Adding a new bathroom to a listed property is no one’s idea of a bank holiday weekend. When the owners of a listed farmhouse wanted to add an ensuite bathroom to their new extension, they called in Drummond Shaw of Drummonds to work through the many tricky issues involved
The original property dates back to the 1500s. The new extension, with its pitched shape, was built using an oak frame and lime plaster. This meant it was very sympathetic to the original structure, but not the perfect shape for a luxe 21st-century bathroom.
When the owners visited Drummonds’ showroom, they fell in love with a marble bath. It became their central design influence and guided their choice of materials for the rest of the room.
This made things easier from a design point of view but brought a whole new set of logistical problems to the job. The bath is made of solid marble: would it be too heavy for the floor of a timber-framed building? Happily, by careful positioning of the beams, the floor was strong enough to take its weight. Next was the task of getting the bath from showroom to bathroom. Eventually this was done using a Roman winching system and five strong men.
It was all worth it in the end. Today the beams frame the bath, giving it pride of place, while the frameless shower, with its level floor, fades into the background.
An ensuite bathroom was required for the new extension of a 16th-century farmhouse. It had to be in keeping with the period of the house, but also modern and luxurious.
Planning issues included the need for the windows to be single-glazed, the weight of the marble bath and the owners’ desire to keep the bath visible from the bedroom.
The budget for the whole job was £35,000. Drummonds
This T-shaped room with sloping walls made great demands on the bathroom planner and the architects.
• Two windows also meant that the room was flooded with natural light, so the challenge was to come up with a floorplan that made the best use of the awkward spaces without losing any of the daylight.
• As an ensuite, the bathroom also had to work well with the guest bedroom. And having chosen a spectacular marble bath, the owners were keen that it should be seen and appreciated.
• Finding the headroom to fit the shower into a wall meant that the bath could take centre stage, the window could remain unobscured and the visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of the new bathroom.
Washed up: [Above left] The Kinloch wash hand basin suite (£2334) with Barra pop-up mixer taps (£1170). The planning authorities insisted that the windows were single glazed, to match the rest of the building. Heavy-duty underfloor heating keeps the room comfortably warm.
Hot stuff: [Above middle] A Wall To Wall five-bar heated towel rail (£2382) ensures a plentiful supply of toasty towels. As the steeply pitched roof does not leave much room for radiators, the underfloor heating is served by high-density pipes hidden beneath the marble tiles.
Positioning: [Above right] At first the designer thought the shower would have to be positioned in front of a window. Luckily, there was just enough headroom to move it along the wall and tuck the WC away in an alcove.
Shower unit: The Nene concealed shower, supplied by Drummonds, is available with a 200mm or 300mm shower rose (from £2514). The curved frameless screen allows maximum height for the showerhead.
Marble tiling: Once the owners had fallen in love with the marble bath, it made sense to use softly veined Carrara marble in the rest of the room. When properly sealed, it also works well with underfloor heating.
Material world: The marble bath dictated the choice of materials for the rest of the bathroom. More Carrara marble, with its subtle grey veins, was used for the floor and shower tray. Its highly polished finish makes it a practical as well as a luxurious choice.
The same material was also used for the skirting boards. This softens and blends the junction with the walls – with so much wood in the room already, oak skirting boards would have been too much.
The walls are lime plaster, for a soft, traditional look. This has been carried on through to the bedroom so that the walls are the same colour and finish throughout the guest suite.
To add the finishing touch, the fixings and towel rail are nickel.
The result is a bathroom that ticks all the boxes. The planners’ specifications have been met and the owners’ grown-up children have a beautiful room to relax in when they come to visit.
Words Anna Burnside
You can browse a selection of basins, taps, storage, towels, showers, baths and lots more in issue 89.