what a brilliant idea it is to paint it a dramatic colour as it just brings a hint of that into the main space which is picked up on by pink chairs at the table.

I have said before that you can always paint a small hall a dramatic colour because a) you are passing through and b) it makes the rooms that lead off it seem lighter and brighter and it draws the eye. You could do that trick with any colour and contrast or match with any item in the larger room.

It’s also worth pointing out, for anyone who might actually be planning to buy this one – that each bedroom, which are good doubles, has its own bathroom, there’s a downstairs cloakroom as well. So it may be a two bedroom flat but it’s a sort of superannuated two bedroom flat.

Where shall we go now? How about something completely different in Somerset. I love this one too so we’re back to weekend and weekday houses in our fantasy lives. Walk this way….

I’m sold by the hall and stairs already and wait till you see the price. It is on with Jackson Stops for £565,000 and has three bedrooms – although as you might expect with a house of this age it is considerably lighter on the bathrooms. That’ll be one then.

That’s because it was built on the foundations of a tenth/eleventh century Saxon priory and is definitely one of the oldest houses in Somerton – some of the panelling dates back to 1623 although the house itself is thought to be mostly 14th century. The original thatch roof was replaced by slate in 1911 and not surprisingly it’s Grade II listed.

The bit that really draws me in though is that there are several priest holes which were built after the reformation so I’m guessing the house must have belonged to some middle class Catholics. I spent years looking for priest holes in my Grandmother’s 14th century farmhouse but sadly there weren’t any. Perhaps farmers couldn’t afford to build them.

Mind you there is a cellar than can hold 2000 bottles of wine as well as a decent amount of cheese and the herb garden has been cultivated as organic for the last 30 years.

I’m basically sold – where’s my cheque book? While I love a contemporary building with cool furniture and all the mod cons, I am a sucker for a romantic old building as well, although having grown up in one the small windows and low ceilings can become trying if it’s all the time. What do you think?

Are we town or country with our lottery winnings this week?

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. First location, definitely second house. Could scroll very quickly through pictures of the first one but have to drink in all the character of the second!

  2. What larks! It’s Somerset for me – you can sense the atmosphere even through photos. Gorgeous! Too many loos to clean in Hampstead … and what’s with the strange trainer fetish? Though I do love that pink they’ve used there.

    1. Harriet! you made me go back and look! the trainer fetish is hysterical. Thanks again Kate for another great Friday a.m. peep-around. xo, Steph

  3. Well, I’m off to Somerset! Priest holes AND wood panelling what more can a girl want to indulge her ‘Five go adventuring again’ spirit. Shall be collecting Julian, Dick, George and Timmy en-route! Have a great weekend.

  4. Subject to lottery numbers this weekend, I would take both properties. I love Hampstead and walking on the Heath but a quirky bolthole in Somerset also appeals too.

Comments are closed.