Bathing beauties

A classy bathroom can help you tap in to the value of your home, writes Rosalind Russell

It was hot and steamy, just the way he liked it. A little unusual for Farnham Common, but this was no ordinary sauna-lover. For instead of throwing cold water over the scalding stones, he poured a glass of fine Courvoisier on to them.

"He swore it was a very pleasurable experience," says Trevor Kent, the estate agent called in to value the property. "He invited me to join the family in the sauna." Mr Kent, a gent of generous proportions, declined.

What people do in their bathrooms can beggar belief. But as anyone who has ever inherited a Germolene-pink or avocado bathroom suite will confirm, when replacing it nobody should miss the opportunity to indulge in fantasy and frivolity.

"You can't," wrote Eric Linklater, "feel fierce and revolutionary in a bathroom."

But that was in 1931, when pounds 12,000 would have financed a small uprising against a minor dictator. Now it's what you'll pay for the latest hydro massage LifeBath, to be launched in September. It has 48 jets which pulsate, roll and pummel, massaging everything from hips to heart, and down the backs of your legs to the soles of your feet.

It is not, insists Max Pike - whose bathroom fittings sell to the far- from-filthy rich - one of those silly bubble baths that people waste their money on. "This," he says, "is a very serious bath."

And people with very serious money do like to splash out on the room they are least likely to share with anyone else: people who don't mind paying pounds 775 plus VAT for a nickel basin, and a further pounds 748 for the taps to go with it.

New Labour, thinks Mr Pike, may possibly be thanked for nudging the public into a more modern mind-set. "There is no curly-whirly decoration in bathrooms now. People are beginning to think modern rather than retro. Cast-iron has very few merits at all, and the Victorian rolltop is dying a natural death."

The latest material for baths, says Mr Pike, is volcanic lava from the Massif Central in France, where Volvic water comes from. Though piping in Volvic to bathe in would, he concedes, be a little over the top.

Although most bathroom firms agree that the elaborate Victoriana style is now past its peak, retro isn't altogether dead. Twyfords has launched an Art Deco suite, called Clarice.

Sottini is producing baby rolltops for the smaller bathroom, and rolltops with the roll edging on two sides so that the bath can fit into a corner. Its new Bathing Belles range includes the Calvari rain bath (inspired by the bath in the Prince Regent room, at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire), the Altesino Classic (at pounds 800, excluding cost of feet, and waste, overflow and standpipes) and the Calvari shower bath (from pounds 4,100) which has a shower curtain draped above it.

Ideal Standard have been bold. Their designers have pared down detail to the sleekness of smooth pebbles. And, bucking the trend that dictates white only in upmarket bathrooms, they have launched Contrasts: old English white porcelain for the water-bearing interiors of the fittings, with bright blue or green glaze on the outside (prices are from pounds 63.50 for a basin).

A classy main bathroom can swing a decision whether or not to buy a house. A bathroom the same size as the master bedroom, especially if the fireplace has been retained, is a major plus.

Magician Paul Daniels and his wife Debbie McGhie have his and hers bathrooms on either side of their bedroom in their Denham home. Debbie's, at 13ft 6in by 12ft 6in, is bigger than the bedroom. A commodious rolltop bath sits on a platform in the middle of the room. The property, Sherwood House in Denham, is on the market through Trevor Kent for pounds 1.5m, and has attracted considerable interest.

Michael Caine's Rectory Farmhouse, in Oxfordshire, which is also to be sold, has a bathroom bigger than the master bedroom, at 19ft 6in by 15ft 6in. The house, with eight acres, and frontage on to the Thames, is for sale for pounds 2m.

Bathrooms can produce surprises for the unwary estate agent. Atty Beor- Roberts of Knight Frank went with a colleague to value a lovely period house. "The bathroom had a lead-lined floor and a showerhead the size of a dinner plate. I turned it on to see if it worked, and water shot out from everywhere. We were absolutely soaked; all our papers were dripping. We had to dry off as best we could before we went back downstairs."

Medieval plumbing isn't necessarily a minus in estate agent terms, either; it can add a certain charm to an old place. Beor-Roberts is currently selling a medieval house with a moat - above which an ancient privy projects. The place is yours for pounds 1.25m.

Sottini 01482 449513; Ideal Standard 01482 346461; Twyfords 01270 410023; Max Pike Bathrooms 0171-730 7216; Trevor Kent 01753 885522; Knight Frank 0171 629 8171

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

German & French Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are curren...

Experienced Cover Supervisors Needed

£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education have cover s...

**** Calling All NQT's ****

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a Newly Qualified Teac...

Cover Supervising Roles Longridge

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Preston: A mainstream secondary school i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week