Lympstone Manor

Waterproofing a West Country Vision

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All images © Mark Ashbee

In looking for a full tanking solution for the ensuite bathrooms of renowned chef Michael Caines’ dream project, stone specialists Devon Stone elected to use various forms of the multi-functional tile backerboard Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD.


The project took a Grade II listed Georgian manor house and converted it into a striking contemporary country house hotel with 21 guestrooms. As well as gourmet cuisine and luxurious yet subtle interiors, Lympstone Manor has pride of place overlooking the Exe estuary, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the wildlife it supports.

Area: Bathrooms (Floors and Walls)
Action: Providing a smooth and waterproof substrate for marble

The challenge
The house had been in a gradual state of deterioration since the early 20th century. It was purchased by Michael Caines in 2014, with the intention that it would become his flagship establishment. Aware of the impending project, JAM Interiors (T/A Devon Stone) contacted interior designers Meraki, who had put together sumptuous high-end designs for the bathrooms of the project. These designs had been signed off by Michael Caines, but the structure as it stood was unable to support them. “It was very quirky, with not a straight or upright wall in sight”, says Simon Willmott of Devon Stone, “This character was coupled with extreme water sensitivity due to the amount of lime present in the property”.

Through Meraki, Devon Stone made contact with Rud Sawer Architects, who were seeking to offer reduced costs for the client due to the impact of unforeseen works. They were looking to achieve a waterproof assembly for floors and walls that came in at the right budget, but that also avoided compromising the premium quality that had already been benchmarked. In addition, the solution needed to bear in mind the ability of a listed and less than ideal structure to support the weight of the proposed marble and travertine coverings. The final requirement was to address the irregular surfaces of walls and variations in floor level throughout the project.

The solution
Rud Sawer Architects were originally looking at using plywood over studs to bring everything level and square and allow for mechanical fixing of the coverings, but were conscious that this alone wasn’t a suitable substrate for tile and stone installation in wet areas.

This led to two thicknesses of the multi-functional backerboard, Schlüter®-KERDI-BOARD, being used in the project. In one solution, this solved the main issues raised in conversation.

“Given the nature of the project, if water had managed to cause an issue, it would have cost a considerable amount to put right”, says Simon Willmott, Sales Director at Devon Stone, “We needed a reliable solution and in our eyes there was no other option better for the job than Schlüter; their product knowledge and expertise is unrivalled in the UK”.

Product usage
The proposed plywood was eliminated completely from the wall assembly, being replaced by KERDI-BOARD in a thickness of 12.5mm. Floors within the project were constructed of 18mm plywood, lined with a mix of 5mm and 12.5mm KERDI-BOARD, depending upon floor heights. All boards were then sealed with KERDI-KEBA and KERDI-COLL-L to form a fully waterproof base for the high calibre materials that were being installed, which included Crema Marfil, Estromoz and Nero Marquina marble, as well as Peruvian travertine, all in 600 x 600 x 20mm sizings.

Devon Stone also made use of specialist KERDI-BOARD variant, Schlüter®-KERDI-BOARD-V, to waterproof the curved shower walls that were a feature in some of the bathrooms. This product features pre-cut grooves that allow for the quick creation of a smooth curved surface that is ready for tile or stone to be installed upon.

Cost and weight savings achieved
By eliminating plywood from the wall assembly, costs were reduced by a significant percentage; use of KERDI-BOARD vs the original plywood solution proposed saved 11.7kg of weight per sq.m and produced a cost saving in excess of £16.00 per sq.m (totalling over £8000 across a total area of just over 500sq.m). It also offered a reduced installation time and negated the need for a separate tanking layer. The solution is also now a standard specification across Devon Stone’s bathroom and wetroom projects.

In the case of Lympstone Manor, KERDI-BOARD aided the creation of bathrooms that will support and protect an exquisite and highly personal accomplishment.

For more information on how Schlüter-Systems can help with your tile and stone projects, call 01530 813396 or email

Devon Stone are specialists in the supply, specification and installation of natural stone. For more information, visit

All images © Mark Ashbee

All images © Mark Ashbee

All images © Mark Ashbee


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