The moment Charlotte and Angus Buchanan, both 36, acquired their semi-detached Edwardian townhouse in Harlesden, northwest London, in early 2020, they began sketching their bathrooms fantastic. It would be the first time the couple had enough space to create sanctuaries dedicated to their love of long evenings (a passion they wanted to instill in their children, Riva, 5, and Wylder, 3). And so, rather than an architectural afterthought, as these hard-working spaces so often are, the two bathrooms became an expression of the family’s vision for life in their new home – and the quintessentially British, often fantastical, aesthetic of Studio Buchananthe creative direction and interior design company the couple founded in 2018.
Angus, who is the studio’s creative director, is known for making brightly colored and idiosyncratic home and restaurant interiors – a cozy, jewel-toned townhouse in Chelsea; a stainless steel clad dining room with fuchsia accents for Middle Eastern restaurant chain The Bab in East London – and he and Charlotte, who is the company’s CEO, brought the same dramatic style to the renovation of their own three-story property, and in particular for the master bathroom, a serene yet quirky 186-square-foot retreat on the second floor is entered through the couple’s windowed bedroom.
“The first question was, ‘How can we make this a really comfortable space?’ says Angus. Part of the answer was to sacrifice an adjoining guest bedroom to increase the bathroom footprint and widen the entryway (now fitted with a pair of reclaimed Victorian pine double doors) leading to the master’s bedroom. couple. Today, with its soft white walls, molded fireplace surround and original pine flooring, the space would look like an inviting early 1900s British drawing room if it weren’t for the cast iron bath from the beginning of the 20th century. , sourced from the north London salvage yard Nostalgia & New, which sits at its centre, overlooking the house’s garden through a large sash window.
Little in space is new. On the north wall, a reclaimed Art Deco porcelain double basin at the front, which lived for decades in the former home of Angus’ parents, an Edwardian shooting lodge in the Cotswolds, is a reminder of his childhood. He and Charlotte updated it for their own home by adding a backsplash cut from their favorite lilac-veined Calacatta Viola marble and installing a deep shelf above that hosts a trio of bespoke stadium-shaped antique mirrors by British furniture maker Rupert Bevan. Flanking the vanity are two eight-foot-tall gable-roofed cubicles – clad in zellige tiles in alternating shades of dusty pink and bone white – which envelop a shower and toilet respectively: triumphs of theatrical concealment in a room usually defined by utilitarianism alone. Modeled on boathouses, they were inspired by Angus’s childhood memories of summers spent on the River Helford, the remote Cornish estuary immortalized in Daphne du Maurier’s 1941 historical novel, “French Creek.” This note of maritime romance is echoed on the funnel of a Victorian basin yacht, from Norfolk antiques shop Kadensek & Ward, whose Angus mahogany mast is rigged with sails made from Buchanan Studio’s new fabric, Ticking Rose, a floral-patterned black and white-striped Belgian linen. “With the fire burning, it feels like you’ve escaped to an English country hotel,” Charlotte says of the room’s appeal. When friends come over, they often gravitate here before dinner, lingering to chat by the fireside.
Up a half-flight of stairs, the kids’ bathroom evokes a totally different vibe. On the small landing between the second and third floors, a flamingo-pink door with a mauve frame—topped by an early 20th-century transom window with lemon-yellow, purple, and emerald-green panes—forms a vibrant portal to the crazier side of Buchanan’s Brain. In a nod to the avocado green fixtures in the property’s unique original bathroom – a cramped cabin at the rear of the first floor – the couple chose a 1960s salmon pink suite from British supplier Bold Bathroom Company to energize the compact, newly constructed 61 square foot space. And after playing with different colors and configurations for the wall tiles, they settled on a striped arrangement – in cream, mustard yellow and blush tones – that falls somewhere between the pattern of a tartan and that of a Battenberg cake.
Since the Buchanans moved in, this small but charismatic space, like the master bathroom below, has become an unlikely gathering spot. On Friday nights, especially after a long week, the family often gathers inside for a bath-time party fueled by prosecco for the adults and, for the kids, the serotonin-inducing color palette. “Bathrooms are often these cold, sanitized spaces,” says Angus, who fitted both rooms with built-in speakers. “But we wanted to show that they’re also a place where you can be social and have fun.”