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The Househunter: The Berdoulat Building in Bath – Mad About The House

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

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.

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