Houzz Tour: At Home With... Kate Watson-Smyth of Mad About The House
Continuing our series visiting interiors bloggers at home, Kate Watson-Smyth opens up her London house and talks about her inspirations
‘I saw this on a website the day before we were due to fly back from our summer holiday,’ says Kate. The property was a wreck and was divided into two rental flats; the ground-floor flat had been empty for three years. It was a challenging project that took time and money and, Kate says, ‘I still have no idea what possessed us!’ But the end result is a stylish and spacious family home with bags of character. Take a tour below to see the finished result.
COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN
To celebrate some of the most creative and inspiring UK bloggers and their homes, we’ll be asking each blogger in this series to choose a giveaway gift that reflects their personal style. Kate has chosen an individually etched vintage-style filament lightbulb from Vinegar and Brown Paper as her prize. All you have to do to enter is comment below, telling us what you love about this home. *This competition has now closed.*
Who lives here Kate Watson-Smyth
Blog Mad About The House
Property A Victorian terrace
Size 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
Location North London
What do we need to know about your blog?
I cover everything from Objects of Design to the pick of the property market and give lots of advice on how to make the best of the space you live in, from furniture to paint and all those small details. I set it up nearly four years ago and it’s now ranked as the number one UK interiors blog [Vuelio 2015]. It also won the Amara Interior Blog award for Best Design Inspiration and the Interior and Architecture award at the inaugural Vuelio awards last month [Nov 2015].
I’m a journalist who’s worked for the national press for the past 20 years. I started out as a news reporter and turned to freelance feature writing after my elder son [now nearly 15] was born. I’ve written about property and interiors for The Independent, The Financial Times and The Daily Mail.
The blog came about as a way of finding somewhere to put all the things that didn’t make it into the papers that I still thought were worthy of coverage – small designers, interesting products – as well as creating a place to share all the interior design tips I’ve picked up from the experts after years of interviewing them for the papers.
I’ve lived here for exactly five years – we moved in on 10 December 2010. We’d been moving house for years – buying, doing up and selling – and we were looking for a forever house that was a proper project. We didn’t want another redecoration job; this time we wanted the full-on experience.
I still have no idea what possessed us! Wrecks are hard to come by, but I saw this on a website the day before we were due to fly back from our summer holiday. We rang and booked an appointment for the following day. We had to see off a few other interested parties, but we got it in the end.
Grey sofabed, Ikea.
It was divided into two rental flats. The upstairs three-bedroom maisonette had been decorated to rent and never actually rented, so although it had magnolia woodchip wallpaper and a bright blue carpet, it was at least new and clean.
The downstairs had been empty for three years and was hideous. It had a partly installed kitchen with a concrete floor, a hole in the living room floorboards that I fell down every single time I went in there on my way to the bathroom, and cigarette ash in the fireplace.
Grey velvet Haresfield sofa, Sofas & Stuff.
Read expert advice on what to consider when planning a loft conversion
Well, having just done the loft, I ought to be saying we’re done, but of course we aren’t. In the New Year, we’re going to have a little tweak of the kitchen.
We need a new hob, which, as it’s an odd size, will mean a new worktop on the island; I’m planning concrete. Then we’re going to clad the ends of the island in the same tin as the ceiling (I don’t know why we didn’t do that to begin with), and then the cupboard doors need to go dark grey with tan leather handles.
Then we’ll be done… Not. Probably.
Being there, is the short answer. I like it when everyone is in, but all doing different things and wandering in and out of rooms to see what the others are up to. Or we are eating a family meal together, which has now become a thing of pleasure rather than an actual food fight, as it is with toddlers.
We try to have Friday night dinner together every week and it’s become a ritual. Recently, I invited some friends to join us and the boys were really cross, as they regard it as sacred family time that no-one else should come to.
So tough to answer that one. In the afternoons, when I’m supposed to be working but don’t want to be at my desk, I like to sit in the library, which has a great view of the living room.
When I have all day to sit at my desk and write, I love to be in the newly converted loft, which has fantastic views over the park.
Let’s just say I have the ideas and then find someone to carry them out for me!
Shall we pretend I don’t check Twitter and start with the second thing, which is wake my younger son, who has to get up first for school? Next I make coffee and feed the cat. Then it’s time to wake the older one and off we go with the day.
Well, given that my first book, which is out in February, is called Shades of Grey, I have to say that the grey trend isn’t so much the next one as the one that’s here to stay.
Apart from that? Moving away from copper and towards the warmer yellow metals, which, incidentally, look fabulous against all shades of grey.
Standing flamingo, DZD.
Embrace the trend for warm metals and discover how to be bold with brass
Now that my children are old enough to go out and do their own thing, my husband and I quite like to pour a glass of wine and watch a film on a Sunday afternoon. That’s the fantasy, anyway. The reality is that I’m often writing Monday’s blog post and he’s catching up on the things he didn’t have time to do in the week and preparing for the one ahead.
Everything in moderation. Except for weekends, when it’s just everything.
Tour the home of blogger Charlotte Smith of Lotts & Lots
COMMENT TO WIN
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is post a comment below on what you love about Kate’s home. A randomly drawn entry from all comments that were submitted in the contest period and approved by Houzz UK Ltd will determine this month’s prize winner. Approved comments will be included in the draw automatically. The prize winner will receive an individually etched vintage-style filament lightbulb from Vinegar and Brown Paper (or, if out of stock, a £40 gift voucher will be issued). View the full competition T&Cs here. *This competition has now closed.*