My Interior Design News

Usually I use the last Wednesday of the month to tell you about interior design news belonging to other people. This month I’m going to show you two projects that I’m working on. As you know I’m mostly a writer rather than a doer and, aside from the odd interior design consultation, I have mostly stayed in my lane but recently I have been asked to collaborate on two projects which were so exciting I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

The first is in this building. I know! It’s right opposite St James Palace and will consist of five apartments. The first, third and fourth take up the whole floor, there is a penthouse, with a roof terrace, on five and six and a tiny one bedroom on the second floor.

St James Mayfair owned by Berry Bros & Rudd

It’s a listed building so the first priority is restoration. The lift is being rebuilt but the original car will be used. All the panelling and windows will be kept and restored and secondary double glazing added.

St James Mayfair owned by Berry Bros & Rudd

The aim is to create a series of beautiful apartments that are both sustainable and beautiful. I’m not sure we’ve seen really high-end eco before. To that end, the sofas in each apartment will, of course, be my Vita from my sustainable collaboration with Love Your Home, which with matching armchairs, will be available to order from 5 November.

St James Mayfair owned by Berry Bros & Rudd
a fireplace in Berry Bros & Rudd wine merchant

We have salvaged any lamps we found lying around and new shades will be made with fabric sourced from the Haines Collection, who will also provide fabric for any headboards and cushions. Then we are looking to fill it with vintage furniture and pieces from small makers and workshops.

St James Mayfair owned by Berry Bros & Rudd
part of Berry Bros & Rudd, this room is believed to have been Henry VIII’s Real Tennis court.

The building belongs to the wine company Berry Bros and I was lucky enough to be invited on a tour of their Harry Potter like building next door with my design partner Patti Patrick of Obbard, to gain an understanding of the ethos and look.

casa roca in palma mallorca

The second project I revealed on Instagram last week, but I am always conscious that not everyone sees those stories over here. It’s a former stationery shop in Palma, Mallorca with flats above that is going to become a boutique aparthotel. It’s taken the owner, Susan (who I met when she came on the interiors course I did with Sophie Robinson way back in February 2020) five years to get planning permission but now that she has it’s all systems go.

casa roca in palma mallorca

I flew out for three days last week to walk around and discuss plans. The architects have already worked out the accommodation which will be a series of one bedroom and studio apartments with a three bedroom penthouse on the top floor. The shop will remain largely as it is – too beautiful to mess with – and be used mostly as the reception for the hotel with a seating area. There are plans for a gym and small cinema for guests to hire for private screenings in the basement.

casa roca in palma mallorca

It’s all very exciting and I feel very lucky to be working on both projects. I will, of course, keep you all posted as to progress of these lovely buildings although as you can see from the pictures both are substantial projects.

casa roca in palma mallorca

Once again I don’t want to give too much away but it has been interesting learning about what is required for both buildings. One will be high-end rental, the will have a high turnover of guests. So cleaning, damage and repairs are all high priorities. Susan runs several holiday lets already with her company Espais Roca and is well versed in common problems and questions asked.

casa roca in palma mallorca

One of which is hotel lighting. All her properties use tech to turn lights on an off and having roamed around my hotel room flicking switches on and off and being unable to turn down the air conditioning last week I welcome the idea of being able to lie in bed and say “Turn off the main light and turn on my reading lamp”.

casa roca in palma mallorca

We are also looking closely at bathroom storage – don’t you often find in hotel bathrooms that you have to balance everything round the side of the basin and then you knock it off? So, together we are working through all those tiny details as well as creating something really beautiful and fitting for the location that also respects the history of the building.

And in other news we are shooting my Vita armchairs tomorrow before they go on the website with the sofa on 5 November. I’ll show you when the picture are back from the edit.



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. Wow Kate. Two dream jobs… no budget constraints for you personally 👏 Your considered approach will bring so much to these projects and I can’t wait to see end result. Congrats and enjoy this new roller-coaster ride.

  2. Both buildings are beautiful but the one in London – oh my! I can’t wait to see the progress on both buildings, especially with sustainable furnishings. I restore old houses and love the “as found” part, too — is there a way to see more pictures of the London building in its “before” state?

    And can you fit a US meet & greet into your busy schedule, please? (Lol)

  3. I bet you felt…Pinch me is this real? Wonderful buildings that need a considered touch from you Kate.

    We have stayed in a great many hotels and often only one arm chair is provided so that one of us has to sit on the bed. 2 armchairs in the Hotel rooms please.

    In the flats do consider an induction hob with integrated extractor. Cooker hoods are never attractive especially in the centre of an island unit.

    So looking forward to following this challenge with you.

  4. New challenges, how exciting!
    It might be interesting to see how well the work progresses both here and in Palma and what hoops one has to go through to get things done on time.
    I’m sure your input will be invaluable with all your considerable expertise. Can’t wait to see the end result.

  5. Both buildings are total stunners! I am really looking forward to seeing the result and it is great that you are going against the norm of ripping everything out and putting in everything that has to be new new new!!

  6. How wonderful for you. With your engaging personality, design talent and excellent colour sense you are going to become a household word. We selfishly hope you won’t abandon us. Cheers from Canada!

  7. Congratulations Kate, well done you, in really happy for you! And the very best thing about projects like these is that they aren’t your own, you don’t have to worry about budget, problema asking the way it last minute decisions! Just enjoy the process and feel happy with the results! Please keep us informed.

  8. WOW! These look like amazing projects to be involved in and I’m sure it will look so stylish at the end. I hope you keep us up to date on your blog with how you get on.

  9. Couldn’t agree more re lack of bathroom storage in hotels! It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – just some open shelves for sponge bag / make-up bag and a couple of hooks to hang things up.
    Good luck with these amazing projects!

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