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Langstaff-Ellis Case Study: Creating a subtle and minimalist interior

There’s a real satisfaction for the team at Langstaff-Ellis when we take on the challenge of creating something that is a little bit outside the ordinary. In the case of our client’s kitchen extension in Harpsden, South Oxfordshire, we were given the task of designing an interior that took architectural influences from both the Bauhaus and a beautiful German kitchen exhibited at the Schoenfeld Design Centre in Berlin.

The resulting minimalist kitchen is deceptive in its simplicity, the beauty of the detailed Walnut Sap-Wood cabinetry hiding the complexity of the internal design and the modernity and size of premium appliances.

A sink unit and workspace runs beneath three large steel-framed Crittall windows; features that define the space with doors and partitions continuing throughout the house. Our cabinets compliment this architectural feature with their subtle slatted design, lending a pleasing cubic symmetry to the space.

Highly decorative sap-wood walnut has been used precisely because of its lack of symmetry, breaking up the otherwise straight lines and surfaces to display beautiful asymmetric contours within pale and dark chocolatey hued wood.

The walnut contrasts strikingly with the sweeping lines of the two impressive worktops, each cut in one piece in premium quality Unistone Cendre Velluto quartz. Within the sink unit rests a custom stone sink from the same material set off by aged brass fittings, lending tactile contrast to the finish.

On the opposing wall, we have created a breakfast bar cabinet boasting the same quartz surfaces and bespoke sink, cleverly concealed behind subtle bi-fold doors. Within the unit, to cater for our client’s coffee fix every morning, is a clever pocket door opening system, with an integrated Nespresso accessory drawer. This is simple to access, cleverly optimizing dead space at the top of the cabinet.

Dominating the room is a large island with the same beautiful walnut cabinetry and room to comfortably seat six people. Sitting flush in the island is a top of the range Bora Professional Hob, its stylish controls integrated into the woodwork below. Working with the builder on the services plan enabled us to build in ducting for the downdraft extraction through the floor and out of the building.

On the end wall hidden behind a simple door in keeping with the minimalist design, is a premium quality Gaggeneau 400 series fridge freezer and larder unit, this sits adjacent to a large top of the range Wolf oven and our own custom made spice racks.

The simple look of the kitchen with its striking wood and contrasting plain surfaces conceals a host of functionality within a truly stunning space. However, our work on the project didn’t finish at the kitchen. Subtle design continues into two bathrooms.

The first extends the minimalist theme found throughout the home, and here the cleverness of the design is extraordinarily concealed. Sitting above the bespoke sink unit are matching gunmetal framed mirrors sitting flush with the wall. Look carefully and you find each has a small handle, for these aren’t just mirrors but the doors to large cabinets engineered to an exacting degree by Langstaff-Ellis into the wall itself.

The sink unit below is also completely bespoke, with paired sinks crafted from Silver Shadow marble. The cabinetry sitting flush with the sinks is made from a completely waterproof enhanced timber known as Tricoya.

In contrast, the sink cabinet in the second bathroom is colour matched to the pale pink walls using a specialist Tadelakt Moroccan render creating natural texture and variations against the warmth of the silver shadow sink and worktop. Again, there is a flush mirror cabinet set into the wall, this time with an unfinished brass frame offsetting the antique brass of the tap.

Commenting on the project Ed Birks of Langstaff-Ellis said,

“It’s a pleasure to work with a client who has a very clear vision. It gave us a number of complex challenges to overcome, not least of which were the technical aspects of setting the large bathroom units into the walls. The results though are spectacular, we’re proud to have matched our client’s vision with a complex but subtle example of engineering, cabinetry and interior design.”

For further information about creating a premium quality interior please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.

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Design High-end appliances High-end Kitchen Kitchen Luxury Kitchen Premium kitchens Super-premium kitchen Template

Five essentials that elevate a high-end kitchen to super-premium

When you’re building your dream home and lavishing time and effort on getting every detail right there are some essentials for the kitchen that can turn the everyday into the amazing.

It goes without saying that precise, elegant cabinetry is at the core of the kitchen coupled with the best marble work surfaces, beautiful veneers, extraordinary metals and stunning glass. The island at the heart of the kitchen must be a show stopper, but what are the features, appliances and accessories that are essential to turn a premium kitchen into a super-premium kitchen?

