Mad About . . .

The Househunter: Rural Gardens in the Heart of the City

31st July 2020
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This is the last post for July and I will be taking August off to recharge the, somewhat, depleted brain cells. That said there will be a couple of podcast posts as well as details of a bathroom I have styled so keep your eyes out for that. And, of course, those of you who are signed up will still receive your daily emails as I will be sending you a series of August postcards of some of the most popular posts from this year for you to catch up on from your sunlounger/tent/bed or wherever you happen to find yourself this year. And, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned a mask I had sent off for which has now arrived so scroll on down to the bottom for a little mask review after you’ve been round this charming little house.

In the heart of east London lies this pretty little Georgian worker’s cottage which has two bedrooms the most gorgeous little country garden you can picture. It’s on the market with The Modern House for £920,000 and is reached via a leafy path.

Isn’t it sweet? Now you come in to a hall and there is a large sitting room dining room in the pictures below. You can see there are fireplaces and panelling and floorboards so it’s got all the period character and charm you could wish for.

I also love the colours used on the walls. It’s small and perhaps  not the lightest of rooms, although there is a window at front and back, but using paler colours can often make a space seem larger than flooding it with white which can look drab if there isn’t enough natural light.

The key is to do as the Georgians would have done and that is to paint the walls, doors and skirting boards all the same colour which will make it all feel calmer and therefore more restful and therefore you will feel relaxed and not like you are in a small cramped space. If the wall colour is pale enough you can also take it up over the ceiling too to increase this effect.

Now I might have been tempted to paint the window frame and shutter in a darker version of the wall colour to really draw the eye to the view outside. The owners have used the larger front end as the dining area and the smaller back part for the sitting room. You can, of course, swap this round when you move in.

Now, the bit that won’t suit everyone and it’s Grade II listed so if you are interested you might need to check this out first; the bathroom is downstairs. This is to allow two bedrooms upstairs – one of which is small and currently used as an office.

That said it’s a very pretty little bathroom and it has a window which is a bonus. So many bathrooms are just boxes. This, as you can see, has been clad in tongue and groove rather than using tiles and painted in this lovely soft yellow – try Hay by Farrow & Ball for similar. And make sure you buy mustard towels as that really brings this room to life. In fact, you could paint the window frame to match the towel ( try yellow pink from Little Greene) in an echo of the idea I suggested for the sitting room shutters.

Passing the bathroom and you come to the kitchen at the back of the house where the owners have sensibly (imho)  avoided wall cabinets, which bring the space in, and opted for open shelves, or open cabinets to make the space feel as open as possible. No, this won’t suit everyone and if you prefer a closed door then don’t feel you have to match the base cabinets to the top ones. Two different colours is perfectly acceptable – even fashionable – and if that was your plan I would suggested matching the top ones to the wall and avoiding handles to keep them as sleek and unobtrusive as possible.

Then from there you get to step outside into this pretty little garden, which is, apparently, full of delphiniums and lupins and lilac and hydrangea arranged round that vintage brick path. We wanted to create a paved area like that but the builder warned that not only were the vintage bricks expensive but so would the labour be as they must all be laid individually. So we choose something a bit like this which comes on a mesh so they’re faster to lay and if you don’t cement them together but allow moss and the odd weed to poke up between the effect is pretty good- you can see in the picture from a couple of days ago.

Coming back inside and moving up to the main bedroom. Again, you can see how everything has been painted in the same colour to create a restful effect and it works really well. Note also the wall mounted bedside lights to free up space for the large pile of books.

So what do we think? After four months of lockdown who’s fantasising about living alone for a bit – don’t all rush at once….!


I told you a couple of weeks ago that I had bought this from Pearl Lowe made from Liberty print silk. I have now worn it out and about a few times and I can tell you that basically I love it. It’s light and cool and comfortable to wear. However, I wore it to the hairdresser and noticed that if I talk a lot it has a tendency to slip down but it’s great for train journeys (wore it for 2 hours each way) when I wasn’t talking and it was comfortable the whole time.

I also told you that I was waiting for this from This is Silk, which is two for £15.99. They are silk jersey with a space for a filter (this can be a piece of kitchen towel or a coffee filter apparently). Now, these I love, they are light and cool and stretchy and they don’t move when I’m gassing away. The colours are plain, black, white, grey, navy and pink so they are less fashion but you can still co-ordinate with an outfit – should you wish.

I also bought (honestly the research I do!) these organic linen ones from Plumo as they are linen which is antibacterial. These are a good fit but hotter so I might keep these for my autumn mask wear – because no I don’t think that rule is changing anytime soon. And yes I’m buying lots but am sharing with husband and teenage sons too.

Finally, I have just been given one of these molecule masks to try and on first impressions this is good. Firstly, forgive the website – you need to look past that. So these are, apparently, patented technology ((HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03) which has been tested effective 99.99 per cent in 30 minutes against SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 causing virus. But, on a more practical note, you can pick the right size, and there is a measuring guide AND, it comes with a double strap that you put over your head, hook the top straps over your ears and can then unhook them and it will sit round your neck when you don’t need it. So there’s minimal touching – only of the straps – but you can take it on and off if you are in and out of shops etc. Or you can just hook them round your ears and pull to adjust. There is also a wire frame for the specs wearers among us. As I say the website is odd so you need to look past that but I wore mine back from the shops yesterday and it was very comfortable as it slightly stands away from the face (while touching it top and bottom) so it was easy to breath.

Right that is my mask knowledge… hopefully you can find something to suit you among that lot.



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  • CJ 31st July 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Enjoy your break! By the way, I absolutely love that backyard! It looks like such a peaceful retreat.

  • Gude at Watermark Homes 31st July 2020 at 2:25 pm

    What a gorgeous place! That garden is just to-die-for.

  • Elizabeth O 31st July 2020 at 11:02 am

    Hello, great mask information, thanks – I too wanted to buy the molecule masks and the link takes me to a website but there is no information except some images and link to buy? Also tried HeiQ but they don’t ship to the UK. Any other tips useful, otherwise will go for the silk ones which look super-comfy.

  • Anna 31st July 2020 at 10:42 am

    Masks. You suggested the This is Silk mask. I bought 2 for £15.99 and so did friends. Thank you most sincerely for the recommendation.
    Buona Vacanza Kate!

  • Catherine Southwood 31st July 2020 at 10:30 am

    Very pretty! I particularly like the sloping ply ceiling in the kitchen – a modern touch without feeling out of kilter with the rest of the house.

  • Martina Caen 31st July 2020 at 9:03 am

    Thank you for all the mask info. I don’t think you mentioned the awkward website address for the last molecule mask.
    I bought the pack of two you mentioned and they are good feel I need back ups because as you say this isn’t going away.

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