Converting a loft into an en suite bathroom

Alison and Keith Duddy have installed a Japanese-inspired bathroom in their early Tudor house – and the two styles work perfectly

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‘When we moved into our 15th-century timber-framed house, it was dark and eerie and looked nothing like the beautiful building it is today,’ Alison explains. ‘In fact, the entire north side of the house was uninhabitable and resembled more of a derelict shell than a home.’

Not surprisingly, that part of the property was in serious need of repair. After years of decay which had led to dry rot, the timber structure of the Tudor house was under threat and in danger of collapse.

‘The main reason we had bought the house was because it came with a barn of 6,000 sq ft, which Keith envisaged using as the base for running his TV production company,’ says Alison.

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The owners: Alison Duddy, a drama teacher, and her husband Keith, who is a TV producer, live here with their three daughters, Georgia, 17, Harriet, 15, and Charlie, 10

The couple and their daughters moved into the habitable south side of the house while they set about rescuing the north side.

‘We didn’t have an en suite bathroom, so part of our plans for the north side involved turning the second floor loft space into a master bedroom with a dressing room, en suite and gym,’ says Alison.

Alison and Keith enlisted the help of bespoke joinery and oak building specialists Lester Hartmann of Hartmanns of Malvern to project-manage the build.

Work began with replacing the roof and all the rotten timber with new oak from the Duchy of Cornwall’s estates in Hay-on-Wye. To rebuild the north section, the entire oak frame was lifted by 23cm as it had collapsed. Much of it was rebuilt using modern materials; the newly-built walls were lime plastered, the house was rewired and new floors were laid with kiln-dried English oak to bring warmth into the space.

After the once-derelict shell of the building was restored, the couple’s builders were able to position the partition walls to create the new master suite’s layout.

Alison and Keith eagerly turned their attention to the new bathroom design, as Alison explains: ‘Keith had been inspired by the wooden-style bathrooms he‘d seen in Japan while on a business trip.’

The plan was to make a focal point of a Japanese-style bath, with a skylight installed directly above to flood the space with light. The couple chose a steel bath with a white enamel finish, but they needed to strengthen the floor in order to take its weight, so the bath was installed on an oak platform to help conceal the RSJ support beneath it.

Lester Hartmann made a walk-in shower enclosure from teak to continue the Japanese-style theme, lining the walls with teak and adding a teak shower tray and glass screen. The teak was sealed with an oil treatment, which will last for a couple of years before it will need to be renewed.

Lester also made the walnut vanity unit for the double basins, the surround for the bath and a slimline storage cupboard beside the shower enclosure for bathrobes, towels and toiletries.

‘Given the large scale of our restoration project, the build went relatively smoothly – apart from when one of the builders fell straight through the bedroom floor onto the next level,’ says Alison. ‘Fortunately he wasn’t hurt in the fall.’

‘Now that the master en suite is finished we absolutely love it,’ says Alison. ‘Lester has done a wonderful job – the bath is such a luxurious experience and the white ceramic basins contrast perfectly with the darker wood. I don’t find this house remotely creepy now.’


Fixtures, fittings and appliances£3,313
Walls and flooring£806