The House Is Finished

the extended kitchen with its tin tile ceiing

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 is an updated version with the newly painted sitting room included.


the Ikea cupboards have leather handles
the table had to come in through next door’s house as the door to the kitchen wasn’t wide enough


this was initially painted white but it felt a bit bland
so we spent the Jubilee weekend painting it Downpipe by Farrow & Ball
it feels much more dramatic
as the room is south-facing it isn’t too dark
the rather grandly titled library at the back of the sitting room


the carpet is called Dotty from alternative flooring


the wallpaper hides the door to one son’s bedroom


the unspeakable bathroom became a shower room


this room is now a spare room cum office cum tv room for the boys
the pink fireplace


the bedroom with its walkthrough dressing area behind the purple wall
the en suite bathroom
two basins are apparently the secret to a happy marriage






Tags : en suite bathroomgrey paintgrey sitting roompainted floorboards
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. Hi Kate, I love the rug arrangement you have in your living room. It is quite unusual and it works. I wish I had seen your blog before as I bought a red rug similar to your larger one in the living room for my living room last year. But it is too small, which creates an island in the middle with lots of gap towards the sofas. I now want to get a couple of smaller ones to create the look you have in your room. I’m just a bit nervous though, what’s the secret? Go for the same colour palette? Different sizes? Should overall shape created in the end be a perfect rectangle? Thanks

    1. Hi, we layered our rugs for exactly the same reason as you – we had two really small ones that just didn’t work in the space. Now, if I’m honest, the fact that they go is happy coincidence rather than careful planning as that is all the rugs we have put together in one room, – there are three rectangles and two squares so you can definitely mix the shapes. If you are buying Persian rugs like that, then they tend to be a similar colour palette so you shouldn’t have a problem with colour clash. That means you can mix the patterns. In short – different shapes, different patterns, toning colours – is the key. Have fun layering. XK

  2. Hi, I love your white floors! Can you tell me what you used on them please, and also… How are they holding up? Do they have scuff marks etc on them now? Are they hard to maintain? Thanks

    1. I used Farrow & Ball floorpaint in wimborne white. It has held up really well. There are a few scuff marks – I don’t mind that’ they are reclaimed boards and I’m fine with them looking old. I repainted them recently for the first time in five years. No harder to maintain that any other wooden floor- they are hoovered and mopped once a week in general. I hope that helps.

  3. What a home! Such lovely rooms, i am particularly fond of your sitting room! Im just wondering where your sofa is from? Im having a struggle finding the right furniture for our newly decorated sitting room…a victorian front room with open fire, F&B breakfast room green below our pic rail (white above) wooden floor. My boyfriend loves traditional chesterfields, Im thinking something a bit more tame! Colourwise??? Possibly a deep red or mustard yellow with a chair in a contrasting upholstery. Soft furnishings are not my strong point! I saw your sofa and thought it looked like it could be a meet half way with my boyf.

          1. Thanks Kate, I’ve ordered samples. Can you please confirm they are the Haresfield sofas as yours look a bit different? X

            Many thanks

          2. IF you mean the grey one against the grey wall that is definitely the Haresfield with the buttons. There is another image floating around of a paler grey sofa which isn’t velvet, without the buttonback, which is from and was brought in for a shoot.

  4. Gorgeous house, so many nice details. I wondered where you got your rugs from- the one in the dining area, and the large one in the living room? I’m looking for a similar rug as a starting point for my living room decor. It’s good to see one in situ, as it can be difficult to visualise how a rug will look within the room ( I find it hard anyway, but that’s maybe just me).


    1. Hi, thank you! We have picked the rugs up from a variety of places over the years. You don’t say where you are based but ours either came from shops in north London or family. It can be hard to see it in place but the joy of these is that they tend to go with most colour schemes. Personally I prefer the old faded ones more than the new brightly coloured ones. Do make sure that, if it’s in a sitting room, that it is big enough to go under the front of the sofa and chair legs so that it brings the room together. Otherwise, it will just be an island in the middle of the room with the furniture next to it which doesn’t work.

  5. Very stylish house Kate. Mega gorge!
    Where did you get your skylight from? We’re in the throes of kitchen extension hell and my builder has suggested Velux….

    1. Ugh velux! I’m with you on that! We asked our builder to get the biggest piece of glass he could that wouldn’t need a frame or middle support and that was what he came back with. It doesn’t open but it doesn’t need to and it’s a low enough roof that we can get up there with a ladder to clean it. I say we…. the window cleaner that is!

  6. Hello, I see you have the Eames chairs in your kitchen. How high is your table? I want those chairs for my breakfast room but the seat is only a bit over 16 inches high. My table is 29 inches and my husband says that the chairs are too low. Disappointed and desperate to find an alternative!

