Dark grey walls and gold mirrors for Kate Watson-Smyth

We speak to Mad About The House blogger Kate Watson-Smyth and take a look around her 'shades of grey' bedroom and ensuite

Bedroom and bathroom renovation in shades of grey

Blogger, author and interior design consultant Kate Watson-Smyth might know a thing or two about wall colours.

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Minimalist Scandinavian design bedroom in neutral shades

Her book ‘Shades of Grey’ is encyclopaedic on the subject of choosing the right grey, and on her blog, Mad About The House, the original article on choosing the right shade, has now been viewed over half a million times – her most popular post ever.

Bedroom New York-style bathroom ensuite partition
Photo by Paul Craig

Here’s how she redesigned her bedroom and bathroom.

The project in a nutshell:

Who lives here? Kate Watson-Smyth, her husband Adam, their kids Isaac and Noah, and Enid, the cat

Designer: Kate Watson-Smyth, interior blogger and design consultant

Style: Contemporary

Design feature: Pavilion Grey by Farrow & Ball complements the orientation of the bedroom while the bold bathroom wall colour is a favourite shade of grey – Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball – which forms the ideal backdrop to the white freestanding bathtub

Double door bathroom ensuite entrance
Photo by Paul Craig

“So, the walls in here are Pavilion Grey by Farrow & Ball, but it was a saga,” confides Kate Watson-Smyth.

She says: “I wanted a blush pink and my husband Adam was equally certain that he didn’t.

“We tried about 15 testers and none of them were quite right.

“I then suggested painting the ceiling in Down Pipe to link the space with the bathroom and leaving the walls white.

“He was not convinced.

“I painted it.

“He hated it.

“So, I asked, what colour he did actually want and he said, ‘Well it turns out I like blush pink after all’.

“Amazingly we are still married!

“Anyway, I was over pink by that stage, paid a decorator to put the ceiling back to white and we started talking about pale greys.”

Grand fireplace bathroom with freestanding bathtub and matt grey walls
Photo by Paul Craig

After all that, Kate says this colour is perfect with the orientation of the room. The five-bedroom Edwardian terrace house in North London was in two flats when the couple bought it six years ago, and was a massive renovation project from the get-go, with every room makeover chronicled in detail through Kate’s hugely successful blog. They live here with sons Isaac, Noah and cat Enid and this bedroom was one of the last rooms decorated.

“I’d seen a similar idea of a dividing wall like this in New York, so when it came to doing that bedroom, which is pretty big, it seemed like the obvious solution,” says Kate.

She adds: “Wardrobes in alcoves are never quite roomy enough and I felt that the bed might be slightly lost.

“The wallpaper and the skirting boards are key to the feel.

“I’m really happy with how it has all come together.”

Converted bedroom bathroom with freestanding bath
Photo by Paul Craig

We ask Kate a few more specific questions.

Can you tell us about the layout?

I feel like it just happened naturally. This room was a bedroom that we decided to make into an ensuite. It was obvious to have a freestanding bath in front of the fireplace. The builder insisted the toilet should go on the outside wall and that does make it the furthest point from the bedroom too. Same with the shower. We were able to have two basins – apparently the secret to a happy marriage – as the second one fitted in front of where the door had been previously.

Grand bathroom with wall mounted taps and his and hers sinks
Photo by Paul Craig

How did you decide on the colours and materials?

I knew dark grey would look amazing with the giant gold mirror and contrasting with the white of the bath and fireplace. I like bathrooms that look like rooms that have baths in, rather than being all sleek and modern and fitted. We already had the floorboards and the fireplace and the big mirror and we decided to stick with that ornate but slightly modern rustic feel.

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Any challenges?

The shower was a challenge – we first did this room six years ago – but the shower had failed and we needed to replace it. The old one was a traditional step in sliding door corner shower and we hated it and wanted a wet room feel. We didn’t want to tile the whole floor as we loved the floorboards, but it meant we had to have an exaggerated fall on the floor. Now I just really need to find an L-shaped bath mat to keep the water from the wood.