1. Calcatta Oro Worktops

For centuries Calcatta Oro has been considered to be the finest marble in the world. A classic Italian White Marble with bright, creamy shades and subtle gold and grey colours running along the veins the finest examples are found in the Borghini quarry in the heart of the Apuan Alps.

Calcatta Oro looks stunning in sweeping expanses across the surfaces of contemporary and traditional styles of kitchens, bringing a classical finish rooted in centuries of history.

2. Wolf Range

Wolf ranges really are something to behold and make an impact as the impressively solid centrepiece to any luxury kitchen. Why chose Wolf over the other contenders? For starters each Wolf appliance is built to meet the unflinchingly high standards of professional chefs, ensuring precise control and the utmost quality every time. They also cater to every taste and preference, spanning gas, dual fuel, induction and steam models, and come in a range of modern and classic designs.

What we love too are the outstanding design touches including eye catching cobalt blue oven interiors, and stunning, chunky red knobs. Make no mistake Wolf Ranges are a serious piece of kitchen equipment sculpted in heavy gauge stainless steel and tested to perform beautifully through decades of heavy, daily use.

3. Gaggeneau Refrigeration

There is nothing more important than high quality refrigeration, but if it looks superb and comes with discreet features that can react to the most delicate and demanding of foods in an intelligent way, then it must be a Gaggeneau.

The Vario 400 series built-in modular landscape of refrigerators, freezers, fridge-freezers and wine climate cabinets can be combined to stunning effect. A cooling wall of appliances in near seamless stainless steel creates a truly grand architectural statement.

In any home where a love of fine wine is important a Gaggeneau Vario wine climate cabinet is a must have. Offering up to 3 independently controlled climate zones, depending on the correct temperature for your wines and with precise humidity control, vintages can be kept in precisely the right conditions. And with fully extendable bottle trays in oak and aluminium, the wine cabinets are designed to be admired.

4. BORA Professional Cooktop

We’ve blogged previously about our love of BORA, but we’ll say it again; if you’re creating a super-premium kitchen where everything is of the highest quality, where form and function combine to create a brilliant product then you have to install a BORA Professional 3.

At the leading edge of design, with innovative low volume downdraft extraction, simple cleaning, oversized cooking surfaces and minimalist design incorporating the most beautiful control dials the BORA Professional 3 is suited to the largest kitchens and the most creative cooks.

With BORA you’re installing a design statement coupled with a superb level of German engineering.

5. Quooker CUBE

Quooker are famous for their boiling water taps and it would be fair to say that we believe every home should have one, however what elevates the CUBE to the level of the extraordinary is its ability to transform the tap’s functionality.

In a unique innovation, the CUBE enables cold, boiling, chilled and sparkling water to all be dispensed from the one tap with the simple twist of a dial. The CUBE option saves time, water, energy and space and it means you never have to buy bottled water again. They look fantastic too with options in chrome, silver, brass and black that will enhance the finest kitchens.

What we love about them though is that they are just so extraordinarily cool!

Interior-design for the super-premium kitchen

Creating the highest quality kitchens needs a combination of skill, design, materials and brilliant appliances. At Langstaff-Ellis we invest all of our skill, knowledge and design experience to remodel interiors into extraordinary spaces, we don’t just look at the needs of the kitchen, we work with the design of the home to create something very special, creating a stunning piece of interior design that just happens to be for the kitchen, and with the addition of the highest-quality materials and appliances transform superb design into the finest super-premium kitchens.

For further information about creating a beautifully designed super-premium kitchen contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.

 

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Langstaff-Ellis Case Study: Luxury Bespoke Cotswold Kitchen

The 1950’s and 1960’s saw many unique and remarkable houses altered from being single dwellings into smaller multi-occupancy units. One such building, a beautiful manor house was purchased by our client near to Stow-on-the-Wold in the heart of the Cotswolds. His dream was to restore the whole building to its former glory, reconverting it into one dwelling but incorporating modern luxuries to make it a dream home for the 21st century.

