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Victorian-style bathroom

Joanne and Andy Ross’s bathroom makeover required patience, commitment, scaffolding – and a forklift truck; no wonder it won the title of Best Bathroom in our Readers’ Awards 2009. The bathroom includes an Albert basin and stand teamed with Victorian taps and a reclaimed roll top and is decorated in shades of white and blue to create a light and airy feel.

Key factsJoanne Ross

Location: Derbyshire
Period: 1860s cottage
Size: 3 bedrooms
Owners: Joanne Ross sells vintage homewares online; her husband Andy is an IT consultant and part-time chiropractor. They have one son, Louis

‘When we fell in love with a cast-iron Victorian canopy bath at a salvage yard,’ says Joanne Ross, ‘we were disappointed to see that its price tag was £500 more than our entire budget for the bathroom! We were absolutely determined to have it, though, so we embarked on an extensive selling session on eBay.’

In preparation for the bath’s arrival, the walls were stripped back and the floor joists were reinforced to take the extra weight. The sizeable bath also dictated the layout of the room, so the position for the new high-level cistern toilet had to be moved. This caused some problems because the room potentially featured dangerous doors leading to a small balcony. To rectify this, Joanne and Andy had a floor-to-ceiling sash window made. In addition, the plumber renewed all the plumbing, including a new tank, pipes under the floor and an efficient pump in the loft.

Even more careful planning was required to actually get the bath into the house. ‘We decided that a mini forklift would be the safest option as the stairs are much too narrow,’ explains Joanne. ‘Our builder had the unenviable task of operating the forklift to raise the cast-iron bath from our driveway up over the conservatory and on to scaffolding erected at the back of the cottage. It was then winched up on to a ramp that went over the balcony and down into the bathroom.’

Finishing touches in the room include blue-painted tongue-and-groove panelling to tone with the bath, reclaimed pine for the floor, an old armchair and an advertising print of a canopy bath.

Budget breakdown

Victorian canopy bath £6,500
Sink and stand £744
Taps £130
Sash window £1,800
Etched glass £400
Lighting and electrics £500
Door £140
High-level cistern loo and fittings £730
Forklift £375
Scaffolding hire £280
Building and plumbing £6,000
Reclaimed flooring £400
Tongue-and-groove panelling £120
Accessories £800
 
Total cost of work £18,919