The Househunter: Room by Room

16th March 2018

Earlier this week I went to a dinner at Habitat hosted by the television presenter and interior stylist Sophie Robinson, who was there to talk about about colour psychology and how most of us fall into four distinct seasonal personalities. That is to say that most of us will have one dominant season with elements of another and this first house makes me think of that.

Now first up if you want to read more about it and have a go at seeing what you are then here is the link to the first post I wrote about it. And if you want to take the course then you can book here. Now I am basically Autumn with a hint of Summer, which is why I love this house but mine own wouldn’t look like this.

Essentially I like the natural textures, the collections of pictures and the rich textiles on the velvet sofa and the patterned one. But I would have to paint the walls. Make it all a bit darker and dramatic and cosier. The Mad Husband, I have now understood, is Summer with some Autumn. This is why we mostly agree on decorating decisions, but why I am baffled when he wants books arranged – not just shoved on shelves, a matching pair of chairs in the library and a sense of order and symmetry in a space. I find too much symmetry stressful and prefer things to be mismatched. We are both able to compromise fortunately.

So this house, which is on the market in Hove, near Brighton, with The Modern House for £950,000 appeals to me enormously at first glance because of the muted colours and mismatching, but comfortable furniture, but if I bought it – and it’s sweet, I could be tempted – there would be rugs on the floor and paint on the walls in short order. If you are a Spring person, by the way, I imagine you are finding this too rustic and dark and are itching to make the whole place lighter and brighter.

So for completeness I should tell you that Winters will probably most like this bathroom with its dramatic black and white decor although they might want a less twiddly mirror. It’s a subject that I now find completely fascinating – having initially pooh-poohed it until I found out more about it. Let me know what you think. I would be interested to know if readers of this blog fall mainly into one season or another.

Now – time for another? Let’s just have a quick scoot around this house in Bath which is on with Strutt & Parker for £2,750,000 but is empty. I don’t usually show you empty houses as the point of this post is to inspire you with what you see, but this has good bathrooms and a great kitchen so I thought why not.

Come on in and let’s have a look at the hall. So far so neutral. But there’s a dado rail so there’s the first idea for adding some interest. You can paint below the rail in a darker colour – perhaps to pick up on the dark kitchen unit that is just visible. Painting it dark is practical too as it won’t show the scuffs and handprints and will help define the space. Paint the skirting boards, wall and rail and you can see that it leads you naturally up the stairs to a suitable stopping point. It’s up to you if you do the door frames and doors as well.

Into the sitting room which is open to the kitchen. This room is large enough to have two sofas facing each other on either side of the fireplace and creates a natural break from the kitchen area even though there is no wall. Bring the pendant light a bit lower over the coffee table and zone the whole space with a rug that allows at least the front legs of the sofas to sit on it.

If you don’t want two sofas you can have one and two armchairs next to each other. If it’s ever possible don’t put the furniture round the edge of the room as it can be a bit doctor’s waiting room. That’s not alway possible I know  –  in our narrow Victorian terrace the sofas have to go against wall and bay window but we have a long thin knock through and have one chair with its back to the room behind to create the idea that they are separate spaces.

And here is that kitchen. Dark kitchens are definitely on the up at the moment and this, with its light wooden floor and large window is in no danger of being too dark. If you were worried you could put a large foxed/antique mirror on the wall above the fireplace to bounce a little more light around but still be in keeping with the more rustic feel of this room. Add a couple of bar stools and this is a wonderful space.

To the bathrooms and this one above is all the reasons why personally (and it’s my opinion only) I tend to steer clear of large grey tiles. It’s a tiny bit pavement. But the modern rustic basin unit and free standing bath are wonderful. Throw in some fake plants for added greenery and luxe and you won’t notice the floor as much.

Or, as in the bathroom below – keep the grey to the walls – here it’s luxurious rather than cold. Add a neon or bright pop art picture over the fireplace – or more mirror and a vintage wooden stool to rest a towel and a glass of wine and you’re all set.

So there you have it. Brighton or Bath? Will your choice be led by your season – remember it’s fantasy lottery win money so we don’t have to worry about that on these pages.

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  • Megan Jerome 18th March 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I love your blog and the many avenues of inspiration where it leads. I’m a musician and get tons of inspiration from interiors!! I think through your first post on colour psychology I was eventually directed toward Fiona Humberstone – The Brand Stylist. I’ve since worked through both of her books, Brand Brilliance and How to Style your Brand. Both have been really thorough and helpful – and colour psychology is just the beginning! They’re full of probing questions and exercises that clarify a lot about one’s look/brand. I’ve applied them not just to my home but to my life as a musician as well – with promo and artwork – and have really enjoyed the results! I’m a spring personality with a winter approach to music/aesthetics.

  • Erica 16th March 2018 at 11:02 pm

    I actually prefer empty houses. I don’t want to see other people’s furniture. When a real estate agent shows me staged property, I usually pass it up. I can’t see the actual property. I need to be able to see the bones because I know what I would want to do. I also don’t want to see recently renovated property, since I’ll likely want to rip out everything that’s just been done.

  • Anna 16th March 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Summer with a touch of autumn cos got to have bookshelves in the room.

    The owners in Hove would add several thousand to the value their house if the got the painter in!

    • Sophie Robinson 19th March 2018 at 8:17 am

      Getting the decorators innis such a Summer thing to say! Ever the perfectionist!

  • Val 16th March 2018 at 11:40 am

    The colour psychology is really interesting – just discovered I’m an Autumn too with a teeny bit of summer which is probably why I want to move into your house!!

  • Varsha| Villas in OMR 16th March 2018 at 9:31 am

    I’ve always loved open spaces. And the open kitchen to the fireplace looks more spacious. The bath also looks practical by the way 🙂 Like all of it, KATE !

  • Sally 16th March 2018 at 8:25 am

    I love the 2nd one! Not sure what season that makes me??! I agree about the grey floor tiles- some lovely patterned ones would look better and I love the dark kitchen, however I would remove all wall cupboards/wall mounted oven and have some lovely open shelves, to make the most of the space and high ceilings- and yes, a huge antique mirror over the fireplaces! Love the grey walls in the 2nd bathroom… yep, I’m buying it…. come on lotto, where’s my big win??!

  • Asia 16th March 2018 at 8:22 am

    I’m loving Hove, although not surprisingly I am also Summer and Autumn. What colour do you think the kitchen cabinets are? I thought Inchyra Blue maybe? Love tbe floors also. What something similar in our kitchen but worried that they are not super practical and every time I dropped a tea bag it would mark.

  • Rach with an E 16th March 2018 at 7:30 am

    Autumn anticipating Spring

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