Mad About . . ., Mad About The House

Mad About The House: A House Tour

28th November 2016
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When we last spoke on Friday, I left you poking around two very different houses; one old and one new. Then on Friday evening I put my glad rags on and went to the Vuelio Blog Awards where The Mad House was nominated for best interior design blog.


I wasn’t expecting win anything as, er, I won last year, but having been unable to attend the ceremony then it seemed only fair to go along this time and show my support for everyone else.

Also, I like these awards as they are calculated on the basis of reader engagement (that’s you lovely lot), reach and how much you post – that sort of thing. It’s not about campaigning and asking for votes which I always find excruciating and which does tend to favour those who run a good campaign.

Screenshot Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

And it’s good excuse for party frock and a pair of taxi shoes which, as the last few weekends have been spent decorating, made a welcome change. At least it did until I realised I had told the taxi to take us to The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane rather than the actual venue for the awards, which was The Brewery in Chiswell Street. Thank God for more taxis.


Well, as those of you who follow me on instagram will know I won! Which was wonderful and thrilling and all those clichés that you imagine it to be. But that wasn’t it. Right at the end, when I was deep in conversation with my friend Tania who had accompanied me to the awards, they announced the winner of the best UK Blog. Well blow me down I only went and bloody won that too.

So here’s where you come in. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all of you for all your support and for reading this blog as much as you do. It will be five years old next February and while it has grown bigger every year, I still love my little corner of the internet and all its visitors just as much as I did when I started. It’s (another) cliché, but this blog wouldn’t still exist if it wasn’t for all of you dropping in for a read and leaving your comments and starting conversations. Thank you. All of you.

image by James Balston

image by James Balston

Some of you, who have been here since the start, will have seen how The Mad House has changed over the years and I thought, instead of the usual 10 Rooms post I would do 10 pictures of my house. Especially as the bedroom and bathroom have just been redecorated. You will see full posts on both of them soon but a) the bedroom isn’t quite finished although we have now agreed on the colour and b) the bathroom, which is painted in that gorgeous deep dark Down Pipe, doesn’t really lend itself to a photoshoot on a dark wet November morning. I’m trying people, I’m trying but for now you’ll have to make do with the shower and the dark wall.


Below is the library with my furniture collection with made.com in it. I will be talking about this is more detail in the next week when it finally launches but that is another thing that the blog has brought me. The chance to create a capsule collection with made, a company I admire greatly for their championing of young designers and their modern high tech approach – not to mention the affordability.


As you can see the collection consists of a navy blue velvet chair, a rug, lots of cushions and a table lamp, which was the piece that I actually designed. You will see much better pictures of it as soon as they come back from the photographer. This shot is a bit dark – it’s a sort of tease picture.



When we moved into this house it was two rental flats that we converted back into a single dwelling. To begin with we painted all the walls and floors white but gradually the shades of grey have been creeping in. In every room I have stayed true to my mantra of something new, something old, something black and something gold and I will be expanding on that during December when I know many of you will be too busy preparing for Christmas to visit as often as usual so we’re going to recap on some tips and ideas and bring lots of new inspirational pictures to show you.


Finally a picture of my loft which didn’t exist at all when we bought the house and which is now one of my favourite rooms.


Actually this is the final – a picture of me accepting the award, which I share with all of you as you make it possible. Thank you all for being my readers and my clients and my virtual friends.


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  • Cath @bramble_66 7th December 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Hi! Congrats for the awards. Stumbled across you on Instagram – love the blog 🙂

  • Lizzie 7th December 2016 at 8:07 am

    I agree with your readers: your blog is addicting. Came in for the design, stayed for the wit — years ago. Congratulations, Kate.

  • Rachel Davis 1st December 2016 at 12:13 pm

    I save you up for Saturday mornings in bed with a cup of tea! I love indulging on a week’s worth of posts!

  • stevie 1st December 2016 at 11:11 am

    Wonderful blog. Thanks to you I found the perfect grey for my living room (Cornforth White)! I am now a devotee – thank you!

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 1st December 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Oh I’m so glad. That’s a lovely colour XK

  • ELIZABETH 30th November 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Hooray for you! Love your blog too!

  • Annie 30th November 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Huge congratulations! I love your blog, and have been an avid follower for quite a while.

    One random question – I don’t suppose when you do a feature on your new bathroom (which I love so far by the way!) you could mention the dimensions of your new shower enclosure? Both the tiles and the bit enclosed by glass? I think it is fantastic! No rush though, I am a little way off planning a new bathroom for our house… Thank you!

  • carrie 29th November 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Fantastic, well done! I started following your blog 2 yrs ago when we moved to a new house. Its the only blog I read, having limited time with work and 2 small kids. I’m addicted! you’ve provided us with a lot of inspiration and lovely ideas so thank you. Only this weekend we purchased a sofa from Sofas and Stuf after hearing about it on your blog. They were very pleased to hear we sourced their website from you! Congrats again
    By the way – where did you buy the lovely rugs in your lounge?

