The Househunter: Room by Room

Following on from the interview with Matt Gibberd yesterday, it seemed only right to check in and see if he had any new properties for sale given his comment that, since estate agents were allowed to open up again a few weeks ago, it was “busy, busy, busy”.

And indeed there is a slew of new houses on his market but I think today we are heading off to the North Norfolk coast, to a place called Stiffkey, which, as lovers of Farrow and Ball will know is pronounced Stukey and is a named after the beach where the mud is this particular shade of blue.

The belongs to the author Rachel Cusk and her husband Siemon Scamell-Katz and I’m glad she’s selling it because had I seen it before she put in on the market I might have needed to evict her. As it is it’s on for £2,250,000 (I know… remember it’s Fantasy Friday). You can read an interview with them on The Modern House Journal but first let’s have a look round.

And I’ve read all the details and couldn’t discover if the blue in the kitchen is indeed stiffkey blue but what I do love is the juxtaposition of the rich colours between the rooms. It’s worth saying again that you never decorate a room in isolation and it’s not just about finding your read thread of colour, texture and style to link the spaces but also the most obvious views you get from room to room as you walk about.

And this dining room, as you will see brings together all the colours used in one space from the dark chocolate to the terracotta and blue and that splash of dirty yellow which makes its appearance in the bedrooms of which there are four along with two artist’s studios, a writer’s room, an annexed apartment and a natural water swimming lake.

Here’s one of the bedrooms with that amazing picture window framing the view of the trees outside. Which reminds me – funny how we bury things isn’t it – that although I have been saying that I have been strangely drawn to this dirty yellow in lockdown, this colour looks very like Farrow & Ball citron which we used for the sitting room in the first flat we bought in 1998. So there you go, it’s clearly a colour thats’ resurfacing rather than a new one for me.

Am also quite in love with this bathroom and if you’ve ever wondered about the power of a mirror to make a space feel larger then bookmark this picture. Note also that the bath is not free-standing but the curves make it appear so so if you don’t have room for a big old tub in your bathroom have a hunt to see if you can find one that is fixed at one end but gives the appearance of taking up more room than it probably does.

And then there was this. Much more monochrome but so cosy and with those huge windows. I imagine if this was your room you might feel nervous cladding it out in such a dark colour but those windows mean it will be a light room that will be cosy in the evenings.

The furniture is also pale along with the rug so it’s all working hard to strike a balance between cosy dark and, the key point, drawing your attention to the views outside. The green of the trees is thrown into much sharper relief against dark than it would be if it was all painted white.

I’ll leave you with this space to sit by for the weekend. Do click the link higher up to see round the rest of the house and learn about the building. I’m off to rummage down the back of the sofa for two million quid….


Tags : modern house for saleNorfolk propertystiffkeythe househunter
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. Stunning. Love the design and layout and the colours are beautiful.
    Lottery ticket bought and ready to move in 🙂
    And now I’ve also ordered some of her books too…not sure how I haven’t heard of her before

  2. Yes, I want to live there, it’s got everything that I need. The colour scheme is perfect. I’m putting my lottery tickets on now.

  3. This is my perfect house in a lovely part of north Norfolk. If I won the lottery it would be mine, complete with all fixtures, fittings and furniture.
    Love, love, love it!

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