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Contemporary Conservation: The Limes Case Study

In a quiet Oxford street close to the River Cherwell and Wolfson College resides The Limes a stunning Arts and Crafts era villa. The house and grounds have recently been completely renovated, extended and modernised by award winning architects Anderson Orr who turned to Langstaff-Ellis to fulfil their exacting requirements for a unique and stunning interior.

Ed Birks, MD of Langstaff-Ellis explains the collaboration.

“In a highly ambitious project, we were proud to work once more with a practice that shares our ethos creating solutions to meet their clients’ aspirations with timeless, inspiring design.

“The commission involved all the major rooms of the house, with a combination of bespoke integrated and free standing furniture that reflects the life styles and artistic vision of the clients, within the architectural language developed by Anderson Orr.”

At the heart of the home is a fine library containing the client’s comprehensive collection of literature and poetry. Full height shelving and base cabinets are created from solid oak with oak veneer in a smoky black oak finish. Within the shelves we have incorporated subtle touches such as the sliding desk drawer on which to rest a book for casual browsing. Industrial style Armac Martin brass handles give the cabinet drawers a contemporary finish.

Most striking of all is the unique doorway; within the deep door lining we have engraved quotes from the client’s favourite poets, including Tennyson, T.S. Elliot, Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. Picked out in gold lacquer the profound quotes provide an insight into the client’s thinking and an impressive entranceway to the library. Please see the images below.

The bedrooms and dressing rooms have been given similar attention to detail. Wardrobes, dressing tables and chests of drawers have a clean beaded design in a number of complementary styles ranging from integrated full height units to free standing wardrobes and chests. Concealed lighting is integral to the sweeping full height units, picking out the beautiful shade of the aromatic Cedar of Lebanon used in the dovetail drawer boxes and wardrobe backs.

Bespoke cabinetry in the bathrooms continue the theme in the upper floors with subtle grey beaded panels evoking the arts and crafts feel of the home, used for the bath surround and integrated cupboards.

Downstairs the functional boot room is fully kitted out with spray finished storage and hanging space, using a custom hanging rail beneath artfully finished beech storage boxes and veneered solid oak drawers.

In the lounge there is an unusual cupboard unit that hovers above the floor. Its simple, elegant white finish conceals a frameless design more often seen in kitchen wall mounted cabinets but make it a focal point in a reception room.

Within the dining room we have built a modern take on the traditional dresser. Flat fronted and spray finished in graphite grey the large unit boasts three layers of glass shelving behind six tall doors and 18 panes of glass. The back is finished in solid oak that features integrated lighting to highlight the objects within.

“This was an incredibly satisfying if complex project, there was so much going on in the house that we eventually created furniture for every room.” Comments Ed

“The dresser is a lovely piece of furniture and once we’d finished the initial commission through Anderson Orr it was gratifying to be commissioned by the client to create some additional pieces, hence there is a whole range of free standing tables and side tables throughout the home that complement our other work and the house itself.”

Creating elegant interiors for every room of the home is just one of the areas that Langstaff-Ellis specialises in. They are amongst the few English furniture makers that have the design, build and service skills to fulfil large scale commissions from architects, interior designers and clients with the ambition to create unique interiors. 

To discover how Langstaff-Ellis can help fulfil your interiors vision please contact us using the details below.

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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: Enhancing a Home Gym Maidenhead

If you’re fortunate to have a gym space in your home one of the enduring problems is how to store the small everyday pieces of equipment so they are accessible but not untidy. For our client in Maidenhead the answer was to design a fully integrated wall sized storage, display and AV unit.

Working out in the Covid-19 era has become a real home based occupation, many people have invested in large items of equipment while online cycling, yoga and even rowing workouts have really taken off. However, hooking up a computer and having cables trailing across the floor while trying to watch a small screen doesn’t make for an ideal exercise environment.

While our client’s dedicated space is a superb area for online and other workouts with ample room for free weights, yoga, stretching and dance, there was no storage space for items such as boxing gloves, yoga mats and cycling shoes.

As an enthusiastic collector of sports memorabilia too, solving the gym storage issue would also provide an elegant answer for displaying parts of the collection.

The designers at Langstaff-Ellis created a solution combining a complete wall sized storage, display and AV unit with ample cupboard space, shelving and an integrated large-screen TV. The floor to ceiling unit, measuring 6mx2.5m takes up one whole wall, wrapping around the doorway to create a stunning yet practical piece of furniture.

Framing the unit is full height pull out storage at either end, with simple cupboards stretching across the top. Shelving and a large-screen smart TV sit below with easy access cupboards flowing across the bottom.

Finished in complementary textures of high quality designer laminate from Xylocleaf with anthracite metal fabric backs to the shelves, the unit is accessorised with beautiful Buster + Punch handles.

Cabling is hidden within the cabinet to enhance the clean lines, complemented by downlighting in the shelves and discreet LED uplights at celling height.

Since completion the unit is now used every day as a fully functioning part of our clients home gym experience. Equipment is easily stored after use, online workouts can be enjoyed in large format on screen and sports memorabilia is highlighted on beautifully lit shelving.

“Well designed cabinetry can enhance every part of the home so we were thrilled to create this large unit for a home gym, solving a number of challenges our client had with a beautiful piece of furniture that brings real refinement to an otherwise utilitarian room.” Ed Birks Langstaff Ellis

If there are parts of your home that would benefit from high quality cabinetry solutions including kitchens, home offices, utility rooms and gyms please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.

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Creating Your Perfect Home Office

One of the very few positives to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic has been the upsurge in home working. Many of us have become equally as productive at home as we are in the office, if not more so.

