Case Study: Railway House, York
Feb 12, 2024
When the team from York-based self-catering accommodation specialists Chateau Anna embarked on their most ambitious project to date - the total renovation of a beautiful period property into eight high-end holiday apartments - they contacted Bert & May to help bring the space to life. Here, Chateau Anna’s interior stylist, Lucy Seddon, shares the story behind creating Railway House, one of the city’s most stylish new places to stay.
Name: Lucy Seddon
What is Railway House?
Railway House is a collection of eight beautifully styled, self-catered apartments in the heart of York.
How did you come across the building?
We happened upon the building after searching within the local area and realising its potential, as well as initially noticing how beautiful it was.
What state was it in when you first bought it?
The building had been used as offices for 25 years, so it was clean, dry and structurally sound, but just needed some TLC. The original ceilings were all so high, and the space just had so much potential to be redesigned.
What was your vision?
We wanted to reimagine the space and create individual, beautifully designed holiday home apartments. Having the eight apartments all on one site meant were able to make something a little bit different by creating a destination.
Please share the renovation process…
We started the rip-out of the building in October 2022, and completed the project in August 2023. It was an incredibly stressful year and consumed all of our time, efforts and energy.
We removed a ceiling on the first floor to replicate the main staircase up to the second floor, we built walls, created new spaces and carried out extensive ground works. We also designed all the interiors, added new coving and skirting boards throughout. We used some traditional beaded panelling on the ground and first floors and chose contrasting wooden cladding for the basement and the second-floor rooms.
We chose a paint colour palette to work across the eight apartments and selected all the furniture and lighting from multiple suppliers. There were so many decisions to make on a daily basis, but we are so pleased with the result.
Which Bert & May products have you used and why?
We used Bert & May tiles in each of the property’s 13 bathrooms. As the spaces will have a lot of use, we chose porcelain tiles as they’re easy to maintain. We also tried to pick designs that would have longevity.
In addition to the tiles, we purchased a 750kg reclaimed marble bath from Bert & May, which we have installed in one of our one-bedroom apartments. It’s a definite showstopper, mounted on Bert & May bejmat tiles with Little Greene Nether Red painted on the walls. It took a total of 10 men to get the bath into the building, along with a stone mason from York Minster to help install it. I always said it would be worth it, and it most definitely is.
Our favourite tile has become the Blue Bolonia Porcelain - the pattern is gorgeous and creates such a warm interior teamed with brushed brass hardware. We love it so much we’re planning it into our new bathroom at home!
What do the tiles add to the property?
They add so much personality to the spaces. Using different tiles in each bathroom has meant that the apartments stand out from each other and also means there’s something for everyone when they’re making a booking. The bath plinths in the bedroom create eye-catching spaces which are incredibly inviting. I also loved the fact that the tiles worked so well with the Little Greene paint palettes, which was very helpful in the design process.
How did you hear about us?
I have admired Bert & May for a while now. I have the Luna tiles on the step going into my shop.
Were there any particularly stressful moments during the renovation?
There were so many I could write a book! As with any renovation, especially on this scale, it comes with the territory. Things don’t go to plan, resolutions must be found, occasional compromises and continual perseverance is required. As we have learnt, it’s certainly not for the faint hearted.
How do you feel about the finished space?
We are thrilled with the overall finish, and often step back and think ‘wow, we actually created this!’. It’s wonderful to now see the spaces being enjoyed by guests from all corners of the world. We put our hearts and souls into this project, and guests recognise that which is really lovely.
Have you had any customer feedback yet?
We have received an incredible amount of positive feedback which we are very grateful for. People do genuinely love the spaces and feel they are a home away from home. Our main aim was to create something different that wasn’t already available, and the recognition of this from guests makes all the stress worthwhile. Since opening properly in September 2023, we’ve already had repeat customers which is wonderful. We have also had a celebrity stay, and the BBC have used the gardens for filming.
What’s next for the Chateau Anna team?
We are taking some time to reset and recover from this project. We also want to make sure that Railway House is running to its best potential. We are currently adding a couple of new facilities too, including a yoga studio with a beautifully branded mural on the wall, and a sauna.