The Househunter Room by Room

We’re staying in London this week but looking at two very different properties. One is modern and very Scandinavian in feel and has two patio gardens. It’s on the market with The Modern House for £1,175,000. The other is a similar price and is Victorian with a more traditional feel. Coming?

modern galley kitchen via the modern house

This first image shows you that all is not lost with a galley kitchen. Yes it’s compact but it’s been beautifully done and has an expensive feel. I don’t know if it’s real marble but it wouldn’t have to be. The spotty splashback tiles are great and bring an element of fun to the space.

tiles via the modern house

I might have been tempted to be a little less tasteful with the pendant lamps – by which I mean something with a little more colour and drama. Or you could keep them white and add coloured flex for a more subtle touch. I’m always a fan of an open shelf though and while I suspect this has been tidied for the estate agent imagine using it as an indoor herb garden for both colour and scent.

scandi inspired living room via the modern house

The muted colours of this sitting room are so restful and not at all cold. Shades of grey with wood and pink will always work in my book and note how the rug is under the sofa which immediately creates a seating area that is distinct from the dining part.

sky light via the modern house

I included this one for the colours – black, white and green – another classic combination that is both fresh and restful. And you could change this all the time with different throws and cushions depending in the time of year so it could be cosy in winter and light in summer.

Next up we’re crossing London to this five bedroom house in west London which is for sale for £1,850,000 with Kinleigh, Folkard and Hayward.

knock through reception via kfh

This is a great house but just because you have a lot of space doesn’t give you the right to waste it. The back half of this sitting room doesn’t seem to have a visible purchase. Now if you read guest blogger Amanda Lamb the other day you’ll remember that she said every room must be shown to have a purpose. This is just empty. I would put a couple of small chairs in, a rug to zone it and then either more books or music. That way it could be a quiet area that you could go to sit in and read the papers in the morning or perhaps have an early evening drink. Just make sure you use all the space you have.

grey bedroom via kfh

I love this grey bedroom, which looks very like my own Pavilion Grey by Farrow & Ball but it’s softened by the pretty flowery chairs at the end of the bed. Green and grey is such a great combination. It’s both fresh and cosy depending on how dark you go with the grey. Note matching skirting boards and door frames and old school radiator which, as it’s cast iron and thing of (relative) beauty – doesn’t need to be painted to match the walls.

exposed brick kitchen via kfh

The kitchen is a great mix of marble, brick and wooden floors and looks like a proper working kitchen as opposed to something that has been created simply to look good. Like the first house it’s a galley layout although I think there is more room round the edges. One tip – if you want more colour or pattern but don’t want a rug in the food area then think about making a “rug” of tiles as they have done here. It just softens the overall look but is entirely practical.

black alcoves via kfh

Finishing with a final look at the sitting room. Dark bookshelves always look great and it makes a change from painting a feature wall. To tie it all together you could paint the skirting boards all the way round in the same dark which would tie the shelves in and anchor the space while not making it seem smaller as the walls are pale.

So modern or traditional this week? Which one is it to be?

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. I really love the grey bedroom structure as it looks great and gives relaxable feeling. I am looking forward to upgrading my bedroom structure and your idea will help me with that. You are doing a great job by posting different home decorating ideas keep doing this wonderful job

  2. Ummm. Neither, I think. First one – I agree with Sonia – too long and thin. Also – so sterile. I know it’s been staged for the agent’s photos, but one thing I notice about both houses: where’s all the furniture?? Front room of the Victoria: an adult size sofa, and child sized armchair – and where do the rest of us sit? On the floor at the empty end of the room? The other one: just another wannabe MCM grey sofa. I think I might buy a beige one. Just. Because.

  3. The second one here too. I just wonder about how the front space is used in these victorian houses. Usually, people create a living area where they watch tv close to the kitchen in the back of the house. But then, there’s a redundant space at the front with another living area. Do they ever use that space? It reminds me of formal dining rooms that sort of make sense in theory but not really, specially if space is premium and you need an office/playroom. I would turn those two front rooms into a a big office or turn the big one into the office and open the second one so it becomes part of the hallway, creating a proper entrance room with pretty storage for coats, shoes and all the stuff that gets crammed up in the narrow hallway. *daydreaming mode*

  4. Love the first one. Not surprising as it is not too different from my own converted country bungalow with walls of window facing South East, long reception area and simple wood floors. Just mine looks quite different because right now I am into bold colours. The walls and long curtains are grey, cream and darker greige but upholstery is bright yellow (sofa) with cushions and dining chairs in dark red velvet, purple cotton and a toning chinz (beige with purple, pink and green). Just a little fancy of mine – next year it could all be changed at little cost – I do my own upholstery.

    Your website is a perpetual inspiration. I just finished doing my son’s budget kitchen with dark grey units, cream walls and plenty of stainless steel, with earthy tile surround and colour touches of strong blue and orange and pinkish red. He said he quite liked it. So he likes your style!

    PS If you want to read my BLOG (general comment and some fiction from the countryside) ask by email for the password.

  5. The second one for me. The first one was quite large to judge by the floor plan but it is so long and thin it feels poky.

  6. I like the second one. I would also make better use of the other end of the sitting room but overall I think they’ve done a great job decorating it. I also had a look at the floor plan and it looks well thought out.

Comments are closed.