MERRY, JOYFUL & LIGHT
Homes & Gardens|December 2021
The Georgian townhouse owned and restored by interior designer Laura Butler-Madden is the perfect setting for a sparkling Christmas
MARY WEAVER

KITCHEN

‘Not only is banquette seating space-saving but here it adds lovely texture, too,’ says Laura. Banquette, bespoke in velvet from Designers Guild. Table by Laura Butler-Madden. Artwork by Kristin Gaudio Endsley. Wall lights, Bert Frank. Pink candlesticks; place mats, all Ollie & Co. Clear candlesticks, Issy Granger

Christmas is a time to relax for interior designer Laura ButlerMadden, husband Patrick and their three-year-old daughter Lily. ‘It can be hugely stressful if you put too much pressure on the day, so we allow ourselves to take it slowly with early morning stockings, followed by a leisurely breakfast then a sociable stroll with both families – Patrick’s visit from Madrid each year. Lunch comes late, around 4pm or 5pm, with an Anglo-Spanish meal combining traditional British turkey with Iberian delicacies like aged hams and piquant olives.

The couple had completed work on their Georgian townhouse in Bath just before last Christmas, so this year they’re more settled and able to fully enjoy it. ‘We fell for the house because of its architectural history and saw the scope to breathe new life into it without fundamentally changing its bones,’ says Laura. ‘No extensions, nor knocking down walls, just a considered update to enhance its beauty and make it comfortable and practical for modern living.’

Also part of the house’s appeal was its unusual layout, with two levels below the ground floor kitchen and sitting rooms, and two more above. ‘We didn’t want the kitchen in the basement with Lily’s room miles away at the top of the house,’ says Laura. ‘In this home we live in the middle, sleep above and have spaces for guests and a cinema room below.’

Tucked away in a hidden row of period properties, just off the centre of the city, the house had been converted into two flats when they bought it. ‘We had to get planning permission to turn it back into a single dwelling, then, during lockdown, working around the availability of builders and supplies was a challenge, but the total revamp, including the new kitchen and three bathrooms plus plumbing, wiring and redecoration throughout took an impressive six months. ‘We spent time on advance planning to avoid hold-ups but stayed flexible, as you need to, finessing the details as work progressed,’ she says.

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