If you’re looking for inspiration for your home, Bath is the place to go this month. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more…
Bath is world famous for its splendid Georgian buildings. But there is just as much beauty going on inside those iconic sandcoloured walls.
This city is good at interiors. People here seem to take a real pride in their homes – and why not? There are so many shops selling so many pretty things.
Take a quick walk around and you’ll want to gently weep at the array of stunning furniture, paint shades, cushions, curtains, artwork and ornaments on offer.
All the big chains (which not many other South West cities get) are here: Graham and
Green, OKA, India Jane and Anthropologie, to name just a few.
But there is also a fabulous selection of independent shops, full of original ideas and one-off pieces guaranteed to make house guests ask: “Where did you get that from?”
This month, the city is hosting At Home in Bath, a campaign designed to celebrate the area’s style status. There will be sessions with designers, plus workshops and promotions to help inspire shoppers.
“Bath is a very creative place to be if you’re into interiors,” says Vanessa Sayce. She set up her award-winning company The Marmalade House six years ago, specialising in furniture painting, interior design and home styling. “You can get almost everything you want here and it’s a small enough city to be able get round it all,” she adds. “We’ve got quite a few of the mainstream brands, such as OKA but then you’ve got these unique shops, like Rossiters, which offers a bespoke curtain service.
“There are lots of people doing slightly different things.”
As well as selling unique homewares, The Marmalade House also offers courses and workshops in interior design. “Bath is just a massively inspiring space with the way the city is set out on its seven hills,” says Vanessa. “It’s full of space and light, which is great to work with.
“You’ve got these beautiful Georgian terraces, juxtaposed with more modern buildings,”
‘Prepare for some serious house envy in this city’
she adds, explaining how she loves working with older properties, as well as the city’s more modern homes.
“Anything goes and styles are changing all the time,” she says. “Come here in spring and then everything will be completely different again in the autumn. We’re not stuck in a groove here.”
Interior designer Amanda Habisrittinger agrees the architectural landscape, plus great shops means Bath is a great place to work.
“There’s a wealth of independently run places that offer a great shopping experience with flashes of inspiration, selling individual pieces - you just have to know where to look!”
Amanda – who runs Inspired Interiors, based in the city’s
Grade II-listed Bladud Buildings - works with a range of clients, offering full renovation of contemporary and traditional buildings, as well as helping to transform rooms and commercial space.
“I’ve been very fortunate over the years to work on properties in the Royal Crescent and the Circus,” she says. “Whilst they are all different in terms of decorative features and layout, every house possesses the most wonderful, voluminous lightfilled space that is truly inspiring!” With so much on offer everywhere you look, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. I ended up buying two great Ercol chairs from Pencil Tree in Cleveland Place after seeing them outside the shop as I went past on the bus.
“That happens a lot,” says
Pencil Tree’s owner Kirstie Jackson. “We’ve got quite a busy road outside and that has its real advantages. We sell a lot of pieces from the window.”
Kirstie and husband Paul opened their much longed-for interiors shop just over three years ago after moving back to the city from Devon.
Paul used to run a nightclub in Bath and has a background in club and bar design.
The couple love all things vintage and Pencil Tree has some eye-catching mid-century furniture displayed next to Paul’s colourful artworks.
“The paintings sell really well,” says Kirstie, adding that the shop is becoming more of a gallery, where the furniture is used to showcase the artwork.
“It’s really fun being here,” she says. “We love our shop and we have really lovely neighbours.”
The couple have recently taken on their own restoration project, transforming the mews house attached to Pencil Tree into a super-trendy holiday let (Walcot Loft), complete with plenty of mid-century furniture.
Even the holiday homes here are beautifully kitted out.
Yes. Prepare for some serious house envy in this city but console yourself with the fact that you can buy a slice of it. Or at least two trendy chairs. My dining room looks better already.
themarmaladehouse.co.uk; inspiredinteriorsbath.com; penciltree.co.uk
‘People here seem to take a real pride in their homes – and why not?’
Neptune is a recent arrival in the city
ABOVE:Locals and visitors can get interiors inspiration from the many shops and businesses in the city
RIGHT:Top brands, such as Neptune have set up home in Bath
LEFT:Rossiters is one of Bath’s most wellknown interiors stores:
BELOW: You can browse the latest interiors trends in Graham and Green in Walcot Street