    1. Hi Monica, I’m so sorry for the delay in replying – that Christmas stuff does seem to get in the way doesn’t it! So the Eames chairs – mine are just under 18inches high which, I have a feeling, is pretty standard chair height. You can find some that go up to 20inches but 16 seems low. Now, my table: it’s an old art school table and, as such, is high. Too high for the chairs really but we love the chairs and we love the table so the kids sit on cushions! It’s 31.5 inches from floor to table top – which is probably the same ratio as your 16 to 29 isn’t it? We had considered cutting the legs down a bit but the table has huge drawers which means you wouldn’t be able to fit legs under it so we have left it as it is. I have just checked and standard table height is pretty much what you have – between 28 and 19 and standard chair to go with that is about 18 to 20 so the two should go together. I hope not to offend, but are the Eames chairs you have been looking at real or reproduction? There may be variables in reproduction heights so you can perhaps shop around? I wish you luck with your chair hunting and do come back and let us know how you get on, regards Kate

  7. Hi There, Thank you for a great inspiring website. Not sure if you will now have two messages from me, but I would like to know where you sourced the stainless steel worktop in the kitchen and what make the hob is.
    We are about to revamp our kitchen and I love the idea of stainless steel. I understood it is possible to fine firms who can cut out what you need quite cheaply without going through an expensive kitchen supplier. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Sorry for the delayed reply – I have been away. My worktop came from mpm engineering. They are based in Bedfordshire but came to me in London – you don’t say where you are based. The sink was part of their range. It’s a Franke, which I really like and they make sure that the two parts are welded stogether so there are no leaks. We thought it was extremely good value.

  8. Hello, just came across your blog and pics of your fabulous home. Its beautiful. Your en-suite is stunning, I love the gold mirror and that bath!! I love the accent furniture throughout – the gorgeous pink chaise in the lounge. Fab :O)

  9. Hi
    I love your kitchen and want to do something similar myself. Is the kitchen white gloss? I am also considering stainless steel worktops, are they damaged easily and did you put them on the island too?

    1. Hi Jo, thank you very much! The kitchen cupboards (from Ikea) are not gloss but matt and the cabinets along the side are painted in eggshell to continue the matt effect. The handles are leather and are not from Ikea. Yes the worktops are stainless steel and are on the island too. We have had wood before and found it high maintenance, couldn’t afford marble and don’t like granite. Stainless steel can take it all and, yes, it does develop a patina of scratches but that doesn’t look bad and, I think, even adds to its appeal. You can polish it and keep it shiny (my husband does) or you can leave it to its own devices (I do).

  10. Hi Kate,

    I have been admiring your home, it looks great.

    I am currently working on our house and am also using wimborne white on the walls in the kitchen, conservatory and living/dining room. I am opting for an all white scheme in the kitchen but wanted to ask your advice on whether you think I should paint the cabinets the same as the walls (wimborne white), or go for a different brighter white such as F&B’s All White to have a bit of contrast. My counter tops are wood, I have stainless steel appliances and a limestone floor.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Jane, I love wimborne white and have, in fact, painted not just the walls but the ceilings, skirting boards and floors to match. It definitely increases the sense of space. I can understand you fancy a contrast but, having looked at wimborne and all white on my large colour chart, worry that there may not be enough of a contrast and, as colours reflect, they may end up slightly reducing each other to an overall off white effect rather than giving the difference you desire. My kitchen cupboards are from Ikea and are definitely white but when we painted the walls in wimborne they ended up looking as if they had been painted to match – which we were thrilled about. Personally I like the look of everything being painted the same – you have the appliances, worktops and wood in contrasting textures and colours. You could seek out some really fantastic cupboard handles for contrast – mine are black leather. You could have brown to pick up the wood.
      Or, if you are set on a contrast, then it might be better to choose a different colour altogether. Lamp Room Grey is great with wood and white. Or you could do nearly all the cupboards white and paint one or two in really strong colours – orange, mint green or navy for example – or a mix of all three.
      I hope that’s food for thought. Do let us all know what you decide to do, Kate

      1. Thank you so much Kate, you have been a great help.

        After reading your thoughts I am going to go for wimborne white and find some cupboard handles for contrast as you suggested. I do love your cupboard handles, they are a great detail and work beautifully in your kitchen.

        Thanks again.

          1. Great, thanks Kate will take a look. Would love to know where you got your fabulous sewing machine stools from too, I have been looking for some but haven’t quite found the right one yet.

  11. I have a book mad husband and I’ve been looking for ‘library steps’ to reach those high shelves for ages. Where did your ones come from, they look great.

  12. The sitting room looks wonderful in Downpipe – so much more depth and character than all white. LOVE IT!! – Am torn between painting mine (two rooms knocked through like yours) either a) all Downpipe with white woodwork as you have done b) all Downpipe INCLUDING woodwork (scary!!), or b) painting the long wall with the fireplaces on in Railings and the remainder of everything in Elephants Breath. Heeeeelppp – have thought this through a million times !!!

