Finishing the August Archives with a look back to these two properties which were on the market back in March. From Monday we will be back to normal with some new inspiring rooms to look at, some new trends and ideas for your own spaces and  a new episode of the podcast where Sophie and I are reviewing three brilliant new books on interiors that are just out as well as, next Friday, of course, a brand new Househunter post and I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been writing about houses on the market for nearly 18 years and I NEVER tire of poking around other people’s spaces for sale. See you next week….


Right get your coat we’re off to Bath and then we going to Fife, in Scotland and it’s a long way up. Much further and you’ll fall off the edge.

This is a four bedroom split level apartment in Bath that is on the market via The Modern House for £770,000. And just look at that kitchen. Yes it’s spacious, but also note the details – the angled wall lights, the vintage table and the old school radiator. I would need to add more shelving but it looks great like this. Note also the different types of lighting as referenced in yesterday’s podcast notes post. Wall cabinets would bring it all in whereas this still feels spacious and light. If you prefer to put things in cupboards then, in this case, paint them the same colour as the wall, don’t have handles and take them all the way up to the ceiling to maintain the light and airy feel as far as possible.

This pale pink works brilliantly as a neutral that has been carried throughout the property. Here it is mixed with ochre and green – two classic combinations but you could also use a really dark green, chocolate brown or even black. A soft pink like this has surprisingly few enemies and many more friends on the colour wheel.

Never forget the odd spots like landings and corners to add interest. This could have been left empty but by adding a small cushion and a rug, it draws attention to the wonderful view of Bath outside. Sometimes a piece of furniture can act not just for the purpose it was intended – I doubt anyone actually sits on it – but as a signifier of what could happen there – in this case – take a moment to pause and look at the sights.

Pink is such a pretty neutral colour for a bedroom and you can leave it pale like this or add a touch of drama by painting the woodwork in a contrasting colour – charcoal to match the fireplace for a strong look, or a contrasting burnt orange for example. You could have painted the ceiling to match the walls to then and broken them up with a strong shade on the coving.

Also – don’t forget using odd places for extra storage. That triangle holds that little cabinet but you could fill it with shelves and it would hold much more – even if the top shelf was just for a pretty object.

Now, this bathroom;  I had a look at the floorplan and in this instance it might not have been possible to do otherwise, but if you are converting a loft then do think carefully about the placement of the windows. In this room below imagine how much nicer it would have been (neighbours opposite – or lack of – permitting – to have a window there so you could lie in the bath and gaze out of the window.

When we did our loft conversion we were told we could have two sloping windows on the front of the house – one for the bathroom and one for the bedroom. I wanted to be able to lie in the bath and look at the stars but I wasn’t paying attention when they were fitted – to look symmetrical on the outside – and as a result my stomach looks at the stars while I stare at the ceiling – literal navel gazing…

Again, focusing on the inside, do pay attention to the view of the room next door as it basically acts like a picture frame. This view is fine (below) but if you are hanging a picture on a wall then it might be worth checking if it will land in the middle of the door frame or off to one side and adjust accordingly. That is also why painting the woodwork in a strong colour can work really well as it will highlight the framing effect.

Right then Fife…. this five bedroom house is thought to have been built for the local police chief in 1892 and has had own four owners since then. It’s on the market with Galbraith for offers over £845,000. It has been extensively remodelled and refurbished and now has this enormous kitchen as well as three reception rooms – one of which is used as a billiards room.

Now I appreciate not many of us have kitchens this large but it’s still worth looking at the lighting. The spots are round the edge while there are two sets of pendant lights. However, they are complimentary, while being different so the effect is not one of too many things hanging down and making it messy. In a smaller kitchen diner you might have to make a choice as to where you install one set of pendants but here the two don’t fight. Partly because one is, for want of a better word, more of a chandelier with a single fixing.

The hall, as you can see, is enormous with a half wall dividing it into two and creating a cosy corner to sit. With three reception rooms I’m not sure you ever actually would sit here but, as in the property, above, it’s a signifier; this house is cosy and welcoming and if you did want to sit while taking your shoes off you can.

And here you can see if from the other end with the chair hidden from sight but with that clear view running out to the garden.

Let’s pause for a moment on the stairs. The owners have chosen a pattern (for similar try here) and it really adds interest. I know everyone is terrified of patterned carpet and that stripes have just about made it through but on the stairs, where you are on the move and passing by, you can actually afford to be bold and dramatic. This is a classic black and white combination but imagine painting the bannister in the same yellow as that chair. Or the skirting boards. Or edging the runner in a contrasting colour. I’m just throwing those thoughts out there for you to ponder.

Having thus pondered and got to the top of the stairs, how’s this for a bathroom? I mean yes it’s massive but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a similar palette and tiling ideas in a much smaller room with a single basin instead of two. And they have got a bath which you can lie in and stare out at the view.

So which one is it to be? Similar prices, no London but country town or country? Let us know in the comments below.





Tags : Bath propertyFife propertyhousehunterProperties for saleRoom by roomsplit level apartmentThe 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 Kate, those kitchens are amazing!!! I do love seeing rooms from the UK so much. I’m in Texas, where the architecture is quite different. I was just thinking to myself about your podcast when you and Sophie were talking about getting inspiration from public restrooms in hotels and restaurants. Clearly they must be very different from what I see here. Rarely I’m impressed with something here, but mostly I can’t get out fast enough. I’m enjoying the podcast so much and hope to hear many more episodes!!!

  2. Wow these are so amazing room designs you have shared here. All these beautiful pictures inspire me to design my room the same way.

  3. The Fife property feels just a smidge too stagey, although good space with some amazing features. Bath’s the winner for me – paired back, warm and a real honest modesty (especially in the kitchen). Loving your blog as ever!

  4. The Bath flat makes me want to go back to Bath! It has all those lovely Georgian features without the drawback of living on 4 floors and having a gloomy basement kitchen.

  5. Oh yes, that Ikea chair (or if not, then this one is very similar anyway) is a favourite!
    The first place made me realize that I’m over every second interior featured anywhere being this pale pink. Yes, it looks nice and calming, yes, you can combine it with just about anything (even saw it combined with extremely rich and bright blue just this morning, yes, it worked), but it’s so everywhere that I need to repaint it as soon as the trend changes.

  6. Great ideas here. Think second house hallway would look better ( warmer) with wooden floor . Feels a bit cold. The white woodwork looks very white and wonder how cold this might feel in winter especially in Scotland ( I know I live here!). But love the yellow chair. Not sure I would paint the entire banister yellow but would play safer and do one of the stair case railings or possibly the radiator just because I could change it easily if I got fed up, as I often do with bold colours. As usual your posts Kate are great inspiration.

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