The Castle has yielded little in the way of antique sanitary ware for me to salvage, one cast iron bath with that ubiquitous brown stain for tap to plug and an early 20th Century sink on stand which is small enough to squeeze into a bedroom turret space, as a guest sink.
That being said, I have kept the number of bathrooms to a minimum. I have seen enough of the London property market to not want to see my handsome rooms carved up into a warren of en-suites, full of grimy shampoo bottles. They are a tyranny to maintain, unless your basement is dug and some poor lady installed down there to care for them. Plus my affection for my childhood is such that I look back with fondness on my early years when my parents, two sisters, two lodgers and I shared just one bathroom and two loos. Sounds like something from ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’, but good humour prevailed. Equally, despite the roomy size of our Winchester house, we also shared fewer bathrooms. Hence my son’s dab hand at eye makeup and happy memories of the screaming hilarity or angry knocking of the children at bedtime. This lack of bathrooms is almost certainly another reason why I can’t sell the house.
So far my list of sanitary ware, antique and reproduction, includes a pair of mighty Victorian pillar taps, a muted unpolished copper bath, a cast iron bath with shell feet, a little themed, but why not? And for the basement bathroom, a 1930’s style buttermilk yellow suite, as this is a dark room with a black slate fire surround and I felt a little joviality was required. But the ‘piece de resistance’ must be a large Victorian transfer decorated sink, convolvulus and autumn leaves swirling around the plug hole, set on flamboyant cast iron stand. Not to everyone’s taste I admit, but personally I was rather disappointed there wasn’t a matching loo.
Tiles though, are more tricky. Having looked around, most original Victorian bathrooms are amply tiled, skirting to ceiling and the floor too, but it never seems right to me to sacrifice laths and lime plaster to a wall of modern tiles, so I will keep this to a minimum, as I also intend to keep the old boards and oil them and eschew under floor heating. Anything more slick just wouldn’t have that gothic feel and let’s face it, you have to give your guests a good reason to leave.