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Kitchen of the Week: An Artful Conversion of a Garage in Bath, England

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Kitchen of the Week: An Artful Conversion of a Garage in Bath, England

January 21, 2021

“The customer is always right—and we like to consider the building our client, too, and respond to its character, mood, and spirit,” says Patrick Williams of Berdoulat. A specialist in lyrical and meticulous period restorations, Patrick, when we first met him in 2015, was living in a mid-19th-century East London apartment that he had entirely freed of its recessed halogen lights, laminate flooring, and other “developer rubbish”: see Reinventing the Past with a Salvage Hunter-Upcycler-Philosopher.

Much has happened since then. Patrick, his wife and business partner, Neri Kamcili, and their daughters, Wren, 8, and Bonnie, 5, now live in Bath, England, and have a portfolio that landed Berdoulat on the House & Garden Top 100 Interior Designers 2020 list. They specialize in working with antiques and salvaged materials, and in addition to their many remodeling projects, are planning to open a shop this spring below their own living quarters in the heart of Bath (go to their online shop for a preview of what’s to come). Their home is part of a cluster of three conjoined structures that includes, in the back, a 19th-century wine and provisions shop that in recent decades was being used as a garage. “It was looking rather sorry for itself,” says Patrick. “Behind a galvanized roller shutter was just a concrete slab and asbestos-lined ceiling. But matchboarded walls gave a clue to it former use, and on further investigation, we found a photograph taken the morning after the Blitz showing the building with six-over-six sashes and a shopfront.” Join us for a look at the muse house it has become—and scroll to the end for a floor plan and glimpse of the building’s past history.

Photography by Berdoulat Studio, unless noted.

A newly installed 90s mirrored door opens to the mews living quarters and kitchen, approximately 300 square feet. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, and the plan is to rent the house for short-term stays (but during the pandemic it&#8
Above: A newly installed 1890s mirrored door opens to the mews living quarters and kitchen, approximately 300 square feet. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, and the plan is to rent the house for short-term stays (but during the pandemic it’s being occupied by a tenant—which meant the additional photos we requested were not possible).

The paneling was created from parts of the garage ceiling and a wall that was removed elsewhere in the building: “none was where it is now,” says Patrick. The insulated floor is reclaimed six-inch pine boards bought on eBay and painted Fired Earth’s Burnt Juniper (“discontinued,” notes Patrick, “but similar to Farrow & Ball’s Mahogany and Edward Bulmer’s London Brown”).

Built in 00 as a pub, the structure was converted at the turn of the century into a shop—and now has a partially frosted shopfront that provides privacy and light. Lacking archival photos from the period, Patrick &#8
Above: Built in 1800 as a pub, the structure was converted at the turn of the century into a shop—and now has a partially frosted shopfront that provides privacy and light. Lacking archival photos from the period, Patrick “used the nearby St. James’ Wine Vaults façade as inspiration, as it dates from a similar period. This informed a lot of the joinery detail.”

The rise-and-fall period lights are from Un Coin Du Passé, a brocante in southeastern France run by friends of Patrick and Neri’s. The walls are painted a Fired Earth blue called Tempest. Photograph by Paul Whitbread.

As for the showstopping double ceramic sink, it was sourced from one of Patrick’s haunts, Norfolk Reclamation and likely came out of a laundry room. It’s raised on a cement plinth to make it a comfortable height. Patrick’s sister gave them the rug.

The project required a lot of sleuthing and reimagining. “In a back room we found what we imagine was the original counter, and decided to use this to house the kitchen, reinstating it in the same position per the 90 plans,” says Patrick. Made of mahogany, it’s now fitted with a cooktop and stove, and immediately to their left, an under-counter fridge hidden behind what looks like a set of drawers. The mirror was found in the space and “happened to fit perfectly.”
Above: The project required a lot of sleuthing and reimagining. “In a back room we found what we imagine was the original counter, and decided to use this to house the kitchen, reinstating it in the same position per the 1890 plans,” says Patrick. Made of mahogany, it’s now fitted with a cooktop and stove, and immediately to their left, an under-counter fridge hidden behind what looks like a set of drawers. The mirror was found in the space and “happened to fit perfectly.”

