The Househunter: Georgian Splendour in North London

Can I just say I am loving our new film school. You are all clearly wasted in whatever jobs you are doing (unless it’s the NHS in which case keep this as your creative outlet). The rest of you should all resign at once and move to Hollywood. Or Notting Hill. I think Richard Curtis is done we could take over. But we will take over in North London, which is where today’s property is to be found.

And, as befits a Richard Curtis sort of property, this is, sit down, £5.95m (say it fast) and is Georgian with six/seven bedrooms and…. estate agent hyperbole incoming…. “towering sash windows… with views over the bucolic private garden”. And besides, once we’ve sold the script we won’t even need to say the price that fast. In the meantime, however, it’s on the market with The Modern House and you can check out the bucolic garden over there.

Bucolic, by the way, is in no way related to colic. I checked. The former comes from the idyllic aspects of country life (yes in North London) the latter is what you are undoubtedly suffering after learning the price. Anyway come on round, it’s big, there’s a lot to see.

Now I’ll admit to being slightly baffled by this decor which seems to switch between a slight lean towards English country (that’ll be the garden influence) pulled back with a bit of calming mid-century and some very modern touches. I think the film will centre around a penniless but brilliant architect who is married to an heiress (the money has to come from somewhere) and they both clearly have a phobia about rugs. It might be thin as a plot but this house definitely needs some flooring options. We will have to leave the film options for now.

I have written before about how mid-century is everyone’s friend and you can see here how it sits beautifully against the ornate plasterwork above the door with the gold framed pictures above it. For the purposes of the film those are probably Madeleine’s Monets and the question is he going to run off with the au pair or is she going to come over all Lady Chatterley with the gardener? There is an apartment in the basement by the way for either staff or marital discord.

I feel like the kitchen will be the fight scene. As you know I love a view through a room and I’m partial to an arch but that off-centre arch would put me completely off balance every time. That said I do like an unfitted kitchen and this is big.

Below you can see the view behind you when you’re washing up.. a view which pleases me more I have to say.

This is the apartment on the lower ground floor and just take a moment to notice, if you have never believed it, how glass furniture really does disappear in a space. I feel there will be a recurring meme in the film where they all crash into it after creeping in from being up to no good in the garden. But as a device to enhance the view, rather than a film plot, it’s pretty good. They still need a rug though.

Talking of workspaces and this is rather good. The desk area can be hidden behind the sliding door which also, presumably, conceals a huge wardrobe full of black polonecks. If the last year has meant you need a proper WFH space (space being the operative word) then you could do worse than consider this. I worked in a wardrobe when I first moved to London.

We lived in a one bedroom rented flat and had only a desktop computer (with the blinking green cursor) that took up too much space on the table we ate off in the sitting room so we put the computer on a table in the wardrobe and every morning I would sweep the clothes to one end of the rail so I could type. This is bespoke souped up version of that. And very handsome it is too.

And here you can see how the joinery theme has been continued around the bed with its rather neat shelves and hidden sockets. Generally speaking I’m not a fan of fitted furniture but I like it when it’s clever and if you swapped the grey upholstery for something a little more fanciful and friendly I think you might appreciate its convenience.

Back to the bespoke storage and mid-century look and we arrive in this rather fabulous bathroom which is next to the bedroom above. The UK tends to have small bathrooms unless a bedroom is converted which is what has happened here. This is accessed from both the landing and the next door bedroom leading to French farcical situations when the Danish architect and the Swedish au pair end up in the house at the same time as Madeleine and the gardener find they have become rather muddy after consulting on the rose garden. There’s probably a Russian art thief in a cupboard somewhere else too.

That said there are plenty of doors in and out and not to mention large cupboards to hide in. And completely coincidentally I found these chairs on AUBespoke the other day (I featured Anna’s gorgeous house some months ago) should you wish to recreate the look.

And finally, here sits the narrator; the couple’s nine-old-son, a brilliant artist who has a thriving bitcoin income and has no need of his annoying parents since he is much richer and more talented than either of them. However, from time to time he has found the view over the garden a little too bucolic for his liking.

Have a lovely weekend. Do add your plot twists and cast list below.





















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. The way they have created a window seat with storage under in the 9 yo’s bedroom is genius. I will pinch that idea for my next, much bigger, house. If I win the lottery.

  2. Love the house and the plot, ha ha. But I am not sure I could live with the lack of symmetry in the kitchen arch view…my architect husband would definitely be contemplating how he could improve on that!

  3. Do I spy the one bit of carpet in the house is in the bathroom?! or are my eyes fuzzy….

  4. The chair in the bathroom is actually a bit of a British design icon. Designed by Robert Williams and made in his workshop in Islington mainly during the 80’s and 90’s, its known as the Plank Back. The business was called Pearl Dot, every piece of furniture had a small dot of mother of pearl inserted somewhere as the trademark. This reflected the buildings history where watch and instrument dials were made from mother of pearl.
    Robert gave many a young student leaving furniture making courses a start in their careers – I was one of them! I came along in about 1992 to run the spray booth and finishing side so its entirely possible I applied the lacquer on that particular chair. If you really want the look they do crop up and again – there’s a set of 6 in cherry on Ebay at the moment. A bargain at £6600.

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by to tell us about this. I didn’t know about Robert Williams and I love this detail. I knew about the Mouseman furniture – where each piece has a tiny hardcarved mouse running up the leg as a signature – my junior school had this furniture – but this is a discovery and I love it. Might not be rushing to eBay today but I will definitely be paying attention to that name.

  5. You do make me laugh Kate. A great way to start the morning. And whilst I cannot add any plot twists I do wonder if the entire family has terrible allergies hence the total lack of any textiles except in the little bedroom where i am guessing the Swedish au pair lives.

  6. The reason why there are no rugs is because Jeremy the architect (played by Hugh Grant) has a propensity to partake in heiress Madeleine’s family product, pastis from Marseille. Madeleine is played by Juliette Binoche. The opening scene is before they took out the rugs (and the reason why they did) and Jezzers is dancing in the sitting room, getting over enthusiastic, and skids on the Wendy Morrison bucolic rug ending up doing the splits and landing on the glass topped table. He has to go to hospital. The ambulances are a 40 minute wait and Jeremy has sore testicles from the splits and blood is pouring from his head. However, Madeleine made, and ate, a pesto from some of the “herbs” grown by the hippy tenants downstairs and can’t coordinate enough to drive. Kiki, the au pair (played by a young Brit Ekland), is just getting out of a taxi wearing the attire of her evening job as a bunny cocktail waitress. For the price of a Monet she is willing to get the show on the road to the hospital. Cut to the last scene where they are waiting to be seen in A&E amongst the usual drunk and disorderlies who Madeleine is finding fascinating and is learning new English words from them. Jezzers has his head on Kiki’s boobs and there is blood dribbling down her cleavage. Gotta put up with all kinds of horrors to get a Monet. Should we end with George Clooney as the doctor or Rebel Wilson as the nurse to stitch the wound? Or both?

    1. Love this plot! Meanwhile, Harris, their genius son is standing on the sidelines, eyes rolling at how ridiculous adults are (after refusing his parents pleas/bribes to drive his parents to the hospital in their car) –

  7. I love your posts and your interesting views on all things decor affiliated. And I especially love Friday film days. But please, centred on or upon not centred around. Centre is a point and therefore can not be around! Picky I know, but I inherited this one from my father!! Otherwise I’m mad about madaboutthehouse.

  8. I grew up in this area and always wondered what the inside of these grand homes would be like, and I have to say this is a dream house in a beautiful area! Role on the romantic romcom! Loving these Friday posts

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