The Househunter: A station house in Tyne & Wear

We’re off to the North-East of England this week to this very pretty three bedroom former station house in Rowlands Gill, Tyne & Wear. It’s on the market with Inigo for £580,00 and has three bedrooms arranged over nearly 1,300 sq ft on three storeys.

The house is tall for its setting because it was designed as the home for the station master of the now-disused Derwent Valley Railway’s Consett Line so he (for it would probably have been a “he”) could see over the platform and line below. Historically, Lintz Green was a hamlet in the ancient parish of Chester-le-Street. A quiet station on the now-defunct Consett branch of the North Eastern Railway, it was formerly a colliery line carrying passengers, coal, and iron from the industrial villages of County Durham through the Derwent Valley to the River Tyne.

The kitchen is at the back of the house and has been extended so there is a dining area, utility room and downstairs loo included in the plan. A U-shaped kitchen is great use of space if you want to divide a kitchen dining area and don’t have room for, or don’t want, an island. This is called a peninsula as it’s fixed at one end but, it’s like a galley kitchen in that everything is in reach.

If you are worried there won’t be enough storage, I have seen plenty of similar layouts (The Barbican complex being one) where cupboards are hung from the ceiling so there is a gap, or hatch effect below and the light can still pass through.

Painting the underside of the alcove in a dark blue to bring together the far wall and the wallpaper helps define the kitchen space. This is what I was talking about the other day. If you have an open plan space that you need to zone (and it doesn’t have to be huge) it can be hard to know where to paint. Using the dividing lines as markers in place of walls can be one way.

You could also, and this is what I might have done, paint the ceiling blue to join the whole space together and then move to the pattern in the dining end. The point about paint is that there are sort of no rules. You apply where you want to create the zones you need in the space you have. If you wanted to make more of a division you could paint the cupboards facing the dining room in blue – or, if they weren’t clad in wood, wallpaper them to match as well.

Leaving the bijou dining area and moving to the front of the house and this lovely warm red colour on the walls. Note the front door is a paler version (Farrow & Ball Red Earth) which really sets the tone as you come in.

This room is filled with light so it can take this strong colour and, a topic which we have been discussing a lot both here and on the podcast recently, making the most of the outside views. The green cushions on the chairs in front of the window provide that link. Here, the pale windows don’t frame the view but they disappear against it – it’s up to you which way you want to go. I would probably go paler walls stronger windows but, as ever, this is about helping you decide what you like and need from the rooms you live in.

After all, when the view looks like this you really want to make the most of it. I’d go green here but then you might think that’s a bit literal! Apparently there are apple trees hanging down within reach of the kitchen door as well so you can stroll out and pick one for breakfast. Sold yet?

Green has been used on the stairs here. Now this is a good point to consider. Stairs are often dark as many of them don’t have any windows giving onto them. But you can see here how the light flows in from the room at the top and bounces off the wall opposite. This is a good reason for using a paint with a soft sheen in dark areas of your home. Not only is it hard wearing and tougher than the fashionable flat matts but it will grab the light and bounce it back. I love how the owners haven’t shied away from the dark and have done the ceiling too.

This will also have the effect of making the rooms you enter after going upstairs much lighter and brighter because of the contrast. And, of course, stairs are passing places, you can afford to be dramatic and bold as you are never there for long.

Up to the attic bedroom with its pretty floral wallpaper. The yellow cushions bring the sunshine in as does the pale pine chest of drawers by the window. If you were feeling bolder you could paint the windows yellow to enhance that feeling, or green to emphasise the idea of being surrounded by trees. The bones of this house are great and it will take pretty much anything you want to do.


On the floor below is another bedroom lounge and both the orange and green have been brought together in this room creating the all important red thread. I love this wallpaper and would like to see more of it – wrapping it round all four walls would create a cosy space that would highlight the shape of those fabulous arched windows.

I’m in. Anyone else fancy moving to the north east this week?


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. I’m late to the party as this post inexplicably went into my junk box but I’m popping in now to agree with Pia that hanging cupboards above the peninsula would be crime ( I’m sure you were just baiting us) and to say that bedroom is divine. It looks so cosy and peaceful – I’d buy the cottage just for the bedroom.

  2. Oh no!!! Not putting cabinets in the gap from the ceiling over the peninsula in the kitchen!!! No!!! I hope that it was just somthing to trigger us readers because I am NOT ready for that to be new or hot ever! or at least for another ten years. No! Dear buyer, dont do that!

  3. I love this house. The suggestions you recommend with regard to painting windows etc would be just what I would do.

  4. Thanks for another lovely post. I really enjoy your house visits. Is the red in the living room Farrow and Ball’s Charlotte’s Locks? I am thinking of using that for one wall of a living room (the other three walls are in white panelling but have big windows and a bookshelf) that gets morning sun but I also want it cosy in the evening around the wood stove. I also like Red Earth (on the door here). Any thoughts?

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