Owners of 15th century farmhouse turn spare bedroom into quirky family bathroom

Emma Gordon lives in a 15th century farmhouse near Halifax with her husband Andy and children, Rudy, 12 and Bo, nine. They moved their impractical ground-floor bathroom upstairs to create a luxurious family space.

How did you get started with the project?

Once we’d decided we were going to move the bathroom upstairs, we decided to put it in our spare bedroom, which we’d only used once for guests. Originally, you had to go through another bedroom to get to it, so before we did anything else, we had to create a corridor to make it independent. To do this, our builder put up a stud wall and fitted a reclaimed door.

Were there any major works that needed to be done?

As we were moving our bathroom into a bedroom, a plumber had to lay new pipes underneath the floorboards, feeding them up from the ground floor. We also had to create extra room for the pipework, which we did by raising the height of the floor slightly. While this was being done, we reinforced the ground with steel lintels to support the weight of the cast-iron bath. We had to think about potential draining issues, as the house is old and sits on a hillside, so we chose to get a macerator toilet. I didn’t want it to be the first thing you see when you walk into the room, so we tucked it away in the corner.

Colin Poole

'The old bathroom was on the ground floor and, as well as being small and dark, it was also in the wrong place for a family home. Now it’s a lovely room with a mix of old and new'

It’s quite a big space for a bathroom...

Yes, it’s 8ft x 14ft, but in some ways this made it easier because the room has a door in the middle and a large window, so there was a limit to where things could be positioned. I knew I wanted a freestanding bath as the main feature but, as it’s quite a big room, it could easily have looked lost if we’d stuck it right in the middle. And as the door is centrally placed, I didn’t want it to become a room of two halves. There’s a lovely old stone fireplace across one corner so I decided to have the bath at an angle in front of it. The fact that it points into the room takes the eye through and helps pull it all together. After we’d taken everything into account, there was still room for a large shower.

Colin Poole

You chose a bold look with a statement wallpaper...

As an interior designer, I love pushing boundaries and experimenting with striking designs. I saw this print and instantly fell in love with it. I had no reservations about using it on each of the walls – it’s a spacious room and I think it can take it, but I created balance with a plain, pale floor and used different shades of blue for the tiles, the bath and woodwork to unite the look.

Colin Poole Colin Poole

How did you create the individual character of the room?

I wanted to keep the style of the house, which dates back to the 15th century and has stone mullion windows, while creating a contemporary look to bring it into the 21st century – I enjoy mixing old and new. The blue and white look fantastic together, and the highlights of hot pink introduce another dimension. I’d had my eye on the picture above the bath for a while and thought this was the perfect room for it – I don’t like to take things too seriously.

Colin Poole Colin Poole

What was the biggest challenge?

Getting the cast-iron bath up the stairs – it took five builders to lift it.

Owners of 15th century farmhouse turn spare bedroom into quirky family bathroom

Finally, is there anything you would have done differently?

I have a fabulous French vintage chandelier that would have looked amazing directly over the bath, but regulations didn’t allow it. Everything else is just as we hoped – it’s our favourite room in the house and the space works for the whole family.


The space has been transformed from an unused bedroom into a fabulous and functional bathroom. The cast-iron bath, old stone fireplace and striking wallpaper give it unique character.

Neryhs Kwak


Total = £2,897

From: House Beautiful magazine. Subscribe here.

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