Pippa Paton’s bathroom in the barn

By Pippa Paton
January 19, 2021

Interior designer Pippa Paton explains why a bathroom in a Cotswolds barn is her most memorable project

‘Part of a renovation of the whole house, this project was to completely redesign the master bedroom suite to provide an ensuite bathroom, a separate dressing area and also a small work space. We undertook this project in 2014 in a Grade II listed, mid 19th Century Cotswold barn.  

The client are a professional couple with four children who live and work in London and use the barn as a weekend retreat. We have subsequently worked with this client on two further projects. The brief was to create something that was visually exciting, which optimised both views and space whilst retaining the integrity of the building and its history. Functionally, the design needed to deliver twenty first century amenities and ergonomics but within the fabric of the original building. 

Although the brief was extremely demanding we were lucky to have a client who was open to radical thinking about both spaces and materials.  

In order to maximise space our idea was to create a ‘floating’ glass box above the master bedroom as this allowed the double height volume of the bedroom to be retained whilst using part of it for the ensuite. The glass box, with white resin floor, is accessed by a white powder coated steel staircase. The original volume of the bedroom is unimpaired by the structure and the clients benefit from being able to see the full volume to a ridge height of 5.5 metres including  original features such as the Cotswold stone wall and trusses. 

Within the bathroom an old stable door sits in front of the shower glass, with corrugated iron on the wall at the back of the shower area.  The bathroom enjoys all the modern amenities which the owners required: a Japanese WC is set behind a stud wall so whilst open is not obviously on view; there is a rainshower which, because of the vault could not be inset into the ceiling, so a bespoke frame was fabricated which allowed the shower to be supported from pipes which acted as the feeds and tied the glass panels in position. A white Corian clad storage cupboard was designed to act as a wall between the WC and the shower. 

The controls for the copper bath are set into an oak block at one end of the bath and a specially designed rill was fabricated to take the water from a second oak block into the bath resembling a flowing stream. The copper basin sits on a further oak block with a niche cut out to discretely hold toothbrushes. 

In order to maximise the views over the valley, openings were created to allow glimpses outside such as a rooflight added adjacent to the glass shower wall so that there is view straight across the valley while showering.  

The idea of the new en-suite is a curated gallery of objects in a floating glass box, suspended above the master bedroom to maximise space, light and volume. 

What did we learn from this project? It was the fulcrum point of everything we have done since. It taught us not to be afraid of difficult spaces and to have the confidence in the power of radical ideas to solve clients’ challenges. And also, that the simplest looking result can require the most technical solutions in order to achieve that simplicity.’ 

Pippa’s latest book Twenty First Century Cotswolds Volume II is available from her website

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