The Househunter: The Berdoulat Building in Bath

If you ever read blog post titles this one may not mean that much to you but if I show you the pantry that possibly broke the internet it may seem more familiar. This narrow pantry was pinned and admired by everyone. My mother-in-law got contractors’ quotes to recreate it, I revised my whole philosophy of what to build into side returns around it and it is referenced endlessly as inspiration.

Sadly it will remain, in this house, inspiration only. The Mad Husband has issued a marital veto on the question of sink skirts (fourth time in 27 years together), so I guess I won’t ever actually get to see it in my own home. For those of you who are not familiar with the MV concept, this is what we have evolved over nearly 30 years as a way of resolving interior disputes – he has a LOT of opinions. Usually we find that one gives way (this is pretty evenly matched) or that one of us doesn’t actually care that much (50/50), or that one might throw something outrageous out there which they know will get turned down, so they can follow up with something they want more but which then appears less controversial (always me). And then there is the Marital Veto. This is invoked in response to an idea that is such an anathema to the other that it is instantly overruled, mentally locked away and never to be raised again (usually by him). Such is the fate of the skirtain. I did just ask him what the others had been, but he said they had been redacted from his brain and he couldn’t remember. I can recalled that one of them was gold grout – my idea but one which probably meant I got something else I wanted more.

For those of you who don’t recognise it, it belongs to the interior design studio Berdoulat and is found in Bath. It’s a Grade II listed building comprising a shop, a three-bedroom house and a separate two-bedroom mews house. The commercial space is currently the residence of t studio Berdoulat, set in the Georgian part of Margaret’s Buildings, built in 1768 and designed by John Wood the Elder. The former stables behind, built in the 1840s, make up the three-bedroom home, while a converted pub built around 1800 is now a separate two-bedroom house. It’s on with Inigo for £2,750,000.

Aside from the curtains there is endless inspiration to be found here – not least the gorgeous muted colour palette. It’s a haven of soft browns and pinks shot through with chalky blues and deepening to reds and tobacco shades.

I have been hearing lots about the rise of the one wall kitchen recently – something we have done for space reasons – and there’s no doubt that I was inspired by the notion of an old shop pharmacy counter. Budget precluded sourcing antique shop fittings but I still love the idea of this.

Below a row of glass doors separate the famous pantry from the kitchen. And if I had built into the side return rather than making space for an island and a sofa (which is the standard practice) I think I would rather have done this – a walk in pantry with glass doors or windows between the two. It’s not a cheaper option but it’s a different option. And, worth pointing out, if you don’t have a sofa in your kitchen you will still use your sitting room so you use more of your house more often and it will feel bigger.

I see many people who live in their kitchens and their sitting rooms lie unused and beyond a certain age children don’t tend to go in there either as they stick to their bedrooms and their computers rather than using sofas and televisions.

Every now and then there comes a house where there isn’t much to add. You just want to wander around and absorb it and this is one of those.

I adore the blue shelves here. It’s a small detail but one that really makes a change from white or wood. Note too how the blue shelves really highlight the blue in the rug which might otherwise have faded into the background.

This is a room I want to gaze at forever just for the paint colours. While below the green bath plays with the pink and green rug. The book is a styling touch but for a photograph it really brings it all to life.

And if you’re not done with pink and green then take a look at this bedroom. It’s a classic combination – think of nature – and has been seen a lot recently in part, I’m sure, thanks to the power of Wes Anderson and his films. But his new film, Asteroid City, which is out in June, looks to have moved away from his beloved pink and green palette to a more sky blue and creamy yellow look which will no doubt come to dominate in time.

So this time I will leave you for a quiet wander through these spaces. Do let me know what inspiration you take from here. And, of course, your own interior design disputes.

Have a lovely weekend/bank holiday/half term. And thank you, as always for your comments, your engagement and your support for these pages.

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 am in the process of designing a house of which as I am trying to keep costs down so I can potentially squeeze in more fun items I am leaning towards a one wall kitchen as the back counter will be long, potentially 4 metres not including fridge and pantry. So in lieu of an island a beautiful vintage or antique hutch or buffet can store the items that would end up in the island storage and will be much cheaper than a kitchen island of which a dining table will be used in stead.

  2. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the pantry belongs to the interior design studio Berdoulat and is located in Bath. It’s situated within a Grade II listed building that comprises a shop, a three-bedroom house, and a separate two-bedroom mews house.

