The Househunter: Room by Room – the perfect one bedroom flat

I adore this little flat. From the way it has been decorated to the pretty pink walls outside. It’s a one bedroom flat in Bristol and it’s on the market for £350,000 with The Modern House. If the 19yo were studying in Bristol instead of Manchester….

But he isn’t –  not that anyone is studying anywhere at the moment – but leaving that aside, this charming little one bed flat is spread over the ground floor of a Victorian house with its own garden at the back. Inside it has been pared back to reveal stripped wooden floors and original features which have been mixed with Crittal doors and windows and a minimal colour palette to create this space which feels incredibly calm and restful. When you can pretty much see the whole flat from every vantage point, a restrained colour scheme is often the best option.

But then you can do something like this on the outside which is just joyful. On a practical note it’s good to note that there is access to the garden from the kitchen too as you don’t always want guests traipsing through the bedroom to get to the outside if you are having friends round for supper say.

Back inside there is a clever mix of vintage and reclaimed accessories so the kitchen, with its copper sink, looks like it has been there for ever. But note that the island is narrow – no more than one cupboard deep – 60cm – and its length means that it can double up as a place to eat breakfast too – as long as the sink wasn’t full.

A kitchen island is one of the most sought after items on housebuyers’ wishlists but there isn’t always room for one. You need at least 1m of clearance all round to be able to move around it comfortably but it doesn’t have to be that wide. This one is narrow and there isn’t room for a table in the room – that sits in the bay window at the front of the flat – but if you can fit in a long and narrow one like this then you can potentially have breakfast at the island and dinner at the table which will make you feel like you have more space than you actually do as you can move around and sit in different places as the day goes on.

One other thing to ponder with a one bedroom flat. This one has access to the bathroom from the kitchen which gives you another door in the wall which makes one less place for furniture – or storing bar stools. It’s always worth seeing if you can move the access around although in this case – you are moving supporting walls so you would need an RSJ. But, if you look at the floorplan, you could either make the bathroom an en suite by moving the loo to the other end of the room, or you could push back the sort of lobby entrance to the bedroom and install a sliding door to the bedroom which goes along the bathroom wall. That would take up less space and then you could move the bathroom door along and if you made it into a pocket door – which slides inside the wall – you would have more space in the kitchen.

As I say, you always have to check the cost of these things as you don’t want to spend more than the property will be worth but it’s always a good idea to interrogate layout and see if it works for the way you want to live. And remember that if you are planning to live somewhere for a while then you need to consider what will make you happy and not what will sell the flat.

So, on the same basis, if you never have a bath then you could replace it with a big luxurious shower. The next buyer can always put a bath back in if they wanted to. Some people won’t buy places that aren’t perfectly laid out how they want them but if you ever watch Location Location you will also know that those people tend to be househunting for a loooooong time.

Here’s the table in the window which, in the current circs, would make a lovely sun dappled space to work and would mean that you would get to look outside all day and have your back to the living space so that when you turned around at the end of the day you would properly feel like you were having a change of scene.

That’s why it’s a good idea not to work at the coffee table if you avoid it as you will have exactly the same view all evening. And, if you work from the kitchen table, as I did for ten years and often still do, try sitting in the seat that isn’t the one you sit on for supper. At least that way you can vary the view.

Right who’s moving to Bristol. I’m pretty sure we don’t get the dog too but he is very handsome.



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. This is really lovely for a single person or a couple. I’m wondering if you could create some banquette seating in that bay window and pair it with a round table, then you could move it in a bit more and create more space in the living area.

  2. Beautiful flat, so charming! I really enjoy the look of the copper sink set into that skinny island in the kitchen. The whole thing is so warm and inviting with the white walls and natural light bringing such a lovely feel to the place! Very nice.

  3. Very pretty flat – I love looking at clever ideas for small spaces and have converted two similar small flats in the past. One a studio flat (34 sq m )with two pocket doors for bathroom and dressing room ( houses washing machine too ) and can testify that they are a great way to save space and not much more than ordinary internal doors if nothing structural needs done. We also converted an old deep boiler cupboard into a desk area with a metal shutter that comes down to conceal when not in use. I love the windows in this flat and feel an orange cushion on one of the chairs would tie in nicely with the colour in the windows. Not a fan of old wooden floorboards in living rooms anymore. Reminds me of my student days and to me have a cold feel in winter. I would like to see some interest injected with a lovely tile with mosaic or pattern that doesnt draw the room in too much. Long lasting low maintenance and timeless. Don’t know the area but given our current time for reflection the long view would be to take a place however small with some outside space ( an asset) in a tree lined street ( another asset , your health is your wealth -clean air is now IMO an asset to any neighbourhood); maybe invest in a bike or public transport season ticket. Outdoor space will become the new kitchen island this one has both!

  4. Oh I love this flat!! My dream … now that there are only two of us rattling around in a 4 bed house (in Ireland 🙄) I wonder if they’d do a swap?

    I love the way you’ve already done a bit of work on the space Kate😂 It’s a hobby of mine too.

  5. Our first home as a couple was the top half of a detached Victorian house – no garden but otherwise the layout looks pretty much the same. I loved that flat – the ceilings were high and the rooms felt generous. We started as we meant to go on – painted it white and filled it with old furniture. 35 years later, and on another continent, I’ve still got most of that furniture ( and white walls!). We were only in the flat for two years but it shaped us and I’m so grateful to have lived there. I hope whoever buys this feels as lucky.

  6. Argh it is in Sefton Park Rd (I live in Bristol and one of my lovely pals has a house in this same road)! The parking – if you have a car – will drive you mad and Bristol’s public transport system is awful so even bus/train devotees like me find they have to buy one to get around the city. The reason the price tag is a bit hefty for this is the fact that the road is in a nice part of town and you’re walking distance from the Gloucester Rd which has lots of lovely independent shops but given the pandemic, who knows what will remain. But a stunning flat. Loved it but I’d really think twice given the parking problems.

  7. I live in Bristol and often walk down the road where this flat is- it’s a lovely, long, tree- lined road about five minutes walk from the equally lovely St. Andrews park, where we often take our 2 Schnauzers. There’s also a good primary school minutes from the flat and it’s near a bus route into the centre of Bristol(tho you could easily walk from there) I should’ve been an estate agent….!

  8. Love it. Love the dog too, so beautiful. I’d be so happy here if I was young and child free, the light is amazing and it feels so open and airy. What is underneath the kitchen island? Have they just raised it to make it worktop height? And do they have a settee? I can see the two chairs in the room with the table, but I don’t see any other chairs. They look fine but I couldn’t imagine sitting in them every evening. Perhaps the owner spends less time sitting on their bottom than I do 😀

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