Vintage bathroom
reclaimed vintage bathroom

Installing a vintage bathroom in a listed house

Salvaged pieces and a bold use of colour have restored this room’s heritage

By Paula Woods |

Creating a vintage bathroom offers a great opportunity to seek out unique, salvaged materials that can really inject character into a room. Take inspiration from this timeless bathroom renovation, which uses reclaimed and vintage pieces befitting of a Georgian townhouse.

Nick and Catherine Gilpin’s Grade I listed home in Bath, Somerset, had been student accommodation for years before they bought it.

‘Catherine was daunted by its dilapidation,’ says Nick, the music producer who worked on the Mamma Mia! stage show. But he was confident that, with the help of architect Jonathan Rhind and designer Nicola Harding, they could turn the warren of rooms back into a single, cohesive home.

Vintage bathroom ideas: vintage bathroom decor in a Georgian townhouse

The vintage ceramic basin was sourced from eBay and is mounted on a stand that Nicola designed. Photo: Paul Massey

Commissioned to secure planning and listed building consent, as well as implement layout changes and install new services, Jonathan also worked on the repair and the original features. Nicola concentrated on the interiors.

‘Having worked on our previous home, Nicola understood our desire to respect the past but not live in a museum,’ says Nick.

Seeking a vintage bathroom that works in a modern home, the couple briefed Nicola to draw out the character and find room for a shower in the guest bathroom. The new layout has a vintage bath and basin along one side, making space for the shower and loo on the other.

Vintage bathroom ideas: salvaged refurbished bathtub in pale green against dark walls

Nicola sourced a cast iron bath from eBay, and an old wooden grain sorter is repurposed as a bath tray. Photo: Paul Massey

Installing a vintage bathroom suite, including a Victorian high-level cistern and loo, required some creativity.

‘It’s tricky as the plumbing dimensions vary, so it’s important to find the right plumber,’ says Nicola. But she feels the extra effort was worth it: ‘Vintage pieces give a sense of permanence, they reduce the carbon footprint and tend to be better quality than new pieces.’

Vintage bathroom ideas: salvaged roll top bathtub with dark walls and green plants

Nicola assembled the sink, taps, bathtub and mercury glass light from ‘various antiques shops and salvage yards’. Photo: Paul Massey

The walls, ceiling and woodwork are painted in a dark charcoal shade (Farrow & Ball’s Railings), which ‘makes the space feel cosy and intimate’, says Nicola. The salvaged bath is painted in Deep Water Green by Paint & Paper Library.

Cement tiles in a matching hue cover the floor and shower walls, which allows the turquoise bath exterior to stand out. The result is a room brimming with character.

The vintage bathroom project took three weeks and cost £7,000 (plus installation).