Selected to bring the kitchen to life

Langstaff-Ellis were chosen to bring the kitchen to life, combining our knowledge of historic and modern design styles with high-quality cabinetry and craftsmanship to add a liveable yet stunning completeness to the project.

“The house itself is stunning and the restoration very sympathetic” explained Langstaff-Ellis MD Edward Birks

“We discussed with the client how to design a functional but elegant kitchen to work within the traditional vernacular of the house and therefore created a modern shaker design that allows the beauty of the cabinetry to complement the building’s own historic features.”

Beauty in the detail

The beauty of this kitchen is not just in the major pieces of furniture, the impressive island with slatted vegetable drawers or the generous larder, but in the hand-finished details exhibited by every cupboard and shelf.

For example the solid oak shelving and wrap around oak interior of the cupboards are finished to draw the eye to the natural texture and grain of the wood and with tactile curves that are made to be appreciated down the generations.

The oak continues with solid oak worktops, drawer fronts and spice rack and again the detailing catches the eye with unfinished brass hinges on all the doors, designed to age and naturally weather down the years.

Impressive kitchen island

Yet it is the island that dominates the room, floating above the stone floor and covered in one huge Quartz CRL Verona worktop. With a plethora of storage space, including the attractive handleless vegetable drawers, a large breakfast area and the downdraft Bora Hobb, the island is at the very heart of this relaxed kitchen.

Complementary high-end appliances

Simple high-end appliances were specified throughout the kitchen, and hence in addition to the Bora Hob, the basin boasts instant boiling water with a Quooker tap while the oven and refrigeration are Miele products throughout.

Simple, minimal, beautiful

The pleasure to be found in this seemingly simple design is in the quality of the cabinetry and the forethought that has gone into the small details.

As Ed says “The beauty is entirely in its simple minimal look.”

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High Quality Appliances for the Luxury Kitchen

Designing and building luxurious kitchens is at the core of what we do, and though we are the experts in design and cabinetry we couldn’t create the luxurious finished rooms without high quality accessories and appliances.

Whether in the kitchen or the laundry it’s important to have equipment you can rely on. Having worked on hundreds of kitchens we know that the brands we recommend also have to be aesthetically pleasing, beautifully designed and precision engineered to match our own work. We are aware that there is a huge choice available however we like to emphasise the highest quality available so there are certain brands that we recommend time after time.

Cast Iron Warmth

The modern trend is to have integrated stack units for ovens, and we’ll return to those shortly, but nothing speaks of comfort in a kitchen like the solid cast iron warmth of an AGA range cooker. The quintessentially British range cooker (though actually a Swedish invention) has been warming kitchens for nearly a century using the heat storage principle.

Looking especially impressive in large country kitchens, and of course working exceptionally as an oven or hotplate the AGA Cooker now comes in a variety of useful sizes of between 2-5 ovens used for roasting, baking, simmering and warming.

All AGA Cookers look perfect in a traditional country style kitchen but work exceptionally well integrated into a modern shaker design, especially with the wide variety of colours and gleaming vitreous enamel finish Aga provide.

One of the aspects we enjoy about the AGA is that like our kitchens they are built to last, in fact for the 80th anniversary of the founding of the company a competition was run to find the oldest AGA still in use, the winning cooker was discovered in Sussex and had been in continuous use since 1932!

Innovative Engineering

By contrast, we also enjoying working with the modern, the streamlined and the minimalist. There are some exceptional high end appliance manufacturers catering to every kind of kitchen and laundry need, amongst our favourites are Miele, Gaggenau and Fisher & Paykel.

Working with three exceptional brands provides a wealth of choice which can make for some tricky decisions, our suggestion would be that you should decide on the brand you like and integrate that across the kitchen rather than chopping and changing – though there are a couple of exceptions that we’ll come to shortly.

Miele

Miele has been producing high end kitchen equipment from its base in Germany since 1899 where it started as a manufacturer of cream separators and butter churns. Quickly moving into washing machines, it made its first electric powered machine in 1914.

One of the true innovators amongst white goods with leading edge technology in all their appliances, we know that Miele is an outstanding choice in the laundry but is also perfect for the contemporary or traditional kitchen’s integrated oven stack.

