The Househunter: Room by Room

Ok I’m done. I’m officially over this weather. Not while I have to work and function and think about anything more taxing than where the next drink/meal/book is coming from. So this house has been chosen purely because when I saw the first picture on the site (which is the second one here) I immediately wanted to go in and lie down on those cool concrete floors.

See what I mean? It’s on the market with The Modern House for £1,250,00 and I imagine it won’t appeal to everyone but I’m sitting here typing in 34 degrees and barring a seaside villa in Italy I can think of nothing nicer than this. So I’m going in, anyone coming?

It has only just been finished by Takero Shimazaki Architects, and the cool, almost monastic interiors are not what you expect from the exterior chestnut cladding. It’s in north west London, a short way from Kensal Rise and was inspired, apparently by JW Turner’s painting Interior of an Italian Church.

The entrance door is hidden in the chestnut fence which is going to drive the pizza delivery man mad so don’t buy it if you’ve got a Deliveroo habit. Once inside there are more arches leading out onto the small courtyard garden and the shape has been used for internal doors as well creating wonderful shadows when the sun comes in.

It’s arranged over two floors with the kitchen and living room both opening onto that courtyard, which also has an outdoor shower in it. There is also a utility room. So it’s got everything you need – as long as you only need one bedroom.

The study space above has a glass floor which floods the kitchen below with light and this is where the bedroom and bathroom are also situated. Although the study is suggested as a second bedroom it doesn’t have a door and the stairs, with a beautiful brass handrail, come directly up to that area so it’s not a bedroom that could be used everyday but would work for the odd guest.

The bathroom also has brass fittings as well as this wall of gorgeous green tiles and the architect has repurposed a bird bath as the basin. As I said, it’s not for everyone but it’s perfect for today and good to see something completely different – might spark the old brain back into life. Mine has definitely melted.

What do you think? I think it would work in winter because you could add more rugs – maybe hang them on the walls, and you’d still have all the lovely shadows from winter sun. As ever, join the conversation in the comments below.

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. That would be lovely here in Australia; where depending on where you are, 34 degrees isn’t even unusual for half the year; but in London all that grey concrete seems miserable at best!

  2. For the same money you could buy an Italian Villa by the sea…..and have several bedrooms.

    Far too austere and actually depressing, so a strong mental attitude would be essential if you bought the place.

  3. I actually kind of love it. I think in winter, standing with a hot cup of tea, on a gorgeous thick rug, looking out one of the arches towards a steely sky, it’d feel quite romantic and Game Of Thrones-y – especially if you liberally threw a few sheepskins about the place.

    Then add loads of pillar candles, lashings of red wine, lean some oversized bright modern canvasses against the walls and install a hunk to read haikus to you… I don’t think it would feel gloomy at all. 🙂 But that’s just me.

    Also, what would stop you from painting the interior of the arches a vibrant colour? Bright pink… bright green… you can always switch them back to white come summer.

  4. Is it a repurposed bird bath? Looks a bit like a font to me.
    Looks lovely today but I wouldn’t want to spend Xmas there unless it had plenty of rugs and candles.

  5. I really admire the design concept, and I think it looks beautiful now, but all that concrete in a grey English winter – not for me. PS those tiles in the bathroom are now unbiquitous on instagram. They’ll shout 2018 in a few years.

  6. Interesting to see something so different but think it would work better in a warmer climate (assuming this weather will end at some point…). I’d worry it would look too austere in the usual British gloom

  7. I love this house! This is a winner for me. The only things that are a bit disappointing is a) no tree views/garden — such an austere look is really calling for plants to balance it out no? And b) whats with the drab boring kitchen that no one wants to hang out in? For the rest of it, I would be willing to give up Deliveroo! If only I could find that 1 million pounds I seem to have misplaced. Thanks for showing this. Stay cool.

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