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Langstaff Ellis Case Study – Stunning Chelsea Home

Chelsea Luxury

One of the elements that sets us apart from our competitors is our desire to collaborate with outstanding designers. Working with interior and architectural designers challenges our own design skills and pushes us to develop exciting creative solutions that filter into our work for other clients.

We’ve been lucky therefore to work on a number of projects with renowned architectural and interior designers April Hamilton. For over 25 years April Hamilton have been creating remarkable interiors for a luxury client base from their design studio in Surrey and showroom in Chelsea Harbour.

April Hamilton’s values align very closely to our own, they appreciate that every project and every client is unique, that location and history can influence design and that every project is a blank canvas. Like Langstaff-Ellis they approach new projects with passion, enthusiasm and excitement, which is why we are always thrilled to work with their amazing creative team.

Stunning furniture for a stunning home

Our recent partnership on a stunning Chelsea townhouse is a wonderful example. While April Hamilton reengineered the interior, removing walls and reimagining spaces the Langstaff-Ellis team designed furniture solutions that perfectly enhance this luxury home.

One example of this is the full height shelving cabinets created for the lounge and finished in the same subtle grey as the surrounding walls. As with all of our designs we created a fully rendered 3D design that was in this case signed off by the April Hamilton interiors team prior to the build.

Cutting edge technology

One of the Langstaff-Ellis differentiators is that we do something special when it comes to using cutting edge technology, even when creating traditional looking designs. Because we have invested in smart technology we are able to cut incredibly precisely, something reflected in the precision joints of our furniture. Hence once a design is signed-off it can be fed directly into our high-spec CNC machinery.

This process gives us huge flexibility to produce designs that would be too time-consuming and costly to make the traditional way while facilitating quick production and premium level quality assurance.

While modern machinery provides cost savings, accuracy and consistency, this is anything but a production line because each project and each piece of furniture we make is unique. In fact, one of the major benefits is the ease with which bespoke pieces of furniture can be created from scratch.

What that means is that design challenges can be overcome before a single piece of timber has been cut. This was the case with one of the cabinets created for the Chelsea project. The challenge was to conceal a radiator beneath the cabinet without impairing its effectiveness, our solution was to design discreet ventilating louvre doors that look good and blend in as an integral piece of the overall design.

Our use of technology also gives us the ability to subtly adapt a design so for example, the corresponding cabinet in the roof terrace office is clearly part of the same family but has been altered to accommodate a built-in desk where the integrated TV previously sat.

Each of the cabinets is enhanced with subtle lighting cleverly fitted within routered grooves within the shelving, and all wiring neatly concealed from view. The lighting picks out the contrasting dark blue back panel of the cabinet, creating a pleasing piece just as April Hamilton envisaged.

Clever solutions

A further striking feature of the Chelsea project, and a challenge for us were the sliding mirrored doors fitted to replace a wall between the guest bedroom and newly created dressing room.

Where most joinery companies would install traditional doors, we saw this as an opportunity to use mirrors and sliding doors to give the impression of a much larger space while being far less intrusive.

The challenge most cabinetmakers face is with the weight of the mirror, which creates extra stresses on the joinery. Our sophisticated software means that we can test and model the design prior to building the door, including testing all the stresses, knowing the completed piece will work perfectly and will maintain its integrity over time. It also looks stunning especially with the neatly bevelled edge bringing a softer tactile level of detail.

Our collaboration with April Hamilton means that all the joinery in this beautiful Chelsea townhouse is finished to an exacting level of detail, helping create a home that is both luxurious and comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

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Leading the field in English interiors

A premium interiors company in the heart of the Chiltern Hills are the epitome of high-quality design and furniture making. Driven by a desire to create unique interiors for every client this blog explores the motivation behind Langstaff-Ellis, a very English company.

“We’re perched on top of a steep hill overlooking the Chilterns, there’s nowhere else in the world that looks like this, it is I suppose quintessentially English” so says Alex Langstaff-Ellis standing outside the factory and design studio his eponymous company has occupied since 2016.

The Chilterns are probably one of England’s most unexplored but beautiful regions, a 450 square mile expanse of rolling hills and characteristic beech woodland to the north of London, stretching from Hitchin in the east to Goring-on-Thames in the west, it is in many ways the ideal location for a premium English interiors company.

