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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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High-end appliances High-end Kitchen Kitchen Luxury appliances Luxury Kitchen Shaker Template

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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Bar Bedroom Commercial Featured Kitchen Template

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.