Houzz Tour: A Victorian Villa in Bath is Transformed for Family Living
A total renovation that involved almost as much demolition as it did construction created a charming family home in the Bath countryside
Mackenzie and his team embarked on a major renovation project: from demolition to construction, plumbing to plastering, no stone was left unturned. Despite various surprises along the way, such as discovering not one but two wells hidden under the floorboards, the end result is a bright and spacious home that honours its Victorian past while making the most of contemporary design.
It was a big engineering operation that involved much piling work to hold up the hill, but was well worth doing. As well as providing parking space, the creation of the courtyard and extension reversed the orientation of the house, so this area, which was originally the back of the property, is now the main entrance.
‘The change in height means one side of the island is 900mm high and the other is 1100mm high, which works perfectly for a family with small children. Handleless cupboards keep the space neat. ‘We didn’t want the kitchen to be the centre of attention in the room,’ says Mackenzie.
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‘Lots of people think it’s a good idea to have the same surface all the way through when it comes to kitchens and dining rooms,’ he says, ‘but if you put a timber floor next to water, it won’t look good for long, and if you end up getting water underneath it, you’ll have to lift up the entire floor.’ The change in floor levels was a happy accident that made the decision to change materials an easy one.
To the right of the kitchen is a door that opens into a utility room.
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‘The idea of the renovation was to make the original house legible and retain features such as this tiled floor, while all of the new insertions are unmistakably contemporary additions,’ he says. ‘It was all about making it honest.’
‘The clients were keen on collecting things, and spent quite a lot of time looking for second-hand antiques,’ says Mackenzie, so the living room was designed as a blank canvas that could be added to over the years.
As Mackenzie didn’t change the roofline of the existing attic, and the property was not listed nor in a conservation area, he didn’t need planning permission to do the conversion.
Given the non-listed status of the property, and because so many extensions had already been added, Mackenzie didn’t actually increase the size of the building, so no planning permission was needed for the works.
To give the house some privacy from the lane, yet bring in plenty of light, Mackenzie used a combination of western red cedar cladding and glazing.
The Victorian facade has now become the back of the property. It looks out over a large garden – that has since been landscaped – and views over the River Avon valley.
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