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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: 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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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!