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Contemporary Conservation: The Limes Case Study

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Consistent & Precise

How advanced spray finish technology creates better interiors.

When we think about cabinetry we mostly think about the craftsmanship, the precision cutting and joinery that goes into making an elegant piece of furniture. But there is far more to a finished piece than just expert cabinet making, because mostly what you are seeing is a product that has a finish applied to it.

Of course, there are designs that call for the wood to be the star, but even those pieces will have been treated, polished and lacquered to preserve and enhance the beauty of the grain. A lot of the time however, if you think about most kitchen cabinets for example, they are painted in one particular colour, with the modern trend to either be very light in appearance or the opposite with dark shades of blue featuring heavily.

Paint technology and indeed paint application technology has developed in leaps and bounds over the last decade, the paints themselves and the spray technology are sophisticated and precise technologies that can deliver a beautiful, hard wearing, uniform finish no matter the shade.

State-of-the-art spray paint technology

At Langstaff-Ellis we have always believed a great finish is incredibly important and have invested in state-of-the-art spray technology coupled with solvent free paints in order to create finishes our clients enjoy living with every day.

Traditional spray-painted finishes are done by hand which means they can be inconsistent, the degree of coverage measured by eye. For us that approach is just not precise enough. We value precision and consistency in everything we do, it’s what makes our joinery stand out, so we need to deliver the same quality in the finishing too.

Hence Langstaff-Ellis is one of the few businesses in the UK to invest in advanced German CNC spray booth technology to deliver consistent and precise finishes for every job. This technology gives us a high degree of control; within an enclosed unit four high pressure assisted spray guns move over the surface of the material at the same height providing the same weight of coverage no matter the size, shape or contours of the piece.

Greener paints

Water based paints are part of our commitment to creating a greener company. Known as

waterborne acrylics these paints are much kinder to the environment. Whereas traditional solvent based paints contain volatile chemicals that are difficult to dispose of, modern water based acrylics are equal in performance, have a longer usable life and are easier to dispose of safely.

Lewis Crook our head of spray finishing explains how the combination of the advanced spray booth, an experienced team and water-based acrylics has improved quality and productivity.

“The beauty of what we are doing now is how we combine the skills of an experienced hand sprayer alongside the modern technology, it’s what sets us apart.

The new water-based acrylics are also better to work with from a health and safety point of view, without the toxicity of the older paints, but they’re also quick drying in our blast oven.

 Overall, the combination of technologies means we can be faster while delivering the same precise finish time after time.”

Matching client’s high standards

Clients that use Langstaff-Ellis whether interior architects, designers, developers or private clients demand high-quality. They have a vision for the spaces they design and need their interiors partner to fulfil the vision with meticulous design, quality finishes and exacting build standards.

Our investment in spray technology is just one of the elements that allows us to deliver the premium quality interiors Langstaff-Ellis are renowned for.

To learn more about our processes and to discuss the design and creation of premium quality interiors please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.

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Leading the field in English interiors

A premium interiors company in the heart of the Chiltern Hills are the epitome of high-quality design and furniture making. Driven by a desire to create unique interiors for every client this blog explores the motivation behind Langstaff-Ellis, a very English company.

“We’re perched on top of a steep hill overlooking the Chilterns, there’s nowhere else in the world that looks like this, it is I suppose quintessentially English” so says Alex Langstaff-Ellis standing outside the factory and design studio his eponymous company has occupied since 2016.

The Chilterns are probably one of England’s most unexplored but beautiful regions, a 450 square mile expanse of rolling hills and characteristic beech woodland to the north of London, stretching from Hitchin in the east to Goring-on-Thames in the west, it is in many ways the ideal location for a premium English interiors company.

“Every morning as I drive up the hill, through the woods from Chinnor I appreciate the beauty of my surroundings,” says Alex “the way the light and the leaves change with the seasons is stunning, especially during Autumn when the experience of seeing the golden leaves all around is spectacular.”

Clearly Alex is a champion for the unique woodlands of the area, and it is that appreciation of the beauty of wood that informs both the customer service and English design aesthetic that pervades the interiors and stunning cabinetry created at Langstaff-Ellis.

“I like to think what sets us apart isn’t just our attention to detail, let’s face it every company will tell you that, but it’s the attitude we have towards the furniture we produce and towards our clients. I guess it’s that old fashioned sense of wanting to provide a perfect service, where the customer is happy at every step, but with the reassurance that we can back it up with knowledge, resources and skills as furniture makers.”

I suppose you could compare us to a bespoke Savile Row tailor. You don’t go there for the every day, but for something special, something unique perfectly suited to your needs, where you have design, material and colour options, and you know whatever gets made for you is created by experts and will fit perfectly”

Sitting in the design studio, the warm smell of cut wood pervading the atmosphere as the bustling workshop below goes about its highly skilled business, Alex warms to his theme,

“Think about classic British cars, Aston Martin or Bentley for example, even now they’re not showy, they’re understated but have an extraordinary elegance and build quality. We’re doing the same here in the Chilterns providing timeless understated elegance with extraordinary build quality, but in our case for homes.”

