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28th August 2008

LASSCO, in the News Again!

Posted in: LASSCO News

And this time it was our very own Archie Mackie, quoted in The Guardian 'Weekend' magazine on 16th August 2008. 

In fact, we thought the article so helpful, here it is in full: 

Scrubs up nicely by Charlotte Abrahams,

Is you bathroom a boring white box? Then go vintage with reclaimed tubs, antique furniture and quirky accessories.

Bathrooms tend to go two ways: matching white units, or hotel-style wet rooms. But there is a third way  – vintage. Quirky, ecologically and economically sensible, the junk-shop look works well in the bathroom: think distressed walls, wooden floors and an eclectic selection of freestanding furniture, accessories and industrial lighting.

Look everywhere: secondhand shops, vintage and salvage specialists, high street stores (for reproductions). And be creative. "Use coarse old linen as bath mats and wooden washing dollies as loo roll holders, " says Sally Bailey, from vintage store Baileys Homes And Garden.

"many old fittings are better quality than new and will outlast them," says Thornton Kay, founder of salvage directory Salvo. "And old kit will hold its price better: if you fit a £5,000 new bathroom it will depreciate, whereas an old bathroom done well will go up in value. And reuse is very sensible – we throw aweay more sanitary ware now than ever before."

There are downsides: vintage plumbing is often incompatible with modern systems and, while evidence of wear and tear is part of the look's appeal, you need to be sure you're looking at charming distress rather than actual damage.

One way to avoid the pitfalls is to buy from a specialist dealer, who will refurbish pieces. Prices vary considerably but, according to Archie Mackie, bathroom manager of reclamation store LASSCO, you should be prepared to pay more than £1,000 for a restored vintage bath, basin or loo. Which isn't cheap (especially when you can pick up an unrestored kit for next to nothing) but skimping on the refit is a false economy. A vintage bath cheaply restored looks scruffy rather than chic and might leave you with expensive problems ranging from flaking enamel to leaks.

Whichever look you go for, do your research first. We've put together a quick guide to get you started.

1) Start with the bath – it's the focal point of the room.

2) Plan ahead: with freestanding, mismatched furniture, make sure you have all the dimensions before work starts, so they can be incorporated into design plans early on.

3) Antique earthenware and cast iron baths are extremely heavy, especially when they're full of water, so make sure your ceilings can take the weight before making any purchase.

4) Ask whether or not vintage taps have been refurbished and tested. Unrestored taps may be cheap but it could cost you several hundred pounds to have them reconditioned before you can use them. And check they fit the holes in your basin or bath, and that the spout fits comfortably over the edge.

5) Don't forget that old sanitary ware doesn't come with manuals, so always employ a vintage-friendly plumber and bfore you start tell him/her that you're planning to use old fixtures and fittings.

6) Consider a wooden floor – if the boards aren't worth restoring, then paint them (try Farrow & Ball's Hardwick White or Blue Gray floor paint, 01202 876141,

7) Check for cracks and crazing. Crazed vitreous china is fine but steer clear of crazed earthenware and anything resembling a proper crack.

8) Don't use acidic or citrus-based cleaning products or old enamelled bathware. Astonish, a putty-based cleaner, is a good alternative (£1.50/500g tub, from Lakeland, 015394 88100,