Pretty Dandy

Interview with... Kate Watson-Smyth

In the latest in our behind-the-scenes interviews with folks from the interiors world we talk to Kate Watson-Smyth, blogger & journalist extraodinaire who also shares very sweet pictures of her new kitten on twitter from time to time!

These interviews with the interiorati give you a chance to find out a bit more about the people who write about, photograph and style the interiors you see on Pinterest and in magazines. We want to give you a chance to get an insider's view of the interiors world, all in the time it takes to drink a quick cuppa (with a biscuit of course!).

So, without further ado, here is our interview with the very talented Kate!

First up, can you introduce yourself and you work for anyone who isn’t aware of you/ it?
My name is Kate Watson-Smyth and I write about interiors and design for The Financial Times, for which I won interiors/lifestyle writer 2013. I was on the staff of The Independent for many years and have also written for The Guardian and The Daily Mail. I blog at Mad About The House and my recently renovated house was featured in Living Etc in January.
Kate Watson-Smyth
Who are your design heroes & why?
That's such a difficult question as I'm liable to change my mind on a weekly basis depending on who I've spoken to most recently. I would say that rather than picking a single person, I am always inspired by Scandinavian design and am constantly drawn back to the simple clean lines and monochrome purity of the Danes. I also like the philosophy of many of the great Danish names (Jacobsen, Wegner and Henningsen etc) that not only should good design should be available, and affordable, for all, but that it [good design] makes you happy and improves the quality of life.
Tell us one of your earliest design memories.
When I was four we lived in Northumberland and I remember my mother asking her cousin, who had been expelled from college for something I never got to the bottom of, and sent to the wilds of the North East in disgrace, to build me a playroom. He loved carpentry and I had a fantastic set of wooden units all along one wall with a matching toy box that doubled up as a seat. It was all painted in the most fantastic shade of turquoise and I absolutely loved it.
If you could have one item delivered to your home tomorrow, what would you choose?
Only one? Really? The list is long. I would like Matthew Hilton's three seater Oscar Sofa. I also have a hankering to have vintage copper taps and piping in the kitchen, which would also necessitate the delivery of a new worktop. And a plumber come to that. And I would love a Madeline Weinrib runner for my hall.
Matthew Hilton sofa
Madeleine Weinrib
Madeleine Weinrib runner 
Image from Living Etc
Where have you visited that has most inspired you?
I love Italy and a recent trip to Venice would probably be my answer. The beauty of the Grand Canal has reawakened my love of faded ocean blues and greens (especially with monochrome) and the grand old crumbling palazzos are so beautiful. I always want my houses to have that worn plaster and exposed brickwork look but it's very hard to pull off successfully in a Victorian terrace. 
Crumbling palazzo
Image from Velvet Moondiaries blog
And finally… please share a design secret with us…
I feel I'm banging a bit of a drum with this one at the moment so it's hardly a secret, but my number one thing is storage. When we designed our kitchen I wanted to have so many cupboards that I could choose to have just one for Tupperware if I wanted. I didn't quite pull that off but there's no doubt that having enough storage space is key to a beautiful home. It's not that I'm a minimalist (far from it) but I would like to think I had the option of being that tidy. And, let's face it, with the exception of books and some beautiful crockery, most of what we leave lying around isn't beautiful. Put it away and let the space, and its furniture, breathe. 

Thank you so much to Kate - why not pop over to her blog to read more of her wonderful writing and to find more fab interiors tips: Mad About The House blog 
Mad About The House blog logo
We like this blog so much that it has been featured on our site before, here... so you should definitely head over for a browse through!

Thanks for reading, next in this series will be blogger Walnut Grey, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Date: 11 Oct 2013 13:22
Author: Becky
Tags: Interview with