Former public toilet transformed into smart one-bedroom flat

Sarah Coles
Rose Cottage
Rose Cottage

An abandoned former public toilet in Reading has been snapped up for £85,000 and transformed into a modern one-bedroom property. The open-plan home boasts a kitchen, lounge area, double bedroom and an en-suite bathroom, and the owner is hoping to rent it out for £1,300. But it begs the question of whether people really want to live in a former toilet?

According to Get Reading, inside the transformation is dramatic, and all evidence of cubicles and fittings has been wiped away. Outside retains a 1930s feel - reflecting the building's history not only as a public toilet, but before that as a ticket office for the local train station.

The kitchen of the converted toilet block
The kitchen of the converted toilet block

The home doesn't have a garden or off-street parking, but comes with the big advantage that all bills are included in the monthly rent.

The owner told the Daily Mail that the property - which he has renamed Rose Cottage - has already had a handful of viewings, and he expects it to be snapped up soon.
New life for a pubic toilet

It may not be immediately obvious why anyone would want to live in a former toilet, but the move is actually becoming increasingly popular. With councils battling with shrinking budgets, more and more public conveniences are being closed down because they cannot afford to maintain them.

Instead of leaving them to rot, they are being sold at auction to enterprising individuals who see them as a cheap way to acquire property - much of which is in a desirable location.

In March last year we reported on the couple who had transformed a Victorian toilet block by the sea in Sherringham, Norfolk, into a luxury holiday home. The owner apparently bought it for his wife as a 30th birthday present for £104,000 - and then spent £85,000 transforming it into a holiday property known as the Wee Retreat.

Pioneers have been doing this for a few years now. In 2010 Tracy Woodhouse and her partner Graham Peck transformed a run-down Victorian WC overlooking North Bay at Scarborough. The former gents toilet is now the lounge, and the ladies is the bedroom and en-suite.

Even the most uninspiring former toilets are enjoying a new lease of life as private homes. Architect Laura Clark moved into a former underground toilet in Crystal Palace a few years ago. She said when she told people what she planned to do they were horrified: not only because it was underground, but also because it offered just 600 square feet of living space. However, careful planning means she has transformed it into a bright, modern home.

Clearly total transformation is not only possible, but it can also be a great way to find affordable property in unusual places. The question is whether you would mind living in a former public toilet.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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