The Househunter: Room by Room

I really wanted to find a Queen Anne house for this week as I just managed to see the film before Oscar night and have been obsessively researching the truth of the matter ever since. It seems, from a few google searches, that while all the characters certainly existed and the power play between them appears to have been real, the lesbian elements are overstated and probably not true, like the rabbits. Still, great costumes and nice houses though, which were certainly vying for my attention with the plot line. It was filmed at Hampton Court and Hatfield House and while neither of those are for sale (!) I did find this.

It’s Grade II listed and while the central part is Queen Anne, there are 18th and 19th century additions. It’s on the market with Savills for £3,750,000 and has seven bedrooms along with equestrian facilities and an Elizabethan house behind, which was built for the servants to the main house.

Queen Anne architecture tends to refer either to the English Baroque style of her reign (1702 – 1714) or the revival period in the latter half of the 19th century. It’s a style that was characterised by symmetry and and almost box-like structure with rows of sash windows.

I also assumed these symmetrical internal arches were of the period too but it turns out they are 19th century additions, so I think this house is a bit like the film – elements of reality with some fantasy thrown in. Having said that, the rooms are large and well-proportioned and the huge windows fill the place with light.

It also looks like the doors are wide and elegant although these days one can never quite trust the estate agents’ wide angle lens, but judging by the width of the panelling and the panels they look to be generously sized.

The deal-maker, for me at least, would be that so many of the rooms are double aspect. This bedroom below, for example, with its windows on two sides and space for a sofa in front of the fire. In fact, that’ll do. I don’t even need the whole house.

I’ll just take this room and the bathroom, which clearly isn’t original but the style feels like it fits, and if you were wondering about panelling and wallpaper in your own bathroom then have a look at this for inspiration. I’m going to take a punt and say it will be a while before these extravagant curtains and blinds come back into fashion but then I burst out laughing in 2009 when Dulux told me grey was the new magnolia so you can probably assume they’ll be back next year.

Time for another? This one is a classic Victorian terrace which has been beautifully done up and is on the market with The Modern House for £795,000. It’s beautifully done in a neutral palette and now I want to paint my windows green. In fact, for the person who asked me that very question whaddyafink? I like it so much more than white.

Inside the colours are similar – natural wood, forest green, with accents of grey and terracotta. It’s been done, it won’t surprise you to know, by a husband and wife design team.

The downstairs has been opened up to allow maximum light flow which can be an issue in Victorian houses, where the rooms tend to be small and dark – as opposed to the airy elegance of Queen Anne. It’s clever how the working part of the kitchen, which is in an open space, has been created in a different colour to help zone the space and, perhaps make it more invisible when dining at the table. The tiles, by the way are stained terracotta not black .

And this is such a pretty spot to sit with the view from the large picture window that opens to the private garden. Try Ercol for similiar tables and chairs. You can still pick up the vintage stuff or go modern if you prefer.

Here is a view from the back of the house and you can see how the spaces have been opened up but the sitting room still retains an element of privacy from the front door. Note too, the internal window to encourage the flow of light.

Upstairs there is another large picture window. There are three bedrooms in total, one of which is entered via a walk-in wardrobe, while the other has a vaulted ply clad ceiling. This is the loft suite with a bathroom and exposed brick showing the changes in the walls over time. I think I could spend all morning lying here with a cup of coffee and the papers watching the sky and the seasons change.

This, by the way, is the enamel bucket sink, that is in the bathroom below. It’s £185 and was originally designed for workshops and garages but has been refined for indoor use.

So which one is it today? Queen Anne in Cambridge or Queen Victoria in south east London? Let us know in the comments 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. I think I must be a peasant at heart. Queen Anne house lovely but so huuge. Traversing rooms would be like striding across vast swathes of lawn. Equally prosaically, I wondered who would sweep the cobwebs and harlequin ladybird clusters away from the high high ceilings? I found the second house on the modern house website and love it’s simplicity, but despaired of the lack of curtains. Or maybe they have shutters?

  2. Clicking on the Modern House link takes me to the Savills page for the Queen Anne House..

  3. I’m currently awaiting approval on my Victorian property to turn the windows from green to white! Whilst it might break with the convention of white, after a while you’ll start to compare the green to your garden fence, plant pots etc…. interestingly the house’s previous owner must have loved it so much she painted the picture rails throughout the downstairs in the same green….. and then matched the pelmet in to for good measure! Come to think of it… maybe it’s a crime against bulk buying!

  4. Queen Victoria in SE London! Though I wouldn’t turn down the Queen Anne if offered but it is a tad twee for my tastes!

  5. I would never simply walk down that Queen Anne staircase – I would have to sweep down every single time. It might become exhausting but I’d be willing to give it a try.

  6. Oh, surely both?! Even a Queen needs a London bolthole.

    Those green windows on the Victorian house are fabulous.

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