The Househunter: Room by Room

A lovely little two bedroom Art Deco flat for you this week which is on the market with The Modern House for £450,000 and is located in south east London. The vendors have renovated throughout but remained sensitive to the original 1930s features.

The flat is on the ground floor on the corner of the building so the main bedroom and sitting room have windows on two sides making them light and airy. The second bedroom is small but there’s a good size bathroom with a bath and a separate walk-in shower and the kitchen is small but functional as everything is within reach – the classic galley kitchen.

As you can see from the image above, the current owners have dispensed with the wall cabinets to make the room feel lighter and brighter. You will only know on moving in if this means there is enough storage for you and your stuff. But aesthetically it was a good decision.

None of the room are huge but the colours are strong – perfectly in keeping with the trend predictions for 2020 (if you read yesterday’s post) and, since the rooms have lots of windows they can take a strong colour. You can see also that the paint goes up to the picture rail which means the pale ceiling colour comes down over the top of the walls which makes the ceiling feel higher and the room feel larger.

The same trick has been used in the bedroom. Now the decision has been made to leave the woodwork white to match the ceiling. I probably would have matched it all,  but it works here as the ceilings are white/off white so and the floors are quite dark so keeps it as light as possible while still using a strong colour.

The red thread, if you like, are the touches of brass that flow throughout the flat from the kitchen taps to the bathrooms fittings and the beds and lamps. These metallic surfaces are key for bouncing light around and reflecting it back from windows and mirrors.

The main bedroom is a very pretty shade of pink but note how the wall colours stops below the window which, with the pink blinds, creates a more interesting line – look at the sitting room above to see how the wall paint stops in line with the door. The owners have followed the architecture of the building but if you don’t have picture rails then you can choose where you want to stop. As a rule of thumb operate on a principle of a third and two thirds rather than dividing the wall in half. It will be more elegant.

One other thing to look out for when buying flats is the service charge. In this case it’s £3,000 a year which does cover the buildings insurance as well as maintenance of the shared garden and repairs to the outside of the building and communal areas. However there is a note that the lifts are due to be repaired this year at a cost of just over £8,000 so that will need to be factored in. Your conveyancing solicitor should uncover things like that but it’s always worth asking as it can be a nasty shock on top of moving in.


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. Kate Nice flat and interesting comments about the paint levels. You might want to correct a typo in the para about the main bedroom….”note how the colour stops below the [top of] the window”… Sally

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