Gaggenau

For a German luxury appliance manufacturer with an even longer history look no further than Gaggenau. Still innovating and revolutionising the kitchen for the domestic cook today, Gaggenau actually began as a nail forge in the Black Forest in 1683. By the 19th century, it was producing farm machinery and gas and coal fired stoves. While its diversification into bicycle manufacture at the turn of the 20th century didn’t last long, it learned many lessons about ergonomics, build quality and distinctive design from the experience. Qualities that are reflected in today’s beautifully engineered products.

Where Gaggenau really revolutionised the kitchen was with their creation in the mid 1950s of fitted appliances starting with the first built-in eye-level oven. While this revolutionised the kitchen, especially for designers like Langstaff-Ellis, Gaggenau have not stood still in the intervening years. Twenty years ago their ED 220 steam oven became the first of its kind to be commercially produced for the private home.

The newest range of beautifully designed and engineered steam ovens and combi ovens, alongside their refrigeration solutions, give kitchens a sleek modernist look, as you’d expect from a company still influenced by the Bauhaus. They work perfectly in minimalist kitchens where form and function are the keywords and where you want immaculate lines without compromising on quality.

Fisher & Paykel

With an equally interesting history, though somewhat younger Fisher & Paykel from New Zealand have long been driven by the need to produce innovative practical products for their domestic market. Producing washing machines, cookers and refrigerators since 1934 Fisher & Paykel used their isolation to drive real innovations in the fundamentals of sustainable design.

Available in Europe for over 50 years their elegantly engineered designs are all about making kitchens the social hub of the home, with a practical simplicity that belies their range of functionality. Ovens feature clean lines with subtle textural and tonal contrasts true to the honesty and integrity of the materials used, while a broad range of refrigerators can be integrated into any luxury kitchen design. And for the height of luxury in the laundry a Fisher & Pakel washing machine or washer dryer provide precise mechanical actions that sense and adjust as they wash to reduce wear on your favourite items.

Finishing Touches

While the three brands mentioned above can provide options that will work in every high-end kitchen, there are a few specialists that turn a luxury kitchen into the perfect kitchen. They are Bora, Eurocave, Sub Zero and Quooker.

Bora Hob

Another German innovator this time a much more recent entrant, Bora founded in 2005 have changed the way we think about extraction. You can find our blog all about them here, but just a reminder that the state-of-the-art Bora Hob provides downdraft vortex extraction that transforms the nature of kitchen extraction. We’d happily include one in every kitchen we design we think they’re so brilliant.

Wine Cabinets: Eurocave & Sub Zero

Competing at the top of our list with Bora for an appliance that every luxury kitchen should have is the wine cabinet, a refrigerated cabinet that keeps your wine at the perfect storage temperature. There’s some competition here with both Eurocave and Sub Zero producing outstanding products with options ranging from under the counter versions to cabinets for the real connoisseur storing over 160 bottles.

We have designed kitchens integrating both brands into the design and our advice would be to look at the aesthetics that each brand offers and how it fits with the kitchen we’re designing. A more traditional look may suit the Eurocave while a contemporary feel may be more suited to the Sub Zero. In either case no new kitchen should be without its wine cabinet.

Boiling Water: Quooker

Finally, a mention for the Quooker CUBE, without fail we now incorporate this terrific product into every new kitchen. There are so many advantages, firstly you don’t need a kettle anymore, boiling water is delivered just by turning the tap, its energy and space efficient and can also deliver filtered chilled and sparkling water. It’s one of the small things that turn a new kitchen into a more efficient pleasurable space that you wonder how you ever lived without.

To discuss the design and creation of your luxury kitchen and which appliances you’d like to integrate please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.

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Shaker Design, Classic Contemporary Elegance

There is something calming about Shaker furniture, the classic lines and expert cabinetry have a warmth that makes any kitchen feel like home. As a design style, Shaker has so much to offer the modern kitchen, but the history of the style actually stretches back to an American ascetic religious movement of the 19th Century.

The Shakers or United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing as they were correctly known had guiding principles of simplicity unity and honesty. Furniture was therefore created along lean minimalist lines, with no unnecessary embellishments, creating pieces that perfectly fulfilled function, form and proportion.

