The Househunter: Room by Room

9th March 2018

I love this house. It’s too expensive and it’s too small and I would buy it tomorrow. It’s in Hackney, east London, with two bedrooms and is arranged over three floors so you’d be forever schlepping up and down stairs and I still want it.

It’s on with The Modern House for £1,295,000 and it has been beautifully restored and pared back to leave a wealth of original features which give it a modern rustic feel.

If I could have my bare floorboards that deep dark colour instead of their natural orange antique pine I would. Same for the windows. I’m always saying how a dark window frames the view better and a natural dark wood is perfect.

In my fantasy life I live in a house full of natural colours and materials, but the reality is that I would inevitably paint the walls, buy a pink sofa instead of a natural leather one or add a coloured rug. The vendor has been incredibly disciplined allowing only a gold dog to enter and the result, I think, is stunning. I couldn’t do it myself but I love to look at it.

Moving north and west to Cricklewood now and this three bedroom house which is on with Brickworks for £1,100,000. A similarly restrained colour palette but this time with a more industrial feel. First of all just look at that. I could sit there all day and look at that little patch of outside framed by that dark door.

Coming back inside and while I’m not always sure about exposed brick there definitely times when it works. And part of the reason it works here is a) the black stairs and door but b) the brilliantly unusual pale sage sliding door. I love a sliding door and painting it in an unusual colour makes a really good feature of it. Mind you I would say no to a Jean Prouve Standard chair either.

The is the other end of the kitchen – a 180 degree turn and you can see another sliding door that mirrors the first but this time on a cupboard rather than leading to another room. The doors to the garden are the same too so the spaces are both distinct but united.

Upstairs and this pale grey bathroom is unusual in that the tiles are laid not in brick formation but square on in a grid. It’s a completely different look but one that the house above uses too. Is this the end of the rectangular subway tile? I doubt it but just as grey is moving aside for other colours (while remaining a classic) so perhaps square tiles are beginning to push the metros over a little.


More exposed brick in the bedroom and the vaulted ceiling acknowledges the building as a former carriage house which was built around 1870. It’s one of three houses linked by this pretty communal courtyard below.

So it’s London or London this week but who’s going where? I would like the interiors of the first with the kitchen chairs and courtyard of the second. But if there’s an interiors tip to be gleaned this week it’s sliding doors and dark windows. What do you think?

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  • Kirsten 9th March 2018 at 8:11 pm

    I love the staircase and balustrade in the second house (just visible on the left of the kitchen picture), such a statement yet doesn’t come across as too much and weirdly blends in while standing out…!?

  • Fiona 9th March 2018 at 9:58 am

    Cricklewood for me please! Gorgeous mix of textures and lots of light. Sliding doors have the ability to change a room in a jiffy. Just need to work out how to lay my hands on £1,100,000 🙁

  • Anne Brown 9th March 2018 at 9:20 am

    Despite all the white paint I really like house number one – beautiful and useful. In particular the radiator and the triptych. I lust after the triptych!

  • Nicola 9th March 2018 at 8:54 am

    Both gorgeous but I think no.2 is the one for me. I really do love those dark doors and windows.

  • Jane 9th March 2018 at 8:32 am

    Forgot to say my Mum came from Hackney. I wish I could show her the price of the house. Very nice style, both of them.

  • Mandy 9th March 2018 at 8:30 am

    Gorgeous houses, I too love the restrained naturals pallette but never quite manage to achieve it – clearly my inner designer likes a bit of colour! Still, I can look at houses like these and dream.

  • Jane 9th March 2018 at 8:29 am

    My builder has been suggesting a sliding door for an understairs cupboard in place of the outstandingly horrible plastic concertina door that the previous owner put in. Personally I wanted a simple door opening outwards, but whereas builders don’t bat an eye at being asked to knock down walls, put up walls, etc, the re-hanging of a door so that it opens out instead of in immediately starts them suggesting alternatives. But my style isn’t neo-industrial, it’s… neo-traditional I suppose. Elegant is what I’m aiming for. Which doesn’t seem to fit with a sliding door…? And it’s the focal point at the end of a corridor.

  • Our French Oasis 9th March 2018 at 8:13 am

    Just looking around me now and wondering where I can incorporate sliding doors and how many of the white window frames I can paint dark in our old French farmhouse! The look is stunning but alas I know it is a very long job painting window frames so it might just have to wait, a very long while! Have a lovely weekend and hopefully with some springlike weather!

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