A bright and comfortable family home in the heart of Bath where old meets new

On moving back to the UK after two decades spent living in Sydney, this couple wanted to create a family home which was respectful of the traditional architecture, while introducing modern decorative influences.
A bright and comfortable family home in the heart of Bath where old meets new

In the adjoining dining room, Rapture & Wright’s ‘Albaicin Palm’ wallpaper is a continuation of the ‘green mood’. Far from being overwhelming, the many prints work in harmony here. As Sara maintains: ‘I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to pattern. You need to trust your gut and be confident.’

Half a flight of stairs up, what was once a dingy bathroom has been transformed into a sun-filled, bright yellow reading room, where practically every inch of floor space is filled with inviting sofas. This was the last room the couple decorated, and keen to get it finished, Will decided to put up the Colefax & Fowler wallpaper himself. He’s not one to wait around for a tradesman to have a free day.

There are changes of pace throughout the house. The calm, pale blue main bedroom is ‘more American in design’, as is the large, airy kitchen with its covetable pantry. Sanderson’s ‘Raphael’ wallpaper on one wall adds an element of colourful frivolity.

A running thread of blue throughout the main bedroom takes inspiration from American homes: the ceiling is painted in ‘Borrowed Light’ by Farrow & Ball.

Owen Gale

Sara’s favourite room, and the one most laboured over, however, is the master bathroom. Reminiscent of the grand American bathrooms of Syrie Maugham from the Twenties, it uses a white on white palette; carrara marble basketweave tiles from Ca’Pietra cover the floor, while a huge marble lined bathtub from Porters sits centrally in the room in front of the fireplace. A flowing painted cartouche in soft grey surrounds the window frame – a nod to the 18th-century folly of Cy Twombly’s partner, Nicola Del Roscio, at Gaeta.

At the end of the garden (which the couple designed themselves) is a delightfully quaint guest-house. ‘We had planned for this to be the teenagers’ ‘hang-out’ spot’, they admit. ‘But when a friend in Australia announced they were coming to visit, we had to rethink it’. In just four weeks, the former garage was transformed: terracotta walls and lashings of layered textiles make for a deeply inviting space, and one which any guest should be delighted with.

Now that the house is finished, Sara and Will talk about it with a mingled sense of relief and excitement. As if they are finally in the right place, and can relax. Already, they have had friends and family to stay and hosted a large summer party. ‘It’s a great feeling when things turn out exactly how you pictured them', says Will.