At a time when the predominant European design aesthetic was for heavy, dark, ornate furniture the Shaker style, particularly for furniture sold by the New Lebanon community from the 1860’s onwards, was embraced by homemakers in the New World.

One of the aspects that characterised Shaker furniture was the quality of craftsmanship with an emphasis on high-quality joinery, something that we emulate today with our modern Shaker interpretations.

The original furniture would be made in cherry, maple or pine and then painted in one of four prescribed colours, blue, green, red or yellow however as furniture makers in the 21st Century we have the leeway to take the original aesthetic and reimagine it with interpretations that work perfectly to create contemporary luxurious kitchens.

Just like the Shaker craftsmen, we also believe in exemplary craftsmanship, in creating functional but beautiful furniture that is built to last the test of time.

One of the keys to this quality is in the part of the furniture you don’t see. Shaker cabinetry is created using in-frame design, a type of cabinetry construction where the door of a cabinet is inset within a wooden frame and the frame is fixed onto the front face of the carcass giving it long-lasting strength.

The fundamental build quality of a Shaker kitchen, therefore derives from its in-frame woodwork, something that we apply rigorous quality checks to, and with the precision we apply to our cabinet making at Langstaff-Ellis the calibre of our craftsmanship would be recognisable to our 19th Century forbears. While they would certainly recognise the characteristic beaded doors, functional lines and traditional detailing in our designs we hope they’d also appreciate our subtle adaptations for contemporary homes.

Our modern Shaker interpretations provide contemporary luxury options, including EuroCave wine cabinets, Quooker boiling water taps, Fisher & Paykel appliances, Bora hobs, Aga ranges and Belfast sinks, and where the Shakers themselves insisted on wooden door and drawer pulls we can offer a variety of stylish handles such as Butler + Punch.

Finishes aren’t limited to primary colours either, in fact our modern Shaker kitchens can be painted in any colour you choose including fashionable greys and darker hues as well as stunning neutral tones to complement your home’s unique aesthetic.

The contemporary Shaker style is a perfect evolution of furniture design principles that have been passed on for generations and across continents. For interior designers and homeowners looking to create timeless elegance in their kitchen, or elsewhere in the home our bespoke Shaker designs with their high-end craftsmanship and luxury finishes create the perfect contemporary answer.

Finally, if you were wondering why the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing became know as the Shakers, it was because of their ecstatic dancing during services!

For more information about working with Langstaff Ellis to design a beautiful shaker kitchen for your home please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.

 

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AV Cabinet Bar Bedroom Bookcase Featured Henley-On-Thames Home-Office Kitchen Template

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. 

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Commercial Featured Henley-On-Thames Kitchen Template

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.

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Commercial Henley-On-Thames Kitchen Template

Why we love Bora: form and function for perfect kitchens

There aren’t many new technologies that get a kitchen designer excited but there is one innovation of recent years that gets us jumping for joy. In its simplicity, design, science and engineering there is nothing that comes close to the excitement generated by the Bora Hob.

How can a simple hob generate such delight? It’s simple really, because the Bora Hob is a game changer that opens up a myriad of design options, something that really does engage kitchen designers.

It’s a game changer for the cook and homeowner too; any one wanting a kitchen at the cutting edge with the coolest and cleverest looking appliance in town should have a Bora Hob.

Bora sucks: clean, quiet downwards extraction

The major factor that makes a Bora so cool is the way it transforms extraction. We’re all used to noisy, intrusive overhead extractor hoods that suck cooking vapours upwards into sticky filters. Bora does something different, by creating a vortex around the hob area it sucks vapours downwards into a high-tech system using intelligent flow technology that either expels vapours or recirculates them as cleaned air, keeping air in the kitchen fresh.

If that all sounds ‘geeky’ it isn’t, because there are so many advantages:

Fresh Air: because grease and vapour particles are drawn off directly from the cookware they are prevented from rising and spreading throughout the kitchen. Grease particles are trapped in the stainless steel filter leaving the air in the kitchen fresh and uncontaminated.

Quiet Operation: I’m sure we’ve all experienced a situation when the overhead extractor is on full blast and you have to shout to make yourself heard. There are no such problems with a Bora, in fact even when operating at the maximum level it is quieter than frying a steak.

