We’re off to Margate this week, the regency town that was first fashionable in the 18th century for Londoners looking for fresh sea air and which is now enjoying a resurgence as a haven for contemporary art and its creators. Before we get to this week’s property though, I want to first tell you about a design trip that Sophie and I are planning as co-hosts of The Great Indoors Podcast, although obviously it’s open to anyone. We fancy a week aboard soaking up inspiration from beautiful architecture, great food and interesting design and we thought some of you might fancy coming with us? It’s all in the early stages but if you think that sounds like something you might be interested in can you fill in this two minute survey which will help us to find the right destination and plan an itinerary. It wouldn’t be until September at the earliest so you would have time to save up and make any practical arrangements. Here’s the survey, fill it in and the more responses we get the better we can start to plan a trip hanging out with like-minded people, soaking up inspiration and chatting all things design. It would be fun wouldn’t it?
We’re very excited about the idea but now back to Margate. Someone messaged me yesterday suggesting Margate as a destination but we were thinking slightly further afield! But let’s visit today. This is a six bedroom Georgian townhouse which is the only one in the crescent to have remained a single dwelling since it was built in around 1790. It still has lots of period features including amazing plasterwork, sash windows and shutters.
It has been fully restored and repaired and extends over five floors with bathrooms on each. It’s on with Inigo for £950,000. The first floor has been entirely given over to the main bedroom, with views over the sea and there’s a huge bathroom and closet room, which oddly isn’t accessible from the bathroom so you’d have to shimmy onto the landing or take your clothes into the bedroom/bathroom first. But that’s a detail.
I mean that’s quite a splendid view from the bedroom isn’t it! The bedroom is below so you get a sense of how the rooms flow. The shower is behind the bath in a cubicle that sits between the windows. That has allowed this room to function as a bathroom without compromising the design of the room. Since the house is Grade II listed there may well have been strict rules in place about what was allowed. Sometimes it’s not about adding a bathroom as such but about the danger of a leak ruining beautiful plasterwork underneath. I’m not saying that’s the case here but be aware, if you are looking at listed houses, that you can’t always put a bathroom or a kitchen in exactly the place you deem most logical for modern living as there will be historic considerations to take into account.
But while we’re here we’ll just zoom in on this bathroom for a second as it’s rather splendid. In the UK we don’t have a tradition of large bathrooms and the only time you tend to find them is when a bedroom has been converted. We did this in the last house and never once regretted it but it’s not always an easy decision as you can affect your resale market. That said, if you are planning to live there forever then you have to balance your way of life and how long you want to be there against what a potential buyer might want. Also if you have four or five bedrooms then you can afford to do this. If you only have three to start with then you are making a decision that you are not selling a family house and, in that case, you need to appeal to a single person or a child-free couple – this might mean an en suite bathroom, a great wardrobe and an office space.
Another point to note is that this bathroom also has a couple of great cupboards in it and that’s worth bringing to mind if you are thinking of losing a bathroom. For example, the bathroom in this house which we have just moved to, is small. It’s an odd-shape and the walls are no more than 2.5m – but they are angled so it makes the space tighter. The point being that there is no space – once the shower, loo and basin are fitted – for lots of storage. We have had to identify another place to keep spare loo roll, shampoo and towels etc. And there’s always more of that than you think. So if you do decide to lose a bedroom to add a luxury bathroom then make sure you incorporate storage for all the bedlinen, the towels, possibly even some off-season clothes (I’m assuming a well-ventilated space).
Just going to drop by the other bathroom before we leave. This is classic Victorian with those brick laid metro tiles that never go out of fashion. It’s also a good size as the floorplan details a shower in the corner rather than over the bath – always tricky when there’s a window. That said it’s a short bath so if you want both shower and bath and that’s your compromise you do need to decide if you will use a short bath. We added a slightly short one in the last house (1500 as opposed to 1700) and hardly ever used it. That said we probably wouldn’t have used a long one either so just take the time to ask yourself the question and if you are adding a bath because you feel it would be rash not to have one then decide if you will use it. For the record we have pulled out the bath in this house and will have two walk-in showers – one downstairs and one up. Those are the questions we have asked ourselves and answered.
This is just a lovely room view. Plaster pink walls love a bit of dark vintage wood and an old cast iron radiator. It’s a good look and works well in a period property. I keep seeing reports that modern white oak has had its day (for now) and there’s no doubt that if you like vintage furniture it’s more sustainable and works well in old houses.
Into the kitchen which is spread over the whole of the lower ground floor with a living room behind it. I like the juxtaposition of the wooden Shaker units and the more industrial concrete worktop. I note also the small ceiling lights rather than modern spotlights. I have just bought similar for this kitchen as the plan is not to have modern spots in any room.
The same room different view. It’s possible the ceiling would look more elegant with flush fitting lights or perhaps it’s a question of lowering the pendants so they don’t interfere. Or perhaps you would have one and not the other. As ever, this is about showing you ideas that might work for you in your space. You can take the parts that please and leave the rest.
We’ll leave with this gallery wall as inspiration. I love that this a) comes down to the floor and really fills the space and I also love that it’s a biographical wall. It’s a mismatched collection of things that clearly have meaning for the owners and not a selection of ready made prints that have been bought to fill a space.
What do you think? Anyone moving to Margate? Or anyone fancy coming on holiday with us? A week in Italy floating anyone’s boat? Or perhaps a few days in Istanbul?