    1. Hi Dawn, thank you so much. It’s been nearly two years now and I still really love it. It’s probably worth pointing out that that room is south-facing so it isn’t too cave-like during the day either. We have done the fireplace in Railings and it’s a great colour so I can see the attraction. I wonder if the Elephant’s Breath might be a teeny bit too beige/dark to go with it though. Have you seen the new colours from Farrow & Ball? I wonder about Wevet, or if that is too pale, Ammonite. Here’s my post on the new colours

  13. Hi Kate,
    What is the ceiling made from? Is it the New York style tin tiles or is it a clever paper design that looks like it or a foil? How was it applied? Looks fantastic. Let me know when you get a minute as I’ve always loved that look, and the way you have used it works really well. Might use it in my upcoming kitchen refurb plans.

    1. Hi Leza, the ceiling is covered in tin tiles from He imports them from the US and you can choose the pattern you like best. We just glued them on with no more nails. Technically you are supposed to construct a sort of wooden grid on the ceiling and nail the tile to that (they come with holes) but our ceiling was already low and we didn’t want to make it lower, and we had to match the existing ceiling as we were only doing half the room, so we decided to glue them on. It has worked fine … well two years later they’re still attached put it that way! One word of caution, you can buy them lacquered to stop them rusting. That costs more and we decided to do it ourselves to save the money. However, they start to rust (the tin oxidises with the air) almost instantly and we weren’t quite quick enough so there is a little rust – we have decided that gives a pleasing vintage air! But it goes very fast so if you do take that route do it fast. We used an artist’s spray varnish. Let me know if you decide to use it in your kitchen. If you have any more questions do come back to me, Kate.

  14. I’m in awe, the white floors stunning, but I’m wondering, now, after time has passed, how are they wearing and how much traffic do you have on a daily basis (I.e. kids, animals etc)? Am toying with the idea in order to avoid the whole messy ordeal of re-sanding. Are you still happy? Are the scuff marks and scratches driving you mad or are you repainting on a regular basis?

    1. Hello, that’s very kind of you to say so! So how are the floors wearing? Well, I have two children (boys since you ask because yes that does make a difference) and have recently acquired a kitten. I think the floors still look great. The kitchen has worn more than the rest and there is one bare patch where no 1 son tilts his stool at the island and, as it’s an old sewing machine stool, it has rough feet. But other than that I think it’s pretty good. I don’t mind the more worn effect in the kitchen as I like the contrast with the very modern units and stainless steel, but I appreciate that might not be to everyone’s taste. I’m with you on re-sanding – that’s a hideous ordeal and, frankly, it’s much easier to repaint than re-sand. We haven’t repainted at all yet (two years in) and not planning too for the foreseeable. One final point – my last house was decorated in dark (practical) colours and, as you couldn’t see the dirt it was very easy to believe it wasn’t dirty. At least with white floors you can see when they need a quick mop and do so, so, at least in my case, the house is definitely cleaner.
      I hope that helps, thank you for visiting. Do come by again soon, Kate

    1. Hi Anwen, the tiles came from a Dutch website called I wanted patterned tiles and a lot of the Moroccan ones are blue not black. These were cheaper than they are in London but obviously the shipping was more.

  15. Wow, loving your new home, especially the kitchen and those incredible metallic embossed tiles on the ceiling, brilliant!

  16. Hi,

    Love your house!

    Just wondering if you painted the fireplace yourself? It looks amazing… Any tips?

    1. Hello Virginia, thank you! When you say “yourself”? …. sort of – in that my husband did it – so we didn’t use a professional decorator. He just gave it a light sand and the pink one is gloss paint and the downstairs black one is a matt finish. They didn’t need any special treatment but both had been painted before which made it easier. If yours is ornate then try and clean all the twiddly bits first with a clean paintbrush. Otherwise I think it’s fairly straightforward. Good luck!

  17. Hi Kate,

    Jealous of your house!!

    I would like to know where your bookshelves came from. The Living etc magazine article missed out the major furniture article in the room – it covered the chairs, pouffes, and the lamp, but missed the shelving!
    Where did you get it?

    1. Hi Leslie, thank you for your kind comments. The shelves were built by our builder’s carpenter. They are made from MDF and took about two days to build, which was really fast. But the painting took about four days! I think when it comes to painting wood, you can really tell when a professional has done it; it was all sanded and filled and under and overcoated and has a really great finish. The same guy built the false wall/wardrobe in the main bedroom. A good carpenter is a great find and worth hanging on to. I hope that helps. Kate

      1. Kate,
        Thanks for the response. – I’m looking to do a similar library-feel in a guest bedroom. I had a feeling the shelving was bespoke – time to get out the tape-measure and saws!

  18. aww gorgeous, love the bathrooms, the white all around with hints of colours and vintage pieces, the kitchen is glorious, now i am off to save some more money to renovate the kitchen…

  19. Loving your blog – and your home! I’m in the ‘before’ stage of a large flat renovation, so it’s inspiring to see your end result and I suspect I’ll be mining your site for ideas along the way.

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