  3. Love the Marital Veto idea. We have a similar veto construct (and a similarly more design-y wife but still very opinion-filled husband, so we need the construct). But I’ve never thought of the stratagem of proposing on your gold grout items in order to gain _____ as a more moderate outcome. Going to probably simultaneously send my husband a link to this post for a chuckle while also filing it away for future reference, which may backfire as I out myself, but seems worth it.

  4. reside in Bath, and frequent the Berdoulat cafe. I love it! I wish they would stay. This magnificent structure has a peaceful and refined sense because to the dark, muted tones and the natural light that is drawn in through the atrium’s ceiling. Who can I borrow £2 million from?

  5. Wow!! I loved the entire set up and the vintage look does the work. I love to have some vintage decor in my interior and this is just love at first sight thing, it’s that beautiful.

  6. Gorgeous love this – it’s also on AD youtube channel for a thorough nosey!

  7. Live in Bath & often at Berdoulat cafe. It’s fab! Wish they were staying. The dark, muted colours offset by natural light drawn in from above in to the atrium bring a calm & classy feel to this wonderful building. Can anyone lend me £2mill ?!!

  8. Am I the only one who thinks 2.7 million for a shop in Bath is a bit much however pretty the rooms are?
    If I had that kind of money to spend, I wouldn’t be buying a shop, I’d buy a house with big windows and a large garden and I wouldn’t need to own a shop to make a living :).
    What a triumph of style over substance.

  9. Oh Kate, this post is a gift. I am intoxicated (yes intoxicated) by the colours and especially pleased to re-discover just how important and lovely natural daylight is to a space. Just by being there. So many gems in all the photos – palette, textiles, keen and quirky solutions re function and display. Thank you and bon weekend 🙂

    1. Oh I agree 1000% with you Kimberley! An absolute visual G&T with flavours and colours to indulge in.

      Have to add though that my house features the much loved pink & green palette in our soft furnishings. Not because it’s on trend but simply because I love green and my Mum loves pink so we had to decorate common areas to suit us both. Mum’s room looks like a pink candy floss machine exploded, while mine is well not pink at all.

      Have a lovely weekend all!

  10. All amazing , my son has a sink skirt in his cottage , covers the washing machine. I’ve just had the Pink Matrix tiles in our en-suite , which you had mentioned. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas 👌

  11. Our teenagers stay downstairs only because they occupy a sitting room each. I get scowled at and questioned as to my intentions when I dare to enter!

    We have the opposite of the Marital Veto, I have a Marital Override. About 20 years ago I wanted to buy a red lacquered cabinet from Habitat. My husband did not want to buy it but I couldn’t find anything that could fit the space as well and he couldn’t be arsed to look. Eventually he said ‘If only there was something just like the Habitat cabinet but wasn’t the Habitat cabinet’. So I invoked the Marital Override. If he won’t make the effort to find a suitable alternative after turning down multiple of my options then what I say goes.

  12. It’s a little too much of a museum piece for me, bit I love the colour palettes

  13. Great post. Thank you!
    Love the marital veto and all that leads up to it. My husband similarly to the MH has LOTS of opinions but in my mind is v conservative. So might try your tactic of asking for something outrageous and then scaling back to what you actually want. Sometimes he amazes me with a totally inspired suggestion, so he’s definitely worth listening to. He came into our hall last month and announced he wants more Colour in a section of it. I immediately went out and bought green paint before he changed his mind. He also seems to have alot of respect for your books Kate, so if I show him something you have written, it instantly gets more consideration.
    The Berdoulat shop and house is amazing. When I visited my sister near Bath last year I went on a special pilgrimage while my sister kindly entertained my kids at the local trampoline centre. The contrast between my peaceful coffee in a beautiful space and her entry into hell couldn’t have been starker.
    Farrow & Ball created a special green especially for the interior:

  14. Gorgeous property, pretty much to my taste but I’m with your Husband on the Skirtains!

  15. I love this house. It couldn’t be more different to mine but the colours are gorgeous and similar to what I’m having. The one wall kitchen is the way we are going too, nice to see how to make it look stylish and a bit quirky.

  16. I love bright, open spaces. Light colours, pale wood, minimal clutter. Scratch that! I’d give it all up to live here. What a triumph of style and skill. An homage to the building’s origin and history. Perfect.

Comments are closed.