“Every morning as I drive up the hill, through the woods from Chinnor I appreciate the beauty of my surroundings,” says Alex “the way the light and the leaves change with the seasons is stunning, especially during Autumn when the experience of seeing the golden leaves all around is spectacular.”

Clearly Alex is a champion for the unique woodlands of the area, and it is that appreciation of the beauty of wood that informs both the customer service and English design aesthetic that pervades the interiors and stunning cabinetry created at Langstaff-Ellis.

“I like to think what sets us apart isn’t just our attention to detail, let’s face it every company will tell you that, but it’s the attitude we have towards the furniture we produce and towards our clients. I guess it’s that old fashioned sense of wanting to provide a perfect service, where the customer is happy at every step, but with the reassurance that we can back it up with knowledge, resources and skills as furniture makers.”

I suppose you could compare us to a bespoke Savile Row tailor. You don’t go there for the every day, but for something special, something unique perfectly suited to your needs, where you have design, material and colour options, and you know whatever gets made for you is created by experts and will fit perfectly”

Sitting in the design studio, the warm smell of cut wood pervading the atmosphere as the bustling workshop below goes about its highly skilled business, Alex warms to his theme,

“Think about classic British cars, Aston Martin or Bentley for example, even now they’re not showy, they’re understated but have an extraordinary elegance and build quality. We’re doing the same here in the Chilterns providing timeless understated elegance with extraordinary build quality, but in our case for homes.”

The quality of Langstaff-Ellis’s interiors is self-evident when you look at some of their recent projects, from the stunning modernist walnut cabinetry for a huge kitchen in Harpsden to the understated simplicity of the dressing and boot rooms for a manor house renovation in Stow-on-the-Wold.  That same elegance and extraordinary build quality can be seen throughout the Langstaff-Ellis portfolio.

Ed Birks the MD at Langstaff-Ellis and the man who guides the design and build process is equally proud of the classic English qualities of the businesses premium home interiors.

“We’ve evolved over the last few years,” he explains “as a young business we had to learn exactly what would set us apart from the artisan cabinet makers and kitchen companies. Where we are now is a completely different place, working at a fundamental level with clients, architects and interior designers to create unique home interiors.” Emphasising the point Ed goes on, “We’re there to fulfil a complete aesthetic vision for a home’s interior. That is why you now see our furniture in bedrooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms, lounges, dining rooms and utility rooms, alongside the kitchens.”

Our understanding of design brings a thematic unity throughout the home, in some ways you could say we’ve taken the idea of the traditional English country house as a model but crucially we’ve ditched the tired chintz and stiff formality, replacing it with modern design, finishes and materials to create a particular aesthetic.”

Supporting Langstaff-Ellis’s design vision is an impressive investment in both people and technology. As Alex will be the first to tell you, precision cutting and finishing machinery help to create much higher quality furniture with a build quality that is unachievable by hand alone.

“Even though we have nothing but admiration for traditional craftsmen, we realised early on that modern tools and techniques aligned to traditional skills allows us to deliver a much better product for our clients.”

For example, designs from the studio can be fed directly into our cutting machines, giving us precise control, without the inevitable variations even the best craftsmen create with hand tools. It’s one of the reasons why luxury developments use us, they know we’ll create beautiful precision furniture for every single home.”

Which isn’t to say the business doesn’t have superb craftsmen, in fact, the team in the workshop boast some impressive credentials from prestigious English furniture schools, including the renowned Rycotewood Furniture College just down the road in Oxford.

“It’s important for us to support locally trained people, we’re part of the community,” explains Ed, “but it’s not just altruism, having a workshop team who are skilled furniture makers in their own right, combined with the tech we use gives us the ability to create and deliver complex cutting-edge designs that both look impressive in the home and will stand the test of time.”

It’s a rewarding experience visiting the Langstaff-Ellis design studio and factory. The business has a refreshing openness and willingness to adopt the best of the new, in terms of technology, but combining it with old fashioned English values of customer service and understated design, along the way creating a stunning design aesthetic all of their own.

Unashamedly at the premium end of the market, Langstaff-Ells fully justify their reputation as one of England’s leading contemporary interior makers.