Clear view: Having your glasses steam up as you check the contents of a pot always makes us feel foolish, but there’s no such problem with a Bora hob, as the vapours are sucked down and away from the pot, you’ll always have a clear view.

Simple cleaning: On the rare occasions that you clean your conventional extractor hood it’s an unpleasant, sticky task. There are three movable parts in a Bora that can be dismantled without the need for tools and cleaned in the dishwasher.

Highly effective: Because of the quality of engineering the Bora is both highly effective and boasts a long service life. Pure stainless steel and heavy-metal-free glass-ceramic both look great and ensure trouble free functionality.

Enhanced storage: Unlike conventional extraction systems the Bora takes up minimal space. At under 200mm the low integration height and integrated recirculation unit guarantee maximum storage space in the cupboard below.

Superb design: for fans of design excellence and precise German engineering the Bora Hob is a joy, they are brilliant examples of minimalist design combining form with outstanding functionality to enhance any kitchen.

Opening up options in kitchen design

What thrills us more than anything is that we can design a Bora almost anywhere into a kitchen. Our design decisions aren’t based around where the ducting and overhead extractor fan can fit but around where the most convenient, user-friendly location is. For example, it means we can design hobs into kitchen islands, under eaves or even next to a window, wherever the best location is for that particular kitchen.

In fact, we were recently involved with a development in Henley-on-Thames that combined new builds with the redevelopment of the Victorian era workhouse. Every one of the resulting mix of 34 houses and apartments was a unique space for which we designed bespoke kitchens.

Making the decision to install a Bora Hob in each apartment significantly increased our design options, as we weren’t restricted by the limited choices of overhead extraction locations. Now each apartment boasts a superb Bora hob while feedback from residents new to Bora has been uniformly excellent.

The Bora Range: Pure, Classic, Professional

There are three ranges that we work with the Bora Pure, the Bora Classic and the Bora Professional. Which one we recommend is down to the needs of the client and the kitchen. With options available in Gas, Electric and zoneless Induction.

Each range shares fundamental characteristics such as intuitive controls, low volume, simple cleaning, oversized cooking surfaces, automatic extractor controls and minimalist design.

The Bora Classic has modular options for different cooking functions such as a Tepan stainless steel grill, while the Professional offers a variety of enhanced temperature functions and is suited to the largest kitchens and most creative cooks.

Bora hobs allow us to design better kitchens

Bora definitely makes amazing hobs coupled with ground breaking extraction technology. Their design and functionality make them an excellent choice in any kitchen, but that isn’t the main reason why kitchen designers love them. We love them because they open up unrestricted possibilities in kitchen design, allowing us to offer every client leading edge kitchen design – and that gets designers excited.

Demo a Bora Hob

If you’d like to see a Bora Hob in action we can arrange a demonstration at our showroom – once Covid restrictions allow.

In the meantime, you can see the remarkable Bora technology in action at www.bora.com/gb/gb/

There is one last thing that makes Bora really cool and this may be a little geeky if you’re not a cycling fan, but Bora sponsor one of the best teams in professional cycling – Bora Hansgrohe is the home of multiple Tour de France stage winner, and the coolest man in world cycling Peter Sagan!

 

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Extensions Kitchen Template

10 Tips for Planning your Kitchen Extension

We’re lucky to work with many clients who are able to build complete new spaces for their kitchens. Whether a renovation or an extension the ability to create a dream kitchen is something that we love to be involved with.

However, we’ve learned that there can be some pitfalls along the way, so in this blog we offer some advice on what to consider when planning the perfect kitchen.

1. Make sure there’s a comprehensive plan

It may seem obvious but it’s worth repeating, plan what you intend to do in as much detail as possible. There is more to a kitchen than cabinets and appliances so you need to give proper consideration to plumbing, drainage, electrical wiring, sockets, lighting, heating and extraction as well as the positioning of appliances, cabinets and island.

2. Involve an experienced designer early

The beauty of involving a great kitchen designer early in the process is two-fold. Firstly they are used to planning unique kitchens from scratch so they will have a checklist of all the elements that need to be considered, from the position of sockets to the optimum position for the island. Secondly, they will produce meticulous plans and be able to show you 3D CAD drawings so you can see the end result and make adjustments early in the process.

