Open House: journalist Vishaka Robinson on her renovated Georgian flat, and the best things to do in Bath
In our ‘Open House’ series, we meet the owners of some of our homes for sale to get a feel for life in the space and what the local area has to offer.
Here, journalist Vishaka Robinson invites us into her refurbished apartment in a Georgian townhouse and tells us about the best things to do in Bath.
Vishaka: “We’d been living in New York for four years and had decided to come back to the UK. We’d fallen in love with Bath, having visited when we were in our twenties.
“But we lived in London first when we came back from the States and house-hunted for a year before making the move west. I think it was because we wanted something that was a total contrast to the places we had been living. It was a real shot in the dark though because we didn’t have any friends or family here.
“We fell for this apartment because the location was so amazing – it’s right in the middle of town. But because we’re on a tiny cul-de-sac, it feels very quiet.
“We’re also right next to the entrance to Victoria Park, which is the area’s biggest public park, a five-minute walk to the Royal Crescent and a 15-minute walk to the train station – so London and Bristol are easy for day trips and everywhere is walkable.
“We love living in Bath. It’s an incredibly friendly city, with the easygoing vibe of a country village. It also manages to look beautiful even on the most miserable January day.
“Being in the middle of town means there are a ton of great places on your doorstep. Colonna & Small’s is my favourite coffee shop – I can see it from my kitchen window. They’ve won countless awards and they do a killer slice of carrot cake.
“Beckford Bottle Shop is a candle-lit wine bar and restaurant, which is great for a cosy dinner. Tivoli, Bath’s newest independent cinema, blows away the competition – there are four screens and the seating in each is all on vast golden, velvet sofas. Plus you can order burgers and cocktails to your seat.
“Landrace Bakery is my go-to bakery. It’s small but they’ve managed to get a big family-style table in the middle and the bread is insanely good – they grind the flour themselves. Five minutes’ from our door is Mr B’s Emporium Bookshop, which is fabulous and has just doubled in size thanks to a crowd-funding scheme.
“And then there are creative initiatives like Always Sunday House, which is a magical events space on Bathwick Hill that hosts dinners, classes and drinks parties.
“Having lived in quite hectic, busy cities before, you’d think that coming here would feel like there was less to do but actually, because the whole city is easy to navigate and access, there actually feels like there is more to do here, strangely.
“Bath is also within hitting distance from Bath there are places like Frome and Bruton, home of both Hauser & Wirth art gallery and dreamy interiors store Caro. Of course, there are heaps of great things to do in Bristol (we love the newly revamped Wapping Wharf area) and loads of beautiful National Trust places like Dyrham Park and Prior Park.
“Stepping inside, I was attracted to this flat because of how amazing the light is. Our building is on a little hill and, because we’re on the top two floors, it feels like a house in the sky.
“One side gets all the morning light, and the other gets all the afternoon sun. So, during the day, even in the middle of winter, we rarely turn on the lights.
“Everywhere we viewed in comparison just didn’t have such a spot-on location and felt a bit dark. When we walked in here and saw the huge 12-panel window that sits above our entrance we thought yes, this is it.
“Even though it’s a flat, it feels like a good-sized family house. A lot of houses in Bath have very gloomy kitchens because they’re either in the basement or built into the side of a hill, so our place has the benefits of being a flat but spatially feels like a house.
“We’re here all the time. The big change for us was that we used to have a typical layout with a small galley kitchen at the back. We moved the kitchen to the front of the house, which is where all the morning sun comes through.
“It’s a big open-plan kitchen/dining room, and is a great space to have people over for lazy Sunday dinners. The flat can also fit in a pretty sizable party – I think we had more than 50 people here for Christmas drinks.
“We’ve really enjoyed reconfiguring the flat and I think we’re just ready to do another project, and potentially do something really modern. We have two young kids, Olive, six, and Ruby, three, so it would be nice to find some outdoor space for them. I think what we’ll find difficult is replicating some of the things we love about the flat in the new place.
“Home for me is somewhere you can be completely yourself, somewhere you feel at peace. I’m going to really miss this place. It’s been so great to live so centrally because we always have people passing through, popping up for tea – so I’ll miss that.”