The House Is Finished

Finally, the house is finished. And here are the photos to prove it. They were taken by Pernilla of House of Locations, who thinks it might earn a bit of a living posing behind actors and models. We’ll see. In the meantime, for those of you who have asked how the renovations are going, here is how they went.

This was the door to the kitchen on the first floor.


From this . . .


To this: the secret door to one son's bedroom


Behind the secret door

The original bathroom redefined the word “squalid”. It was so awful that there are no before images.

The unspeakable bathroom became a shower room

This first floor room was our sitting room when we moved in and needed only some heavy decoration to spruce it up a bit. It’s now the spare room and, when needed, a television and games room for the boys.

Spot the bargain Ikea lamps


The pink fireplace in the spare room


spare room and/or television room

The master bedroom had a bright blue carpet and magnolia woodchip on the walls. We built that purple wall across the room and which is a walk-through cupboard and dressing area leading to the bathroom next door, which was a bedroom.


This was the decor throughout and all the windows were aluminium
All the windows had to be replaced


The master bedroom with its hidden closet


Walk behind here to find the clothes storage which leads to . . .


. . . the en suite bathroom, fomerly a bedroom


Two basins are reportedly the secret of a happy marriage?


The en suite bathroom

Downstairs, which was formerly a one bedroom flat, the sitting room was knocked into one large space but as the rooms are on different levels, it retains a certain amount of separateness.

The old view from what is now the library
Formerly the flat's one bedroom which led to a bathroom behind those books.
The door to the bathroom is now a wall of books


This room need to be skimmed and decorated. And given new doors and windows. And several floorboards replaced and painted.
 so now it looks like this


It leads out to the hall


Looking back the other way


Love my spotty carpet from Alternative Flooring. The bannister is painted in Farrow & Ball Banjul to match

And, finally, the kitchen, which has been written about previously, but this time with better pictures.


Building the extension
from the doors at the back


With the skylight which broke on installation and had to be re-ordered


The tin ceiling over the eating area

The before pictures were taken on my phone. The after shots were taken by


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. Hai Keta,
    you did a great job, Especially Behind the secret door design is mind blowing. The before and after is just unbelievable.

  2. Hi Kate, can you please let me know if you painted you walls, ceiling, stairs and bannister in your hallway Wimborne white. I’m loving the spotty runner and it looks amazing .I also love the colour (Banjul) on the top of your banister but I don’t think F&B do this colour anymore?


    1. Hi Linda, yes it was indeed wimborne white – it’s a particularly lovely chalky white shade thats never cold. It is Brinjul and I bought some the other day so I think they do do it yes, unless it was old stock.

  3. Hi Kate, I really love your website. Follow your posts as much as I can. I have moved into my place over a year ago and I’m still trying to find the right furniture and pics/wall art.
    I have a nice kitchen with lots of space for a nice dining table. It would be great if you could tell me where you bought your table. I have already got a set of black DSR Vitra chairs and was thinking that a nice old wooden table might work well with it. Thank you for letting me know. Imke

    1. Hi Imke, I’m so glad you love the site. Yes I think an old table would work really well. Mine is an old art school table that I found in a junk shop about ten years ago and I think you should probably look in the same sort of places. I don’t know where you are based but here is one at dighaushizzle or try ebay. I would strip the legs if you find a painted one though. I also found this gorgeous beast. It’s probably just a question of hunting about. Good luck.

      1. Hi Kate, Thank you very much. I like the style of the Dighaushizzle one but will also follow your advise and check out junk shops. Any shops you know in West London/Chiswick would be great! I will keep following your posts to get inspired. Thank you Imke

  4. Hi Kate, still loving the site…
    Two questions if you don’t mind?
    I have chosen to do my whole house in Wimbourne White but a friend has said it develops a yellow tinge over time – like a room where someone smokes! Do you have any experience of this?
    Also I am shamelessly planning to copy your colourful wooden fireplace but am looking for a deep, bright super glossy purple – any suggestions?
    Many thanks,Jenny

    1. Hi Jenny, my whole house is Wimbourne White painted three years ago – no yellow that I have been able to detect. I will ask Farrow & Ball and see what they say. I have had a look at some purples and Zoffany do a gorgeous one called Violet Dusk see what you think of that one. I’ll come back to you on the yellow tinge….

  5. I love the grey carpet in the bedroom with the bargain idea lamps. Can u pals tell me where you sourced as looking to do the same. Gorgeous house by the way, well done!

  6. Looks Great! I am about to move into a new house that needs some doing up so I am looking for inspiration. I like the white floorboards and I love the dining room table.

  7. What a transformation!! Congratulations.
    What white colour have you used everywhere? Is it farrow and Ball?
    Have you used the same colour on the floor?

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, we used the same colour everywhere – Farrow & Ball Wimborne White on walls, ceilings, floors and skirting boards. Except the kitchen ceiling which was done plain white when we took our eye off the ball momentarily. We will redo it at some point.

    1. Hi Caroline, sorry for late reply, I have been away. Thank you so much for your kind comments on the house. We are really enjoying living in it now that it’s finished. Although for a while without the builders, it did feel very big!

    1. HA! My house is very flattered by your comments but currently married to me! If we split up I will let you know (via the estate agent of course!).

    1. Thank you so much. In fact, thank you to everyone for their kind comments. I can’t say it was fun doing it but the end result was definitely worth it.

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