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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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Langstaff-Ellis Case Study: Creating Luxury from Adversity

Accidents befall all of us, they even happen to our houses and when they strike restoring or improving on what came before becomes a matter of urgency. In the case of our client in the picturesque riverside town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire an unprecedented flood led to the ruination of the whole ground floor of the house, necessitating extensive repairs.

But out of adversity comes opportunity, and our client saw that they could remodel their kitchen and create a warm comfortable space that would provide all the luxuries that the previous kitchen lacked.

Bespoke design for a liveable home

Understanding the urgency of the issue, to make the house a liveable home once more, we moved quickly to design and build luxury bespoke furniture, complementing the cabinetry with high-end appliances that would make the kitchen the heart of the restored home.

“Being flooded is a horrible experience but our client did something special and grasped the opportunity to upgrade their ruined kitchen. We felt it was our responsibility to get the kitchen completed for them as soon as we could so the house could start feeling like a home once more. Within the client’s guidelines we were able to create a luxurious kitchen that combines effortless chic with practical functionality to be the warm heart of the home” Ed Birks Langstaff-Ellis

Traditional, elegant Shaker luxury

To stay in keeping with the traditional style of the house our designer delivered a classic Shaker kitchen, accompanied by luxury touches.

Finished in a warming Farrow & Ball Charleston Grey, impressively precise ceiling height cabinets completed with finely detailed Armac Martin Quizlet knobs and pulls create a sense of comfort and familiarity as soon as you enter the room.

The elegance of the cabinets and drawers extends internally, where walnut shelving and detailing provide a tactile and attractive solidity. Within the knife drawer for example, the internal tailoring has been finely crafted to accommodate each blade, while the beautifully realised dovetails are a reminder of the high standards of craftsmanship our client’s receive.

In the cabinets, wine glasses sit on specially made shelves while the larder units boast beautiful shelving inside the doors to accommodate oils, spices, bottles and jars

Adding to the comfort of the room we installed a classic AGA hob that projects homeliness and a deep traditional Belfast sink beneath the windows overlooking the mature garden. The sink conceals cleverly integrated waste and a state-of-the-art Qooker Flex boiling water tap.

CRC Carrara Quartz worksurfaces throughout the kitchen reflect the shining white porcelain of the sink.

Practical and impressive high-end appliances

Hidden behind a larder unit door is a huge American style Fisher & Paykel refrigerator. Fisher & Paykel create impressively engineered kitchen appliances designed to keep fresh food at their optimum preservation temperatures, and while we would normally showcase the smart design in this instance it was important to preserve the symmetrical shapes of the kitchen.

Enhancing the symmetry, we ensured practical and fun elements were neatly reflected, hence sitting adjacent to the refrigerator on one side is an impressive Eurocave wine cabinet and on the other, next to the larder cabinet is a Miele stack.

The full height Eurocave wine cabinet can hold up to 60 bottles at ideal drinking temperatures and makes a fun forthright statement about the purpose of the kitchen. The Miele stack on the other hand, comprising microwave and coffee machine, is all about touch of the button practicality, the simple straight lines of the units complementing the style of the cabinets.

Extending the design into the dining room

The kitchen is an impressive room in its own right but flowing from it is a dining room where we were asked to create furniture that continued the themes and colour palette, but would also provide the room with its own focus and energy.

Occupying one whole wall we created a full-height storage and display unit that cleverly conceals an elegant cocktail cabinet and at its heart a unique bespoke wine rack.

The walnut cabinet includes pocket doors that open and slide away while in use but can easily be closed to hide its contents during the day. Internal sensors control discreet lighting within the cabinet that refracts through the glassware creating a magical glow.

The whole unit has plentiful storage including beautifully finished dovetailed walnut drawer boxes.

The bespoke wine rack in walnut is a masterful piece of design and cabinet making. Large enough to store over 80 bottles but a perfect piece of furniture even when empty, the unique design is both convenient and elegant providing a talking point for guests where they can ponder the appropriate Vintage for dinner.

A winning design that brings the house back to life

“This was such a satisfying project for the designers and craftsmen at Langstaff-Ellis. Helping our client to reimagine their home after the flood and to fast-track the project through has been challenging but incredibly worthwhile. Seeing the house brought back to life and knowing we were able to contribute furniture that will stand the test of time is a huge reward for all of us.” Ed Birks Langstaff-Ellis

For further information about creating a luxurious and elegant kitchen or dining room 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.