The Househunter: Colour and Elegance in a Bath Townhouse

In a week where Britain sweltered in a heatwave, we saw one very nice house…. to paraphrase Gogglebox. I started off thinking we should head to the seaside, but then I popped in here on my virtual way to the coast and my heart was lost. It’s a Grade I listed Georgian townhouse in the best Grade I listed Georgian square in the country and it’s arranged over five storeys totalling more than 4,000sq ft.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that that’s why it costs £2,750,000 (with Inigo) and given that that means that most of us (!) can’t afford to actually buy then this is the only way we’re going to get in for a look around. But oh does it have some wonderful rooms and colour lessons for us.

There are also many more pictures than I can show you here so do have a look around the rest – I have tried to pull out the ones that might teach us something or give us inspiration but sometimes you just want to look around without speaking – especially in this heat.

The first thing to note is that there are two colour threads in this house – one is orange and the other green and they appear sometimes together and sometimes apart throughout the property. Orange is a bold choice but, as you will see, it has been used in all formats from muddy and burnt to neon and it works with more colours that you might think.

Above the neon lamp positively pings (unfortunate word?) against the navy blue walls while the coffee table links to it and the artwork draws your eye round so you can’t help but look at the whole room which is also the point of adding strong accents – usually colour – but the very eagle-eyed (or those reading on a phone with a zoom facility) will see there is a drop more orange in the curtain ties. But even though the colour is zinging it hasn’t been overused and the impression is more of a dark cosy room than one that assaults the senses.

Orange makes another appearance here in the patterned sofa and I am a big fan of a patterned sofa. If you fall in love with a fabric then you fall and there’s no reason not to have it on a sofa rather than the more traditional cushions and curtains. Not to mention that pattern will hide stains so it’s actually quite a practical choice. The other point to make is that you can amp up a pattern or knock it back down to suit either your taste or the room. Here against the navy wall it appears almost like a subtle burst of pattern. But against pink or green walls the effect would be more, well for my eyes, hallucinogenic but it’s all down to personal taste and function ultimately.

This is another corner of the top room with its orange and pink sofas but you can see how the rug picks up the colour scheme in a more muted fashion – the orange has been toned down to a warm brown – let’s call it a more appetising caramel. Here it is again below – for those who don’t want to keep scrolling.

This also allows me to introduce the other colour – this sort of sludgy green that appears throughout this house. This is another great base colour as it likes some of the brights but is equally happy with more muddy pinks and blues. Personally I’m still hunting for the perfect clay (from Monday’s – which inadvertently turned into Tuesday’s – post. Should have saved before I put it down but there you go it was hot and I forgot).

Here it is in the kitchen with lots of white, vintage wood and natural brass (not for getting the black AGA for the perfect representation of my something new, something old, something black and something gold mantra). This is a completely timeless combination that you could keep for years and it would never look out of date. At the same time if you wanted to jazz it up a bit you could paint the walls in a soft pink or drench them in the same green for a more modern look.

The dining room has this drenched look, albeit in a slightly different shade of green) but again the palette remains tight to stop if feeling busy. Check out the matching door too. This room would be ruined (strong word but I’m feeling it) if the woodwork and door were painted white.

And talking of architectural features this is the other end of the kitchen. It’s a bold use of paint but I think it works. Yes you could have painted the whole wall out in the green but here the paint has been used to great effect. All of which goes to show that you can use paint HOW YOU WANT – just make sure that it links to the rest of the room (which is, all together now why the random feature wall doesn’t work). The green door matches the cupboard doors and the other door virtually disappears when open. If you have a room full of awkward angles and different surfaces then make a statement of them with paint rather than trying to pretend they aren’t there.

Nipping up to the bathroom and the green reappears here – again with the white metro tiles and wooden floor it’s a very classic look but you could paint the bath to update the room and wouldn’t have to change any fixtures and fittings so it’s a room that could change with your mind/fashions.

Wandering back downstairs – always remember to consider the views when you are decorating – not necessarily the ones through the windows but those that will catch your eye as you wander past different rooms – and while you wander round the rest of this gorgeous house I will wait for you here. A comfy chair, a dark wall and a lot of books. See you next week – am now very tempted to paint my own library area all dark and not just the shelves. Which means this week alone I have virtually redecorated the library, the loft and the bathroom and possibly the bedroom when I find he right clay colour…


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 took a look at the listing photos as well. Wow. It is a lovely house. They have missed the lesson on pillow fluffing and inserts though 🙂 Oh, well, I guess that it is ok with some beauty spots.

  2. Have you tried Warm Neutral S13D3 by Dulux?
    Im having difficulty recalling the name of a dulux colour I used in a bathroom many moons ago. I remember it as a bit greener than this but it was definitely called Nuetral something or something nuetral. Bear in mind I’m in Australia so could be anything in the UK. I’m still looking for a Dulux colour here that I had back in the 70s in my childhood bedroom. It was called China Blue it was a medium navy colour and I loved it

  3. I think Green and Orange met, fell in love, first with each other, and then with this house. Once inside, they said, “How can we make this work?” With five storeys of living space and classical Georgian architecture, I think they have.

  4. Dulux used to make a mixed paint called Cornish Clay. I remember lugging two 5 litre pots home on the bus. That wasn’t much fun but once it was on the walls……. lush! As we say in Bristol!

  5. My heart is lost to this house! I am a sucker for Georgian houses but this is so much more. Also so refreshing to see that it hasnt been styled to sell which, I feel, often takes all the character out of a home. It feels that a real family, with real people, live here which makes it even more attractive (even though they are probably all so uber stylish and cool to be out of my league!)

  6. Ooo this is a beautiful house! Such gorgeous architecture and colours. I feel uplifted and inspired now – thank you Kate!

  7. Love it! That neon orange lamp is genius against the dark wall, love it with the print on the other side of the window too!

  8. What a beautiful house and really gorgeously decorated – so colourful but not crazy. And did you notice all the sensible lights for reading while sitting on the sofas?

  9. Oh such a beautiful house! Absolutely love how it has been decorated and furnished. Could move straight in….

  10. Stunning house. I love everything! And Kate… you should collaborate with Mylands/F&B/Little Green, to mix your own Clay 🤷‍♀️😂??????

  11. Oh my this is a dream house! Totally agree about having a white door in a room like that!

  12. She’s a beauty. Just goes to show how you can have strong individual style even with the constraints of a Grade 1 listing.
    *checks down the side of the sofa for a couple of million in loose change

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