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Langstaff-Ellis Case Study: Home Cabinetry Henley-on-Thames

We know Langstaff-Ellis enjoys a great reputation for designing and building amazing kitchens, but many of our clients use our cabinetry skills to transform other parts of their homes. A recent project at a new development in Henley-on-Thames took in two home offices, a dressing room, bookcase/AV cabinet plus kitchen.

The development at Laureate Gardens on the site of the Victorian era workhouse takes in old and new buildings; Langstaff-Ellis have designed and built unique kitchens for all 34 homes. A number of the new owners have been so impressed by the quality of work in the kitchens they have commissioned the company to create bespoke interiors in other rooms.

In their new home in the Wordsworth building of the development our client recognised that working from home is now a fact of life. Therefore we were asked to design two separate offices, one to be fitted into a bedroom space and the other in a walk-in cupboard.

The apartment in the Victorian building has been sympathetically designed but because it is in an older building has very little uniformity in its walls, which meant we had to undertake a lot of complex 3D surveying in order to, get the precision in the designs we require.

In the larger office the main feature is a striking bookcase with spacious storage cupboards fitted beneath the antique beams of the end wall. The bookcase constructed from solid oak dovetail boxes is finished in a bold Royal Navy Blue from the Little Green Paint Company and a clear satin lacquer with industrial style handles from Buster + Punch.

In the same style the bespoke desk with side return fits cleverly into a corner, maximising the use of space. For extra comfort and a touch of luxury the solid oak worktop has a tactile Forbo linoleum inlay, making it a comfortable setting for all those Zoom calls.

The office in the smaller space was in many ways a more complicated piece of design and construction due to the constraints of the room. The Rock Maple doors, frames and full height cabinets with ovolo molding are finished in a light colour to generate a feeling of space, while the cabinets and shelving maximise storage space.

“What the photos don’t tell you is just how complicated this project was from a logistical point of view. Everything for both offices had to be carefully transported up two flights of stairs and constructed on site, however we’re really pleased with the results, they work perfectly in terms of form and function and most importantly as practical spaces for our client.” Ed Birks MD Langstaff-Ellis

Adjacent to the master bedroom the developer had left a blank space designed to be a walk-in wardrobe. Our client could see the potential and asked us to design a dressing room with spaces for his and her clothing and shoes.

To maximise the potential of the space we designed full height cabinets in a wood grain laminate, with a combination of push to open drawers and contrasting half and full height hanging spaces. To complete the dressing room we integrated lighting into the hanging rails and made life easier for our clients with pull-out trouser racks.

In the living room, we designed and built a full-height classical style bookcase and AV cabinet with hidden recesses for cabling, integrated lighting, and reflecting our client’s interests, specific shelving for their DVD collection.

Langstaff-Ellis had already built the kitchen in our client’s home but on moving-in they had some specific requirements. Therefore to complement the existing units we designed a bespoke sideboard cabinet and bar. Comprising dovetail drawer boxes for storage with a small Caple wine fridge and a beautifully executed oak wine rack, completed by a Carrara marble worktop the unit is a simple elegant solution that enhances the kitchen as a comfortable living space.

For Langstaff-Ellis the project has been incredibly rewarding but what we most enjoy is the satisfaction of our clients.

“We discussed our requirements for cabinetry with Langstaff-Ellis staff on site, and they then produced detailed design proposals within a short time. Their proposals were attractive and innovative and demonstrated that they had listened carefully to our requirements. They also responded rapidly to tweaks before producing the mutually agreed final designs and quotations. The company then provided a detailed timeline for the construction, delivery, and installation of the cabinetry. They duly delivered and installed all the items on time.

We are absolutely delighted with the quality and aesthetics of the cabinetry…Our overall impression of the company is that the staff were a delight to work with, and were very polite and thoroughly professional throughout the project.” Mr & Mrs M Henley-on-Thames

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

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A Day In The Life: Matt Crisp Workshop Supervisor

Having trained at the renowned Rycotewood Furniture College in Oxford and with experience gained at joinery and bespoke furniture makers, Matt joined Langstaff-Ellis in 2016, becoming Workshop Supervisor shortly afterwards.

