Vital Interiors: It Had to Be the. Rail Thing; Jim Allan's Bathroom Is a Very Stylish, Split-Level Affair with Train Tracks Running around the Roof, Writes PAM WILSON

Article excerpt

Byline: PAM WILSON

WHEN visitors to Jim Allan's Glasgow home ask if they can use the bathroom, they tend to disappear for some time. Not because the Queen's Park house is particularly large, or that they have many flights of stairs to negotiate, but because Jim's bathroom features two electric trains that speed hypnotically around the walls.

Electronics engineer Jim says: 'The trains are activated by the light switch, so they come as a bit of a surprise.

'It's amusing seeing how different people react some laugh, the occasional person has been known to scream and most females do a fair amount of head shaking.'

As is the case with many of Jim's grand plans, inspiration for this electric dream came to him in the pub during a quiet drink with partner Gayle.

He says: 'We were discussing ideas for the flat in the front bar of The Granary in Shawlands. Suddenly, this train started whirring around a shelf above our heads and I couldn't take my eyes off it.

'By the time we'd finished our drink, the plan for the bathroom was taking shape nicely with a bit of fine-tuning made on the walk home to include a tunnel through the wall to the kitchen.'

Never one to shirk from a challenge, Jim threw himself into refurbishment of his dated bathroom with gusto over the following weeks re-instating cornicing and building a split-level floor to help counteract the narrowness of the room.

Out came the old, stained plastic bath and in went a freshly-enamelled original roll-top complemented rather stylishly by a Philippe Starck basin and particularly stunning taps. But even as he wrestled with plumbing systems, baths and new flooring, trains were still uppermost on Jim's mind.

He meticulously planned how he could achieve the contemporary, streamlined track he dreamed of. After much careful drilling of tunnels and countersinking of brackets, it was time to paint the entire room white, add some ambient lighting and arrange for the track shelves to be made.

'I took wooden templates round to a firm called A McKee Glass in Paisley who did a top job,' says Jim. …