The Househunter 20/11/15

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Ashworth House is in Westonbirt, in the Cotswolds and this is on the market for £2,500,000 with Savills (via Rightmove). It has four bedrooms and three receptions (drawing, sitting dining) as well as three bathrooms. And that seems to me to be well-proportioned.

I know, from my own house-hunting experience and from talking to estate agents, that often people feel that houses are top-heavy – too many bedrooms, not enough living space. Two sitting rooms is an ideal (not always attainable of course) but the idea that you can be listening to music in one while the kids watch TV in another is perfect.

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Of course, if you end up in a house with too many bedrooms then you can totally create that second sitting room. Or office space. Or even laundry room because, God knows, at this time of year, there seem to be mountains of the stuff draped over every door and radiator.

Having said that, this has permission to extend. Oh, and it has equestrian facilities, should you be needing somewhere to park the pony and about seven other horses judging from the photo.

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Anyway, the decor? Shades of grey. It’s all rather lovely but, to me, needs a few tweaks. Which is why I included this picture of the loo. After all that restrained good taste, this black bathroom is like finding the caramel in a box of orange creams. At last, the drama, the definition, the fun.

Take that principle and dot it around those other rooms and you’re onto a winner. Black chairs around the kitchen table, might prevent the television from being the focus of that room. Or paint the walls dark to hide the tv and speaker and really let those lights stand out.

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A few more pictures on the sitting rooms walls, a mirror with a frame in the bathroom. All those things would anchor it a little and add a little dynamism into what is, undoubtedly, a very fabulous house.

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Anyway, where next. Well this property illustrates perfectly how a little dark paint can work wonders…It’s on the market with John D Wood for £1,285,000 and has four bedrooms, two bathrooms (and a shower) and one sitting room and an open plan kitchen dining room.

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I just love all this dark grey which really defines the space – crucial if you’re going to be that open plan about things. This huge kitchen space is on the lower ground floor, there is a sitting room above, which takes up the whole of the ground floor and three bedrooms above with one in the loft.

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One of them is 9’4″ by 6’7″ though so it’s probably best used as a study. Mind you, if I owned this house there’s no way I’d be spending all day working in the smallest room in the house (no not that one) but it would be good as an occasional office and place to keep the filing. I would definitely have removed the flowers from the desk below and be sitting there gazing at the light fittings.

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This is also a house with a lot of living space. At least with a separate sitting room, you can do different things at different times. And if this doesn’t convince you that grey goes with everything I don’t know what will. The antique furniture looks fresh against the dark walls, the seating is ranges from a quite lurid green tarten to deep burgundy. Seriously I cannot imagine that furniture against white walls.

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And, a final flourish, the bath in the bedroom (which is controversial) but look how it’s been painted in that deep cobalt blue which looks great with the more traditional, flowery blue wallpaper.

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Which one would you buy?

Oh and another thing: later on today the Mad House will be closing for a spot of redecoration. Come back on tomorrow (Saturday) to see what we’ve done with the place. I hope you will like it.

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.