Tuesday 16 April 2013

The Retro Decorator - 50s bathroom, Basildon Park

The miserable weather that characterised the British summer last year meant we didn't get out and about as much as we might have liked, and as a knock-on effect we didn't really use our National Trust membership to its full potential. This year, however, we're determined to get the most out of it, and we recently visited the lovely Basildon Park in Berkshire. 

From the outside, it looks like a lot of similar Palladian mansions built in the 1700s:

Basildon Park facade

However, it has a slightly more unusual history in that it was never fully completed, and had a number of different owners with varying financial difficulties - including the government, which used the house as a barracks during the Second World War. (Interestingly, the house was almost completely dismantled and shipped to the USA at one point, and a large number of interior elements have been stripped out and can be found in various public buildings in the US).

The house was rescued from ruin in the mid-1950s by Lord and Lady Illiffe. They set about trying to restore the house until it was left to the National Trust in 1978. As well as some very grand state rooms, the house also contains a number of original 1950s "mod cons" that make for interesting viewing, and which is how this makes it into a Retro Decorator post!

The 1950s kitchen is currently undergoing some restoration, but it's the bathrooms that caught my eye...

I've always stated my preference for a clean, modern bathroom, but anyone who has followed this blog for a while may remember that conversely I also have a particularly nostalgic love of a black and pink bathroom - and these ones are probably as grand as they come:

Who wouldn't want to bathe in this?

Very Hollywood screen siren, I'm sure you'll agree! (And if the house looks familiar, it's because it has been used in a number of films and TV productions...)

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