When combined with the benefits of saving endless hours and expense on daily commutes, with the bonus of sharing more family time, it seems that even once the pandemic is over an increase in permanent home working is here to stay.

Large organisations have begun to recognise this too, office buildings are being closed permanently or consolidated into smaller premises while many are giving assistance to staff to help with home working.

The home office has therefore become one of the most important rooms in the house, the one we are probably going to be spending more waking hours in than any other.

What are the six essentials for creating your perfect home office?

Design the whole space

With the leap into home working having happened suddenly for most of us our reaction was to simply cobble together a set up that worked at the time. Now home working is here to stay it’s worth taking stock and looking at permanent solutions for your home office.

Now is the chance to take an holistic view of your home office, ask if the cobbled together solution really works and to create a comprehensively designed space that accommodates everything you need from the colour of the walls and design of furniture to use of natural light and even whether you need a coffee machine.

Not all of us have a whole room that can be turned into an office but it’s still possible to optimise a space even if it’s an alcove, under the stairs or corner of another room. The key is to make the space your own so it feels like a place of work.

The beauty though is that you are not at the mercy of bland corporate design – the space really is your own so you can design the office you’ve always wanted.

It may be worth working with an interior designer to bring your ideas to life, or our designers at Langstaff-Ellis have a lot of experience in realising customer’s ideas, bringing them to life with intelligent design solutions.

From an aesthetic point of view you should consider what surroundings you’ll be comfortable working in every day, are you minimalist, rustic, old school or Scandinavian. Do you like big statement colours, warm woody tones or have a preference for an understated colour pallet? Whatever your style there are some fundamentals to get right.

A great desk

Your desk is where you spend practically all of your time in the office so it has to meet your needs, with plenty of space for computer, monitor, paperwork, phone charger, lamp, filing and maybe a plant or photo. It’s where you need to be your most productive so it has to be comfortable too with everything in easy reach.

Style and convenience aren’t the only considerations though; you need to think about the way you work. We all know someone who is always surrounded by paper and clutter at their desk, it doesn’t seem to bother them and they’re still productive. For them desk drawers are a waste of time, that stuff is always going to be lying around, they just need space. For others clutter is total anathema, they like to file and to store work in convenient spaces, knowing exactly where they can locate files, so desk cabinets and drawers are essential.

The location of your desk is often dictated by the size and shape of your office, in many cases there is no choice but to abut a wall or fit into a corner, but for larger spaces there is more leeway so our advice is always to consider where you and the desk will benefit from natural light. It doesn’t have to be close to a window but in a space where daylight can illuminate your working day.

Our experience of desk design says that you need to design the desk that suits your working style just as much as your aesthetic style, but whether it is minimalist or bureau style, corner unit, stand-up desk or statement furniture, a bespoke desk will always be the hub of your home office.

The right chair

Having the correct posture while working is so important in preventing back pain, but since regularly working from home how many of us have invested in an ergonomic office chair that provides support in all the right places?

Good office chairs until the pandemic were widely available. More recently there has been a shortage with orders often taking months to fulfil. However there is a solution, get one made.

Chair making is a discipline all of its own and something we are not specialists in however, we work with some very talented chair makers who are masters at designing and building beautiful unique chairs.

Whichever route you go down it’s important to remember that you spend a huge amount of time sitting in that one chair so it’s an item of furniture that is worth properly investing in.

Plenty of workspace

Your working style and of course what you do for a living has a great deal of bearing on how much space you need.

We know designers with very large monitors and day traders with multiple screens but also consultants who have various laptops supplied by their clients, so need extra accessible space. There also needs to be a convenient location for a printer, close enough to your desk but not actually on it.

The solution is to extend the desk space with additional worktops, either as part of your desk perhaps in a credenza or as extra units to run along adjacent walls. These can be as part of built-in storage solutions or as floating benches if you prefer something minimalist.

The one major conclusion we have drawn with workspace is that you can never have enough of it!

Maximise your storage

If you’re working in a restricted space or a well-proportioned study good storage is essential. Office files, projects, financial statements, plans, supplier and client information all quickly grow and need dedicated storage areas.

Some of this storage can be inbuilt into a bespoke desk with cabinets and drawers and while that will suit immediate needs the extra storage space offered by dedicated built-in units quickly becomes invaluable.

This is where you can really indulge yourself with bespoke floor to ceiling storage units that can integrate worktops, cabinets, shelves and drawers to combine all of your major office needs.

Design of cabinets can reflect or contrast with your desk, they should be designed in unison for a fully integrated feel. You may like to finish cabinets in bold colours, we recently made a large storage unit finished in Royal Blue to contrast with the oak shelves and worktops, or if the space is smaller use light colours to give the space a brighter glow. And as we love the look and texture so much, you can always let beautiful wood speak for itself, especially with oak, maple, cherry and walnut.

No matter what the finish, if your office is large enough and somewhere you intend to hold meetings you can create a bespoke conference or coffee table and build in a discreet coffee and bar unit.

Perhaps most importantly in the current climate, a great storage unit makes a Zoom background to be proud of!

Correct lighting

Lighting is another area where you can impress on Zoom. We’ve all had meetings with colleagues who seem to be hiding in the shadows, but an integrated lighting plan incorporating uplights and downlights into cabinetry and even into the desk can transform both your workspace and look on Zoom.

We may not all be able to flood our office with natural light, especially in the winter months but subtle and effective lighting is now an integral part of cabinet making design.

The perfect office should also have high-quality WIFI, plenty of power points, natural ventilation, heating and even air conditioning for the warmer months.

An investment for everyday

The home office is here to stay, it’s going to be the place where you spend more time than anywhere outside the bedroom, so creating your perfect office is an investment in your home and in the comfort of your working day.

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

 

 

 

 

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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.