A festive Victorian rectory in the centre of Bath

A former rectory has been transformed into a bright, welcoming family home filled with roaring logburners and sink-into sofas.

There are some houses that might have been designed especially for Christmas. This family home is a case in point. On a brisk winter’s morning, you glimpse well-stoked fires and snoozing dogs through the stone mullioned windows and there is a deep porch for removing snow-dusted boots.

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Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

THE PROPERTY

Although it is only ten minutes from the heart of Bath, this mellow, Victorian rectory feels as tranquil as a country house. It is therefore surprising to learn that the homeowner’s never planned to move here. ‘We'd been happy living in a smaller townhouse in the centre of Bath, but one day I spotted this house online and decided to visit,’ says the owner. 'I knew this was where our family home should be. It felt right: the peace, the muntjac deer in the garden. It's a haven.’

Built in the 19th century, the house had later been divided into three flats. The couple started from scratch, turning it back into a convivial family home with six bedrooms and six bathrooms ranged over the three storeys, including a capacious, converted attic. For design help, the owner turned to her friend, interior designer Fiona Parke. 'Fiona pushes me out of my comfort zone without it being too much of a stretch. She works with your ideas but brings them together coherently.'

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

Seven months later, the house was transformed. At the top, a new staircase leads to the converted attic with games room. On the first floor, the requisite suite effect was achieved by turning three rooms into a walk-through wardrobe, bathroom and bedroom. Upstairs, the couple's daughters have pretty en-suite bathrooms; downstairs, there is an inviting family room and a shared study.

See:An 18th-century townhouse in the Cotswolds, dressed for Christmas

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

DRAWING ROOM

A real ottoman adds sumptuous colour, while mirrored inserts either side of the new fireplace amplify the sense of light and space.

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

HOME OFFICE

This shared space capitalises on the views of the garden, which wraps around the house adding to the air of rural peace.

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

KITCHEN

The bespoke cabinetry was designed to include contrasting finishes such as sliding glass doors and tongue-and-groove units, which conceal the kettle and coffee machine.

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

HOME OFFICE

The house was redesigned include peaceful corners to relax read in. Here, original, tall windows fill the space with natural light.

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

MASTER BATHROOM

A shapely but compact bath allowed spare in the design for a walk-in shower.

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

MASTER BEDROOM

The master suite has a walk-in wardrobe that connects the bathroom to the bedroom, which overlooks the garden.

Victorian rectory

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

Photography/ Mark Bolton