The owners: Angela Rowe, a doctor of psychology, and her husband Alex Lock, an employment lawyer, live here. Their two grown-up children, Daniella, 25, and Lawrence, 21, often visit
The property: A Georgian Grade II*-listed house with five bedrooms
The location: Clifton, Bristol
Total spend: The couple’s bathroom project cost just over £8,000
‘When we moved into our large Georgian house in 2006, the family bathroom was functional and clean, but very dated,’ says Angela. ‘The bath, basin, toilet and carpet were all pink and hadn’t been updated for two decades.’
Despite its old-fashioned interiors, Angela, Alex and their then teenage children, Daniella and Lawrence, loved the property immediately. ‘It is part of a rare Grade II*-listed Georgian terrace
A new home
‘We had been living in a two-storey, four-bedroom house on the other side of Bristol, but we needed more space. This place was a good size for us as it’s spread over five floors and, with five bedrooms, there’s plenty of room for family and friends to visit, too. We are very sociable people and this is a great party house.’
Structurally, the property was in a relatively good state, so the family lived in their new home for a year, to get a feel for the space before beginning the refurbishment. There was no question about which builder they wanted for the project: Samuel Clothier, who had done a great job on the improvements to their previous house. They employed him to project-manage and carry out the building work with his team.
Refurbishing the property
At the same time as refurbishing the bathroom, the couple wanted to move the kitchen from the ground floor to the basement, ‘which is where it would have been in Georgian times,’ says Angela. ‘We also wanted to extend the space and add large sliding doors to the garden.’
While some of Sam’s team focused on relocating and extending the kitchen, others set to work ripping out the old fittings in the bathroom, positioned on the second floor. Luckily, no structural work was needed, the electrics were in good condition, and there was no sign of damp, woodworm or crumbling plasterwork. ‘There were lots of good features to work with, too,’ says Angela, ‘including simple, elegant ceiling cornicing and a generously proportioned Georgian sash window, all still in good repair.’
The room contained just a bath, basin and WC, so Angela and Alex wanted to include a separate shower in the new design, as well as to give the space a period look to match the rest of the house. Sam and his team gutted the bathroom, before exposing, sanding and treating the original pine floorboards with an ebony stain. They then replaced the pink suite with period-inspired sanitaryware.
A roll-top acrylic bath was the perfect choice for the room. Measuring 169cm long and with traditional black cast-iron feet, it makes a real focal point. ‘We are also particularly pleased with our WC, as it is a real statement piece,’ says Angela. ‘It has a very high cistern, more than two metres off the floor – apparently having a higher cistern results in a stronger flush.’
Fixtures and fittings
Another of the couple’s favourite purchases is the Victorian-style washstand, which they sourced through a discount website. ‘It fixes to the wall and has only two legs, so it saves space – ideal for this relatively small bathroom, as we needed enough room to fit in the shower,’ says Angela. ‘However, it was not the smallest option – we started out with a more compact basin in here, but it didn’t look right, so we replaced it with this oversized design. The whole piece is finished in baked vitreous china, so it’s stain-resistant and easy to keep clean.’
For the new shower, Angela and Alex chose a quadrant enclosure, with sliding doors. It’s a modern design but it fits behind the bathroom door so it doesn’t detract from the overall traditional look.
‘Planning the bathroom was easy,’ says Angela. ‘Everything slotted into the same places as before, although Sam had to extend the pipework for the shower drain. There had always been enough space for a separate shower – we just needed to make sure it was the right shape.’
Creating a period look
As they wanted an authentic period look, the couple decided not to tile throughout, instead using white Metro tiles inside the shower area and to form a splashback around the basin. The walls were all painted in a soft, classic beige.
Along with the kitchen, the bathroom was finished in just three weeks, ready for a few final touches. Angela added an old Tibetan cupboard, inherited from her grandmother, to store her beauty products; a big weeping fig plant that had belonged to her mother; and, above the bath, four abstract pictures painted by son Lawrence. ‘The finished look is a real family effort,’ smiles Angela, ‘perfect for a family bathroom.'
Images by William Goddard