At home with...Kate Watson-Smyth
Kate Watson-Smyth writes top interiors blog madaboutthehouse.com. Her book Mad About The House is published by Pavilion
Describe your home? I live in a Victorian townhouse in London. It’s very tall and thin and we are constantly running up and down stairs since we converted the loft into an office a couple of years ago. Style-wise, it started off all white so we could see how the light fell and what we wanted to do. My last house was very dark and needed the lights on all the time so it was also a reaction against that. I have always admired those all white interiors but the truth is that while I like to look at them I don’t want to live in them. The first thing to change was the sitting room which we painted in Farrow & Ball Down Pipe, various other rooms followed in various shades of grey. I have just started to move on from that to a palette of dark chocolate, blush pink and natural linen. I have a lot of vintage furniture and old Persian rugs. I have always called it Urban Glamour as a style but it could also be called Morden Rustic With More Colour – if you want to label it.
What’s on your interiors wish list? I’d like an Earl Grey sofa by Love Your Home.
Which household items could you not live without? My Stelton coffee pot. I cannot function without good coffee and I make a full cafetiere at 7am and drink it all morning until it’s gone. The Stelton is clever and keeps it hotter for longer than the usual glass ones.
Which designers do you most admire? I like Ilse Crawford. I also like Linda Boronkay, the chief designer at Soho House. I love that she manages to create so many new houses that are all recognisably part of the brand, while still remaining true to the history
and style of the building.
What is your favourite building? I have always loved Tower Bridge in London and Arne Jacobsen’s petrol station in Denmark. Every petrol station should look like that.
Is there anything exciting you at the moment in terms of design? I like the return to warm, rich colours and the gradual move away from Scandinavian style – I love the craftsmanship and sustainability of the Nordic countries but I find myself yearning for warmer colours and a little more clutter. I like the idea of pared back minimalism but I can’t live like that and I’m enjoying the sense of cosiness and warmth that is coming to the fore at the moment. I’m also excited by the expansion of sustainable design and the new ideas that are coming out around that as well as small makers finding a way to make a living which, I think, has been helped by the rise of social media. Ten years ago it was very hard to get your small business noticed and now if you have an Instagram account and use Twitter you can get started on your own and work it.
What and where is your ideal home? I would love a converted rustico in Italy in the Lunigiana which is a crescent of hills/mountains curving round the sea near Carrara.
Who would you most like to invite to dinner? The Obamas for sure and the Clooneys because they seem like fun
*Kate will be in Anthropologie, Leeds between 1–2pm on June 14 for a book signing. In the evening she will be doing a talk at the No House Rules event. Tickets cost £25 or £20 for members., www.nohouserules.com/product/mad-house-evening-kate-watson-smyth/ trees.