8am: The whole team arrives early and we have a meeting first thing. As supervisor, I plan the schedule and allocate jobs. We normally have 3-4 projects on the go at any one time so the team have a good idea of what they are doing and where we are in any particular project, but it’s important for me to ensure we are running to schedule and that any questions raised are dealt with efficiently so we maintain our high standards at all times.

The morning meeting is an important part of our day, it’s not just about what we have to achieve that day but also our chance to discuss technical challenges and helps create a real team bond.

If we have a new project this is our chance to discuss the logistics, challenges and deadlines. What is lovely about making bespoke furniture is that no two jobs are the same so there is always something new to challenge our skills and get us thinking.

For example, I remember one of my early jobs at Langsatff-Ellis when we had to create some beautifully curved cabinets for a kitchen island. It took a lot of thinking and technical creativity beforehand to achieve the result the designers were asking for, but we were all so proud of the end result.

Since we’ve been all back in the workshop after lockdown the meetings are socially distanced which means a bit of shouting across the workshop at times but it all helps to create a bond between us and a real family atmosphere.

10am: I spend the morning going around each workbench to make sure everyone is happy and resolving any problems before getting back to my own bench.

I still enjoy the hands-on process of making a piece of furniture more than anything else, it gives me a real buzz to work with my hands creating something completely bespoke. These days I’m probably only hands-on 40% of the time but it always reminds me of why I love what I do.

We have a break at 10am for a cup of tea, which is always a good chance to have a chat and review what we’re all doing.

1pm: I enjoy the post tea break hours, it’s a really good chance to get my head down and concentrate on the work at hand. Right now I’m in the middle of making a whole library, it’s incredibly satisfying work and I know it will look stunning once its completed. These few hours always fly by for me but probably provide the biggest sense of achievement.

If we’re working on a big project such as the fabulous one we recently completed at Laureate Gardens in Henley there’ll be a real buzz in the workshop as we all apply ourselves to meet the deadline on time. I enjoy the sounds and smells of a busy workshop and couldn’t imagine sitting in an office!

Because we’re based in the middle of the countryside in the hills above Chinnor there aren’t many options for lunch so we’ll bring something in and sit at our benches. But again it’s a good opportunity to review progress and if necessary adjust the workflow to ensure the afternoon runs smoothly. There’s always some fun too and because my brother is now part of the team there’s quite a lot of humour in the workshop.

3pm: As the afternoon rolls on I like to check the progress of all the projects. We’re really proud of the quality of our furniture in the workshop so I’ll make sure everything is finished to the highest standard before it is wrapped ready for delivery to site.

Fortunately, I work with a great team of craftsmen and often my quality checks are more about admiring the excellence of the work than criticising it. It’s always a pleasure though when I can tick off a quality check on the system and pass a piece for delivery to site.

Unfortunately, I don’t get out to as many jobs to install the furniture now as I used to due to my role in the workshop, but when I do get on site it still gives me a real thrill to see the smiles on the faces of clients as they see the completed furniture in situ for the first time.

4pm: Towards the end of the day I check the progress of the work at every workbench to make sure we’re on track and to help plan the workflow for the following day.

This also tends to be the time when we’re loading vans ready for delivery the next day, and as a lot of our pieces are pretty large and sometimes quite heavy we have all hands on deck – the last thing we want to do is damage something so it’s important to be extra cautious and treat our work as precious cargo.

The last task I have each day is to make sure the whole workshop and every workstation is clean and tidy with tools put away and dust and shavings swept up. If the workshop is neat and tidy it’s so much easier to start the following day.

If it’s a Friday we finish at 4 o’clock, which is a really great way to start the weekend, otherwise we’re in the workshop until five. Often there’ll be some planning to do at the end of the day and I’ll have discussions with the designers, all of which puts us in a good place to start efficiently the following morning.

Everyone in the workshop is really proud of what we do, it’s such a satisfying job seeing something you’ve created as a team take shape. Knowing your contribution is valued both within the company and by the clients is really rewarding.

5pm: Once I’ve left for the day I’ll go out and enjoy the local woods and hills on my mountain bike if the weather is good, or I’ll do some work on the classic VW Golf I’m restoring, all of which clears my mind and helps prepare me for the following day creating high-quality bespoke furniture back in the workshop.

For more information about creating bespoke furniture for your home please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.