3. Don’t let egos hinder you – get the designer working with the architect

We have been privileged to work with some wonderful architects; generally they have a vision for a property and the kitchen will be an important part of it. However the devil is in the detail, sleek slim cupboards for example, may look fabulous on paper but they can be inadequate for storage. If the kitchen is to be a living space you need to make sure it’s built around the way you’re going to use it.

The answer is to get your designer to work with your architect. In our experience, we’ve found that once we understand the architect’s vision we can create a kitchen that both fulfills the desired aesthetic look combined with the practical needs of a working kitchen.

4. Think about how you’ll use the space

For some people the kitchen is a statement space that looks impressive but doesn’t get used for much more than boiling a kettle. For others the kitchen is a combination of entertainment and living area, creative culinary workspace and the hub of the home. Each kitchen will have different requirements, the former for example may just need a simple stack oven arrangement, minimal refrigeration and discreet cabinets, while the latter may need an AGA or large hob, copious storage and space to seat a large family. Everyone’s kitchen usage is different but as with everything else talk to your designer about how you’re intending to use the space and let them help optimise it for you.

5. Plan the layout for efficient use

You have probably heard about the working triangle, designed to minimise effort and walking distance between sink, fridge and cooker by placing them on 3 points of a triangle. Obviously this makes for an efficient workspace but you shouldn’t feel constrained by the concept, instead use the principle of shortening walking distances between the practical elements in your space as a guide. For example, if you have a hob in the island and a range cooker you may want to locate them parallel to one another so you can work efficiently between the two. It is also worth considering how much space you have between the island and cabinets or cooker; make sure there is plenty of room to create a spacious workspace that can accommodate two cooks if necessary.

6. Consider the cabinetry

The majority of your kitchen consists of cabinets so you should think carefully about the design, their uses and how they are positioned. Most kitchen companies work to standard sizes so can’t be very flexible. The benefit of using Langstaff-Ellis is that everything can be bespoke. So no matter how awkward the space or whatever unique need you have – for your collection of Claris Cliff ceramics or single malt whiskies for example – we can create perfect solutions.

7. Create a bespoke Island

No kitchen is complete without the focal point of an island with its multiple uses as a hub to cook, eat and socialise. Planning the size, how you’re going to use your island, the appliances you want to include and the materials it is finished in need careful consideration. Many clients opt for a Bora Professional hob, incorporate a wine fridge or have bookshelves; others may have a sink with a Quooker hot water tap, integrated microwave and seating for the whole family.

With finishes ranging from beautiful wood to quartz, marble, granite, concrete, or a solid surface countertop the options to express your kitchen’s unique character are endless so make sure to think through your needs and use a professional designer to help you create the perfect island for your kitchen.

8. Plot the plumbing & electrics

This is an area where working with your designer, architect and builder really will pay dividends. Knowing well in advance where your appliances, basins, waste, drainage and ducting need to be located will enable your builder to get it right first time. Changes late in the process can prove to be expensive!

9. Plan underfloor heating wisely

Most new kitchen extensions will incorporate underfloor heating but you need to be careful where you put it in relation to your cabinets and appliances. For example, heating pipes in the floor beneath fridges and freezers will mean they have to work harder to achieve their low temperatures, equally there’s no need to have heating under cabinets, firstly because wood expands or contracts depending on temperature and secondly because you could be heating whatever food you may be storing in them. Again, issues can be avoided by careful planning with your designer, architect and builder.

10. Do your research

We are privileged to have worked on hundreds of unique kitchens in all kinds of homes so have an excellent command of what does and doesn’t work, however we love to learn, so while we can help design and plan everything you should want we always encourage Langstaff-Ellis clients to do their research.

If there’s a funky new appliance we haven’t encountered we want to know about it or if you’ve seen an amazing piece of design you’d like to emulate let us know. Everything you discover will help you to brief us so we can translate your vision into a unique bespoke kitchen.

Designing and building a new kitchen extension doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task if you plan well, avoid the pitfalls and involve all the right people. Our experience can make your job easier so contact us using the details below to find out how we can help to design and plan your kitchen extension.