The Househunter Room by Room

Three for you this week, all quite different in look and feel so hopefully a bit of something for everyone. First up is this converted piano factory in Camden, north London. Fancy coming in….?

There will be 10 flats (the most expensive is over eight million quid – I know!) but the cheapest (I’m using the term loosely – let’s call it the least expensive) is £3.35m. But there is a swimming pool and a “leisure deck”with a DJ booth so it might be like living in your very own branch of Soho house.

The spaces are amazing and there’s still a lot of exposed brick around so if you’re redoing a kitchen or bathroom and fancy some of that look then take your inspiration here. I love this bathroom below with its black windows and luxe industrial feel. It’s also not huge so might be something you can use as a basis for your own scheme – probably minus such a fabulous window though yes?

But a wall of industrial fitted wardrobes is definitely a look to consider – echoed in the panelling over the bed. I’d chage the colour but other than that I could sleep here. What do you think? It’ on with Aston Chase and did I mention the gymnasium and cinema as well as all the other toys. You’d save a fortune on your social life as you’d never need to go out that’s for sure.

Let’s head over to this three bedroom house in north west London now which is on with Knight Frank for £3.1m and yes I know they’re all earbleedingly expensive but this is a blog about aesthetics and not actually an estate agent and if I showed you the insides of the houses you could actually afford before you’d followed all the advice on these pages and done them up you’d never return. Believe me it’s better this way – I spent a lot of time poking round some quite shocking interiors – shall we just call them the Befores in pursuit of the Afters. The Mad House was definitely in a state of Before when we bought it and nobody needs to see that over their cornflakes on a Friday morning.

So where was I? Yes a pink kitchen with…. wait for it… an exposed brick wall. I love this contrast of pink and brick and in the image below you can see the rest of the room. That green door is genius as it echoes the trees outside. Why don’t I have a pink and green room. Which one can I paint?

This house also looks like real people live there. So many of the flats I look at are either the afore-mentioned “befores” or are so stylised that you can’t imagine sitting on the sofa never mind pouring a glass of wine and putting your feet on the coffee table. This is a house with lovely bones and some great pieces of furniture – Eames or Fornasetti anyone?

Now, in contrast to the flat above, this does have a massive bathroom with two basins – secret to a happy marriage and all that. Although might I respectfully suggest that screening off the loo suggests a bigger issue that fighting over the tap in the morning.

And finally we’re off to a roof top warehouse which is on with The Modern House for £1.25m. Designed by Fraher Architects and finished last year it has three bedrooms and this private roof terrace. Imagine it filled with plants to create a green oasis open to the sky.

To take advantage of the views the kitchen and dining space is on the top while the reception room and three bedrooms are below. The guest bedroom can be separated from the main living space by this huge sliding door/wall which means if you didn’t need it as a bedroom it would make a brilliant home office that you could shut away at the end of the day when it was time for a Gin.

That bedroom also has its own en suite bathroom while the other two have to share – the horror – so it’s even better to shut yourself away (from the fridge) and work.

But it’s the top floor that does it for me and I suspect I would work up here all the time anyway and those are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself when househunting. What are the rooms for and when would you use them. So often people designate the smallest room as the home office and then wonder why they don’t want to spend any time in it. This interior design business is very often just about asking the right questions and being honest with the answers you know.


And on that, well all right it’s not a bombshell, but let’s call it a small philosophical note…. have a good weekend everyone.

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. Strangely quiet round here today … is everyone Black Friday-ing? No question, it’s the north west London house for me. Not only because anyone who can make colour work like that gets my gloomy-November-day vote (I’m with you on the green door, Kate – genius) but it’s just really well proportioned. The Piano Factory is too achingly hip for me, and I have to say that 1.25 mill doesn’t buy a lot of space in rooftop warehouse land. I like the building itself and it’s very clever architecture but it’s too small for this non-minimalist.

  2. I would love to find out more about the sofa that is in the converted piano building. Would it be possible for you to let me know the name of the designer and where I could get a better look at it. Thankyou.

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