Langstaff-Ellis Case Study: Laureate Gardens Henley-on-Thames

Prestigious development in the heart of Henley

Located in the heart of Henley-on-Thames Laureate Gardens is a prestige development of 34 homes aimed at over 55’s based around the Grade II listed workhouse dating from 1790.

This development comprises 3 historic buildings and a contemporary new build, each with their own design challenges for the developers, architect and kitchen designers. Fortunately, a harmonious collaboration has resulted in beautiful exteriors and interiors with 34 individually designed kitchens by Langstaff-Ellis.

“We were originally contacted to help develop the kitchen concept by the developer, Amber Infrastructure, to ensure style and materials would be appropriate for the heritage of the buildings. Once the preconstruction stages were completed we were asked to create unique designs for each kitchen in the development and, as some of the homes were sold off-plan, we later created fully customised designs for six of the buyers.” – Ed Birks, MD Langstaff-Ellis

Collaboration; bringing the architects vision to life

As the layout and interior of each home within the historic buildings is unique Langstaff-Ellis worked alongside Nick Baker Architects to create spaces that enhanced the heritage features while creating contemporary open plan living areas.

“For the historic buildings we based the designs around a shaker style in-frame product, while the new build apartments accommodate a minimalist modern design, taking into account the ergonomics of the spaces and the demographic of the residents.” – Ed Birks, MD Langstaff-Ellis

The contemporary kitchens in the new build known as Masefield House have been designed to fit in with the comfortable luxurious aesthetic of the apartments, comprising a modern uncluttered flat panel design utilising oak channels behind doors to allow easy opening. The whole space being softened by a freestanding island and solid wood detailing contrasting with minimalist marble surfaces a bora hob and integrated Siemens oven stack.

The three other buildings within the development all have historic provenance, Austin Mews, now a complex of three 2-bedroom cottages dates from 1886 and was originally the women’s infirmary for the town. Tennyson House is the Grade II listed Victorian schoolhouse from 1872 now comprising eight 2-bedroom apartments and finally Wordsworth Court also Grade II listed comprising 15 new houses was the town’s workhouse before ultimately becoming Townlands Hospital at the birth of the NHS.

Developers & kitchen designers working in harmony

Each building presented challenges for the kitchen designers with very high specifications demanded by the developers and each home having its own unique dimensions. However Amber’s faith in Langstaff-Ellis was rewarded with the instillation of over 30 different complete customised high-end kitchens, within budget and to a tight timescale.

“When you work with a contractor for the first time there is always a bit of trepidation, you hope you’ve made the right decision and that the supplier is up to the task. In the case of Langstaff-Ellis we were blown away by their professionalism and the quality of their work. Asking a business to design, make and install 34 different kitchens in a new development was always going to be challenging, but when it is in a development combining new build and heritage buildings the challenge is multiplied.

The team from Langstaff-Ellis completely exceeded our expectations with their ability to create a variety of high-spec designs, finished and installed to an extremely high standard, all within our exacting deadlines. We’ve developed a valuable relationship and are looking forward to working with them on future projects.” – Ben Tanner Amber Developments

Bespoke design features

The kitchens within Wordsworth Court, Tennyson House and Austin House are based on contemporary in-frame shaker style cabinets made using traditional methods but spray finished to bring them up-to-date.

Created to be liveable and used, the kitchens incorporate subtle under pelmet lighting, integrated fridge freezers, integrated waste systems, boiling water taps, oven stacks, spacious larder units and Bora down draught hobs in the islands. These are especially impressive as they remove the need for ugly extractor units and associated ducting.

As the project progressed Langstaff-Ellis worked with a number of the off-plan purchasers to create individual kitchens to their specifications, introducing new designs, materials, worktops and appliances to meet their preferences.

“One of the big pluses of the systems we use is that essentially we could build a product unique to the development. I’m not aware of many other cabinet makers who have that capability.” – Ed Birks, MD Langstaff-Ellis

Handcrafted interiors for individual clients

At this stage, many clients then asked the company to design and build a range of other cabinetry for rooms throughout the home, including dressing rooms, bedroom cabinets, home offices, utility rooms, a/v cabinets and boot cabinets to complete homes in a uniform style prior to moving in.

Langstaff-Ellis is uniquely placed to work with individual clients, developers and architects on projects such as Laureate Gardens. With modern CAD systems able to translate designs into precisely cut cabinetry completed by craftsmen, the company can quickly respond to differing needs while retaining quality, aesthetic and cost control.

For more information about working with Langstaff Ellis to design a perfect kitchen or integrating our designs into your development please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.