Bathrooms Kipling Style

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November 15, 2018 by kittynh

I have to admit that my “time travel vacation” to the Kipling home in Vermont, was so overwhelming and truly perfect, that it is going to take me time to write ALL about it.

I can’t just break it down into days.


In the servants area, a large bathroom at the end of the hall.

Each day was, long in the most wonderful kind of way.  The days were not filled with sitting and reading in a quiet corner.  The days were filled with the fun of living in the “past”.  This included talking with friends.  Exploring the house.  Exploring the grounds.

Learning to play billiards.

I have to break up the visit into some of the highlights. Also some of the differences in life THEN vs. NOW that made this feel like a true time travel vacation.


Three bathrooms, but all up a lot of stairs!


Naulakha has bathrooms any modern house would envy.  They were spacious, beautiful, and a trifle confusing.  This made taking a bath, or even using the toilet, an adventure.


Is the tank wooden? Look inside.

There are three bathrooms, but they are all on the second floor.  Remember the stairs in this home with high ceilings are a story and a half of stairs!


Copper inside!

When indoor modern bathrooms were a “new thing”, bathrooms were relegated to the second floor.  I imagine having a bathroom downstairs was like having an outhouse in your home.  Besides, what was a flight of stairs compared to going outside in a snowstorm to use an outhouse?  So while Naulakha has some of the most lovely bathrooms I’ve ever seen, you have to “work out” to use them.


Before toilet paper on rolls, people used scrap paper in holders.


Everyone that stayed began to take the time before going downstairs to think “Wait, do I have to use the bathroom? Perhaps I had better go anyway, just to make sure.”


Also, I forgot to tell my friend Andrew that there were no first floor bathrooms.  He spent perhaps 15 minutes going through the entire downstairs looking for a bathroom.  It does make modern sense that there SHOULD be a bathroom somewhere on the first floor.

Then there was, “How does this toilet flush?” While two of the toilets are easy to figure out, the one that adjoined my bedroom was confusing.  I just ended up pushing and pulling all the knobs.

Speaking of toilets, my friends that are engineering minded all had to check out what appears to be wooden tanks.  They found the toilet tanks were lined with copper.  Also wooden toilet seats.  The bathroom that would have been used by the servants, and in the servants area, was beautifully tiled.  The other bathrooms have wood floors and all the bathrooms had windows.


Taking a bath, old school style

Kipling planned for almost every room in the house to have a beautiful view of the mountains.  That included the bathrooms.

Let’s talk bathtubs.  I luxuriated in a hot bath every evening.  The cast iron tubs held the heat for long soaks.  The only confusion was with the hardware.  Once that was figured out, the water perfect.


I was not brave enough to attempt a shower.  I had no clue what “Shampoo” meant, but it seems to mean that the spray nozzle for rinsing your hair was controlled by that knob.


Not really shampoo…

What I enjoyed was that these rooms were large sized and the bath tubs were for soaking and relaxing.  New hotels offer large showers, but for me if I’ve had a busy day, I want a long soak in a tub.  These were tubs that even President Taft might have enjoyed.


The best part about Naulaka is that for an older home, there were enough bathrooms for the up to eight people that can spend the night there.


Also a mystery was solved for me.  Many older books I read talk about how rude it is to take a shower after people have gone to sleep. I was confused as if I take a bath or shower at night, if it is far enough away from people sleeping no one is going to wake up.


Modern baths do make a little bit of noise.  But historic bathtubs make a LOT OF NOISE.  The books always mention when the water is draining out of the tub.  That is indeed when an older bath tub will make a LOT OF NOISE.

The bathrooms are just one reason staying at Naulaka is a wonderful experience.  If the bathrooms had been modernized, it would be just staying at a very nice home.  The fun of actually using these bathrooms, that were state of the art at their time, gives you a true feeling of being Mr.Kipling’s guest.



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