As for the showstopping double ceramic sink, it was sourced from one of Patrick’s haunts, Norfolk Reclamation and likely came out of a laundry room. It’s raised on a cement plinth to make it a comfortable height. Patrick’s sister gave them the rug.

The sink has Barber Wilsons brass faucets—Berdoulat is launching a range of taps with the company in a few months—and a backsplash of reclaimed subway tiles bought on eBay. The plate-drying rack is a prototype for one that will be sold in the Berdoulat shop along with other &#8
Above: The sink has Barber Wilsons brass faucets—Berdoulat is launching a range of taps with the company in a few months—and a backsplash of reclaimed subway tiles bought on eBay. The plate-drying rack is a prototype for one that will be sold in the Berdoulat shop along with other “18th-century type freestanding kitchen designs.” Patrick and Neri work with a team of local artisans; their master carpenter is in the nearby town of Frome.
The Berdoulat online shop is stocked with kitchen and tableware, including the Tuscan Pepper Mill shown here alongside an antique glass dome. Patrick has a fine-arts degree from Oxford and was born to his trade: he grew up helping his parents, both academics, restore an th-century French farmhouse called Berdoulat. His mother made the painting in the background when she was .
Above: The Berdoulat online shop is stocked with kitchen and tableware, including the Tuscan Pepper Mill shown here alongside an antique glass dome. Patrick has a fine-arts degree from Oxford and was born to his trade: he grew up helping his parents, both academics, restore an 18th-century French farmhouse called Berdoulat. His mother made the painting in the background when she was 16.
Another eBay purchase, an th century cupboard provides storage on the back wall of the kitchen.
Above: Another eBay purchase, an 18th century cupboard provides storage on the back wall of the kitchen.
An antique table had to be adapted in width to fit the compact dining area.  The chairs are Berdoulat&#8
Above: An antique table had to be adapted in width to fit the compact dining area.  The chairs are Berdoulat’s Silhouette design: “a product where one can have one’s own profile as the chair back.” Patrick is planning to make his own version of this 18th century plate rack.
The contemporary designs Berdoulat offers are all made locally using age-old techniques. Lydia Hardwick&#8
Above: The contemporary designs Berdoulat offers are all made locally using age-old techniques. Lydia Hardwick’s Inlaid Stoneware Platters are composed of  clay that she tints with oxides and rolls together: “the colors are not an applied glaze but in the clay itself.”

Floor Plan

A car previously lived here. The salvaged store counter now divides the small living area from the kitchen. A door on the back wall opens to a garbage shed and courtyard. The new stairs lead to two ensuite bedrooms.
Above: A car previously lived here. The salvaged store counter now divides the small living area from the kitchen. A door on the back wall opens to a garbage shed and courtyard. The new stairs lead to two ensuite bedrooms.

The Building, After the Blitz

Little was know about the history of the garage—until Patrick found this 4
Above: Little was know about the history of the garage—until Patrick found this 1942 photo. “We made a high-res scan of the image and blew it up to try and glean as much information as possible. We could just about make out the lettering ‘Cater Stoffell & Fort’ atop a spandrel-topped window.We decided to seek planning permission and listed building consent to re-instate the Victorian façade.”

Before

Located on Circus Place, the stone structure with the blue door had, like other buildings on the block, been converted into a garage in the 80s.
Above: Located on Circus Place, the stone structure with the blue door had, like other buildings on the block, been converted into a garage in the 1980s.

After

The restored façade, nearly complete in . See a time-lapse video of the exterior progress here.
Above: The restored façade, nearly complete in 2018. See a time-lapse video of the exterior progress here.

Go to Berdoulat & Breakfast to see the 1748 house in Bath where the family currently leaves (with two rooms to rent).

Also in Bath:

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