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 30th November 2016 at 8:11 am

      Hi Carrie, How are you? How is the house? My rugs are a mix of old and new. A couple were stolen from my mother and a couple came from Fired Earth when I think they had a couple of one offs. You can buy rugs like this in North London – Highgate Road but also various places online. I like that they are old and faded and, crucially, don’t show the red wine spills. Send me some pictures of the house XK

  • Sue Luckin 29th November 2016 at 10:24 am

    You’re just THE BEST……funny, clever, inspirational and I feel like we are friends….never stop the blog, I am ADDICTED!

  • Leigh Davies 29th November 2016 at 9:42 am

    Congratulations Kate, this is certainly very well deserved. Your blog is always informative, interesting and inspiring. The best by a mile! Well done.

  • Helene 29th November 2016 at 8:16 am

    Well deserved! I have only recently discovered your blog and it is brilliant…practical, inspiring and fun to read.

  • Jo 28th November 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! Enormously well deserved 🙂
    Jo (aka latefinals)

  • Valerie 28th November 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Hooray! Well done. I love reading your witty blog over breakfast-starts my day with a smile ?

  • Anna 28th November 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Congratulations on your awards, I really enjoy reading your blog. Your house pics are great, I was wondering what your attic extension windows are made of? I love the slim cross bars and the way they frame the view without looking too chunky. I am on the lookout for similar ones for an extension we are planning, I was thinking about Crittall but am worried they might be a bit cold in a bedroom. Any advice you can give would be fab! Thanks, Anna

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 29th November 2016 at 7:32 am

      Hi Anna, they are just wooden windows that we had painted black. We also wanted crittall but just couldn’t afford it. I don’t think they will be cold these days as they will all be made with proper modern glass etc – I think the original ones are pretty draughty. This is a cheaper alternative. Ours are painted in Railings by Farrow and Ball which is a little softer than black.

      • Anna 30th November 2016 at 6:09 pm

        Fantastic, thanks for your advice – cheaper sounds good to us too! I also really love the colour 🙂

  • Lizzie Owen 28th November 2016 at 4:49 pm

    5 years ago, I already thought you were THE number one interior blogger…just because I genuinely thought I was sure I’d seen it written somewhere…well anyway, this is the perfect time to say ‘told you so’!! You fabulous talented blogger you – the award only cements what we all really knew…you deserve it clearly, mainly because you DON’T vote-bore, and harp on about it 24/7 lol x

    Well done chica – here’s to more awards for more inspiring things that pop out of that head of yours x

  • Debs 28th November 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Hi, can I ask about the shower in the pictures of your house?
    I really like the idea of the walk in shower with glass ‘walls’ but no obvious fixtures, fittings and hinges or tracks to get grimey as they can in busy household showers especially in hard water areas like mine. With no shower base is it a wet room and how are the glass partitions fixed?
    Thanks, Debs

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 28th November 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Debs, it’s a sort of wet room – as the tiles act as the base and the drain was built into the tiles with lots of tanking underneath. There is quite a big “fall” on the tiles to make sure the water drains away from the rest of the floor and you have to have quite a large tiled area – mainly for the splash zone. The sides are large pieces of glass which have been slotted in between the tiles and held in place by grout and silicon. I hope that helps, Kate

  • Kate 28th November 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Congratulations. I read your blog every morning while eating my breakfast. I love it.

  • Alison Harris 28th November 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Congratulations on winning. Always look forward to the blog, especially the photos of houses for sale even though they are out of my price range. But nice to see how other half lives.

  • Robyn Sparkles 28th November 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Well done! I’m a new reader of yours but for sure I’ll be a permanent one! I love the old, new, black and gold rule and it really does work. I am in love with your gold palm tree (?) lamp. Huge congratulations on both your awards ?

    Robyn Sparkles

  • NickyG23 28th November 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Congratulations, well deserved! Love your blog. I have a fantasy friend list which features people “who would be my friend if not famous”‘ . It’s not very long but you feature.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 28th November 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Ha! I’m not remotely famous and I’m sure we would be friends in real life rather than just in the virtual mad house! x

  • Maxine 28th November 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Congrats. Yours is the only blog I regularly read. I am also reading the same book as the one on your bedside table! Heading back that way again next week for a design and glögg fix 🙂

  • Vonny 28th November 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve been awfully tempted by lots of ideas in blog entries and have a birdy leg table to show for it so far. I really like reading your responses to comments too. Thanks for sharing all your ideas and inspirations.

  • Fiona Duke 28th November 2016 at 12:14 pm

    well done Kate – you do a fantastic job and you deserve your accolades and make sure you make time to enjoy them too 🙂

  • Volkan 28th November 2016 at 11:28 am

    Congratulations! Not just a great blog but also a down to earth person who responds to questions / comments etc. Well deserved!

