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We caught up with Martin ahead of the show to explore the bath yard and find out more about these intriguing pieces...
Can you tell us a little about your bath ‘graveyard’?
The bath graveyard is in essence a field full of antique baths which we have rescued from various situations and settings. The yard evolved from me collecting a few antique baths - I love the variety of shapes and styles and draw inspiration from the different designs. Customers can even come down and sit in the baths and try them out. Many years ago I had Lord and Lady Christie from Glyndebourne come down to try a bath for their en suite bathroom; they loved two of the antique baths and could not decide which one to have, so bought both!
Do you think experiencing the baths first is in important part of the buying process?
I think that people should always try a bath before buying it, as some are more obviously comfortable than others. If I could offer advice to anyone deciding on the right bath for them and their setting, I would say do not always choose on the style alone. The decision of buying any interior product which is intended to be a permanent part of the home should not be made lightly – it’s not like accessories or free standing furniture which can be changed much more easily.
Where do you source the antique baths from?
Now that would be telling! Some of them have come from Royal Palaces and stately homes, so have a great provenance. I can remember buying a couple of the baths over 20 years ago and carrying them downstairs ourselves from their original home – not an easy feat by any means but definitely worth it.
How do you restore the baths?
We restore them using our Bath Shield enamelling system, which we developed 30 Years ago. I actually did the enamelling myself for a few years when I first started the brand. For me, the most important aspect of restoration is to ensure that the baths are functional for modern bathrooms but still retain their original aesthetic appeal.
How did your passion for antique baths evolve into Chadder manufacturing new pieces?
Having started purchasing antique baths over 30 years ago I have a passion for timeless pieces, but I soon realised that each year they would get harder and harder to source –a challenge which unfortunately comes with the territory of antique dealership. That was when I decided to recreate my own range of baths which I moulded from antique baths in my own private collection. This is how the “Chadite" composite material evolved, which enables us to ensure the baths look and feel like the original antique, but have the contemporary advantages of being warm to touch and only weighing 90kg as opposed to the cast iron antiques well over 190kg.
Do you see restoration of antique items playing a part in the future of luxury?
Most definitely. Antique items will always have a part to play in the luxury industry, both with their inclusion in projects and also as inspiration for future designs. My son Sam Chadder has now taken over this side of the business, and he has become our resident expert on the acquisition and restoration of these beautiful baths. Alongside this, Sam also designs and produces a beautiful range of Mosaic Baths, which are each completely bespoke one off pieces, and are future classics in their own right.