Welcome to The Househunter and my selection of a fabulous property that is on the market this week. Each week we take a look around a different house or flat and see where we can take inspiration and what the owners have done that might give us ideas for our own spaces. The price is irrelevant (unless you’re actually househunting) it’s more about spending the fantasy lottery win and getting some ideas.

This week’s property is one that I wish I could have. Or rather, decorated in a style that I wish I could pull off but I know I would always add more colour to it. It’s a hymn to pared back colours, natural wood and vintage furniture and it’s on the market with The Modern House for £985,000 in north London.

It’s a two bedroom split level apartment with a gorgeous garden and I hope you will like it. First up: lighting. Now if you were paying attention earlier in the week you will know I ran a post about how to put the lighting right without calling the electrician.

Now what the vendors have done here wasn’t necessarily done without professional help, but it’s a good illustration of things you can do when faced with common lighting problems when you move in.

The first is that your kitchen may well have a grid of spotlights all over the ceiling. That’s fine if they are in the right place and they are a practical solution to see what you are doing. However, even on a dimmer they can be a bit lacking in atmosphere, particularly if, like in this house, you have a kitchen diner.

So one solution is, of course, pendants – if the ceiling is high enough. If not then a wall light can be a great way to create something a little more intimate than overhead lights. You can buy plug-in wall ones (which won’t need a professional to install) or table lamps if you have space at the end of a run of units (not everyone does) or you can install a wall light like this one which is on a long arm that you can stretch or swing to where you want it to be.

This idea is, by the way, the subject of a fairly long-running campaign between me and The Mad Husband who, while not explicitly against the idea, hasn’t completely come on board yet either.

The other idea is the one below (which probably will involve the electrician) where the pendant light is in the wrong place. Buy some more flex (masses of colours here at Dowsing & Reynolds) swap it for the existing white plastic (in fact do that anywhere for all your lights be their floor, table, task or ceiling) and put a hook in the ceiling where you want the lamp to be.

Then you can simply move it and have it hanging where it will be more useful. Corners are great for this as it will create a pretty space for reading or sitting without taking up space for a table with a lamp on, or a floor lamp with a big shade. In this room, the owners could have done the same thing and taken it over to the desk to create light there.

And, since I have just thought of it – if your ceiling is too low for a pendant then this is one way of bringing one in. Take it to a corner where it can hang down out of the way and you have created a lovely feature that gives light as well. Winning. And no I can’t do that in my kitchen as the doors at the back go all the way across so there’s no spare corner. But if I ever replace them with something more like below then that is what will happen.

Right, enough of the lighting, worrabout the rest of this flat. It definitely has lovely bones as Michelle Ogundehin was saying earlier in the week in her home tour interview. But it’s not just that. The owners have kept the walls pale and stuck to a simple palette of natural vintage wood and lots of texture from rugs and leather, to wool and linen.

Each piece tells a story and because they weren’t all added to cart in the same modern shop this is a completely unique home. Yes, other people may use the same colour palette but the accent chairs will be different, the vases won’t be the same and the salvaged or inherited pieces help this property to tell a story.

What story does your home tell of you?

Below is another image of the hanging pendant light so you can see it from all angles if you think it’s a solution that might work for you.

Note too how the black door frames really frame the view outside and also bring a proper end to the room inside rather than the traditional white frame which just sort of peters out into the next space. Details like old school radiators and painted brick walls also add character without colour – if that’s your thing.

Upstairs and the built-in cupboards have been painted in a different shade of white from the walls and the four poster bed. It’s perfectly possible to create interest in an all white room as you can vary the shades and add different textures. The rug is a similar shade to the floorboards but in a different texture so the room is built up of differing layers of materials in similar tones.

Finally, another hanging pendant for you. Out of the way of the four poster and lighting up the bay window. And you can see more textures and layering but no more colour. As I say, this is a look I adore but I know I would end up adding a Persian rug and a pink cushion. Not that it wouldn’t still look wonderful, just different.

So who’s buying this week? Join in the conversation below.


Tags : Dowsing & ReynoldsNorth London propertypared back colourssplit level apartmentthe househunterThe Modern House
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 there, great post as always. does any body know where I can find a similar reasonably priced four poster which this particular type of leg support?

  2. Hi – gorgeous flat – wonder if you know the make of the black kitchen wall light as it is exactly what I want ,and any ideas in the white paint colours .

  3. I love this flat too! To me the kitchen looked green rather than grey but that may be wishful thinking since that’s what I’d like my kitchen to be.
    I especially love the dark wood table in the kitchen. If my kitchen was that big, it’s definitely what I would have rather than the ubiquitous island!

  4. Yes it’s the flat of a talented architectural designer. I expect it was a hard decision to sell it.

  5. I love it and I hope I wouldn’t add any colour. It feels so calm – a sanctuary. But like Vicky I would have preferred the accommodation to be reversed and to have a garden accessible from the living area. Maybe that wasn’t possible though.

  6. Love this. The pared back simplicity and tonal colour palette work really well. Although like you I’d probably end up adding a bit more colour. And more pictures to the walls.

  7. It’s gorgeous. A pity there’s no photos of the garden – especially given the asking price. I’d be making a big feature of a pretty garden given a) how lovely the interior is and b) how much it costs. Additionally, given the very pared back nature of the flat, the garden should be acting as a counterpoint to that – full of life and colour. Well, that is what I would do and I’m continuously surprised at vendors missing a trick by making less of the outdoor space.

    1. If you click on the link you will be taken to more pictures and to see the garden. I only ever use a selection of the pictures as I think you should go to the source to see the rest.

  8. I still love a grey kitchen with lots of wood, it looks lovely in a Victorian setting too. This flat is beautiful, although for nearly £1m I’d want a garden leading off the living space not the bedroom!

  9. I love the idea of different whites, especially in the bedroom. I wonder which paints they used and is it as easy to put together as it looks?

  10. Oh I’ve been stalking this flat all week, this is my perfect space, I totally love it, quite seventies with the heavy pottery, paper lamp shades and plants. I’ve been trying to clear all my crap all week!

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