  • Emma Caddis 28th November 2016 at 10:49 am

    Congratulations, I love your blog and always look forward to your new posts. Totally deserved!!!

  • Busola Evans 28th November 2016 at 10:49 am

    Wonderful, wonderful news and richly deserved. I can’t even remember how I came across your blog a couple of years ago but it is an absolute joy and inspiration. Keep up the amazing work (no pressure!) xx

  • Joanna 28th November 2016 at 10:15 am

    Delighted for you, very well deserved. I pop in almost daily for a quick break and a bit of deco inspiration – thank you. I bet you anything Enid’s convinced she’s a major factor in your success!

  • Art & Hue 28th November 2016 at 10:11 am

    Huge congratulations and well-deserved! Double-whammy award-winning blog, wonderful!

  • Eva Hanson 28th November 2016 at 10:06 am

    Enormous congratulations Kate! Well deserved and thank you for sharing pics of your lovely house. Eva x

  • Raphael 28th November 2016 at 10:03 am

    Congratulations Kate, so very well deserved! Your posts never fail to inspire, and are now part of my morning ritual.
    Raphael x

  • Janna 28th November 2016 at 9:49 am

    Huge congratulations, Kate , and truly deserved ! Thrilled for you . Absolutely love all your Instagram posts and your fab blog ~ always an inspiration.
    Well done you ! Champagne all round !

  • Liz 28th November 2016 at 9:41 am

    Huge congratulations !

  • Sarah 28th November 2016 at 9:28 am

    Congratulations! Hope the hangover wasn’t too bad.
    Looking forward to more MATH and that table lamp has my credit card twitching

  • Emily Mathieson 28th November 2016 at 9:23 am

    So well deserved. I find your interiors so thoughtful and inspiring. Please keep doing what you do!

  • Fiona wyatt 28th November 2016 at 9:02 am

    Hooray! How exciting and very well deserved for the lady who entertains with her witty, intelligent and oh-so informative blog. You unfailingly encourage and inspire, so congratulations – I’m thrilled for you!

  • Jenny 28th November 2016 at 8:57 am

    Your house gives me serious design envy. I adore your kitchen especially. Many congrats and thanks for this blog, it’s one of my faves.

  • Julie Searles 28th November 2016 at 8:48 am

    Fantastic, congratulations, I love reading your blogs, well deserved.

  • Our French Oasis 28th November 2016 at 8:15 am

    Woohoo, congratulations and very well deserved. Xx

  • CAROLINE BLIGH 28th November 2016 at 8:05 am

    Well done Kate. Well deserved. Cx

  • Rachael Hare 28th November 2016 at 7:59 am

    Congratulations Kate, well deserved. I’ll admit, there have been other bloggers in my life, but as quickly as I subscribe, I unsubscribe. However, I always stay true to MATH. Long may you continue and thank you for sharing the pics of your gorgeous home w

  • Natasha 28th November 2016 at 7:52 am

    Congratulations – I love your blog so am delighted to see you get the recognition you deserve. Well done ??

  • Anne Brown 28th November 2016 at 7:51 am

    Congratulations on your well-deserved win. I’ve only been following you for a couple of weeks but have found your posts both informative and inspirational. Am so looking forward to seeing how you add Christmas into the mix.

  • Janet Whincup 28th November 2016 at 7:45 am


  • Vicki 28th November 2016 at 7:44 am

    Very well deserved, big congrats. I do look forward to reading your blog posts and seeing the lovely pictures of your home. Well done on your win(s)!

  • Maria 28th November 2016 at 7:40 am

    As a fellow, (albeit a newbie), interiors blogger I love reading your blog. A well deserved win and may there be many more!! Congratulations!!

  • Sandra 28th November 2016 at 7:38 am

    Wonderful news! Congratulations on your well-deserved win! I really Enjoy reading your blog . So inspiring. The beautiful dark places in my house probably wouldn’t have been there, if it wasn’t for you and your blog!

  • BlasR 28th November 2016 at 7:37 am

    Well done, Kate! Your blog is always a pleasure to read which brightens my start of the day. Thank you. Enjoyed seeing your house, and Enid. Delighted to note we share the same taste in pastis water jugs. Have a brilliant week.

  • Betsy 28th November 2016 at 7:31 am

    Finding your blog has been one of the highlights of my 2016. I love this!

  • Vered Gabay 28th November 2016 at 7:18 am

    Congratulations and celebrations. You deserve it. I am very happy with your blog and I believe the same are all the rest of your followers.
    Best blog indeed!!!

  • Deirdre O Brien 28th November 2016 at 7:16 am

    Congrats Kate. I love your blog!

  • Christine 28th November 2016 at 7:15 am

    Congratulations, I always look forward to your blog and enjoy your comments and photos immensely. Love your design work and seeing the development and changes you have made to the Mad House, long may you continue

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