The quality of Langstaff-Ellis’s interiors is self-evident when you look at some of their recent projects, from the stunning modernist walnut cabinetry for a huge kitchen in Harpsden to the understated simplicity of the dressing and boot rooms for a manor house renovation in Stow-on-the-Wold.  That same elegance and extraordinary build quality can be seen throughout the Langstaff-Ellis portfolio.

Ed Birks the MD at Langstaff-Ellis and the man who guides the design and build process is equally proud of the classic English qualities of the businesses premium home interiors.

“We’ve evolved over the last few years,” he explains “as a young business we had to learn exactly what would set us apart from the artisan cabinet makers and kitchen companies. Where we are now is a completely different place, working at a fundamental level with clients, architects and interior designers to create unique home interiors.” Emphasising the point Ed goes on, “We’re there to fulfil a complete aesthetic vision for a home’s interior. That is why you now see our furniture in bedrooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms, lounges, dining rooms and utility rooms, alongside the kitchens.”

Our understanding of design brings a thematic unity throughout the home, in some ways you could say we’ve taken the idea of the traditional English country house as a model but crucially we’ve ditched the tired chintz and stiff formality, replacing it with modern design, finishes and materials to create a particular aesthetic.”

Supporting Langstaff-Ellis’s design vision is an impressive investment in both people and technology. As Alex will be the first to tell you, precision cutting and finishing machinery help to create much higher quality furniture with a build quality that is unachievable by hand alone.

“Even though we have nothing but admiration for traditional craftsmen, we realised early on that modern tools and techniques aligned to traditional skills allows us to deliver a much better product for our clients.”

For example, designs from the studio can be fed directly into our cutting machines, giving us precise control, without the inevitable variations even the best craftsmen create with hand tools. It’s one of the reasons why luxury developments use us, they know we’ll create beautiful precision furniture for every single home.”

Which isn’t to say the business doesn’t have superb craftsmen, in fact, the team in the workshop boast some impressive credentials from prestigious English furniture schools, including the renowned Rycotewood Furniture College just down the road in Oxford.

“It’s important for us to support locally trained people, we’re part of the community,” explains Ed, “but it’s not just altruism, having a workshop team who are skilled furniture makers in their own right, combined with the tech we use gives us the ability to create and deliver complex cutting-edge designs that both look impressive in the home and will stand the test of time.”

It’s a rewarding experience visiting the Langstaff-Ellis design studio and factory. The business has a refreshing openness and willingness to adopt the best of the new, in terms of technology, but combining it with old fashioned English values of customer service and understated design, along the way creating a stunning design aesthetic all of their own.

Unashamedly at the premium end of the market, Langstaff-Ells fully justify their reputation as one of England’s leading contemporary interior makers.

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Langstaff-Ellis Case Study: 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: Practical, Luxurious Laundry & Boot Room

This architect designed family home overlooks the stunning Chiltern Hills with glimpses of the River Thames in the valley below, making it an ideal location for long country walks. But with walks, especially in the English winter comes mud, which is why we created this beautiful and practical country laundry & boot room.

Building on the work of architects Heighway & Associates we were briefed by the client to create a comfortable space that filled multiple functions; a place for washing and drying the laundry, alongside a welcoming refuge after a cold winter walk.

Using classic Shaker cabinetry in a warm Paint & Paper Slate II shade gives the utilitarian space a homely comfort. The extensive cabinetry is complemented by panelled raised tongue and groove walls sprayed to match the cabinetry and finished with full height Shaker style cornicing that brings the room together.

In keeping with the luxurious feel of the room we designed customised laundry racks that pull-out from the wall but are discreet when not in use. Cupboards are finished to a high-end both internally and externally, with interiors clad in lacquered oak veneer behind solid oak shelves that are easy on the eye and beautiful to touch.

The room was specifically designed with plentiful storage in mind, hence the tailored internal storage has both full height cupboards for hanging outdoor coats and jackets, plenty of room to hide away boots and shoes, and generous spaces for airing freshly cleaned laundry. We also engineered specific cabinets to house the everyday cleaning and ironing equipment.

The sweeping worktops are Compac Carrara Quartz, which is elegant, practical and works beautifully as a complement to the stone floor, while the focal point in the room is the 900mm wide Butler Sink framed by overhead shelving and the symmetrical design of cabinets and high-end Miele appliances below.

“One of the areas that Langstaff-Ellis specialise in is working with architects to help them fulfil their vision for a project. On a new build house like this one, we are able to translate their sketches, adding our experience to create detailed CAD drawings for a practical but luxurious room.

When designs are signed-off by the client our combination of precision machining and hand finished craftsmanship turn the build and installation into a quick and efficient process.

On this impressive site, we wanted to create a space where you could come in from a walk, have somewhere comfortable to shed and store your outdoor boots and clothes but also to throw them instantly into the wash if necessary. So, it also needed to be easy to clean and a practical laundry room, but with a luxurious feel. We know the client put a lot of trust in us on this project so we’re grateful that he loves what we’ve been able to achieve.” Ed Birks – Langstaff-Ellis

For further information about creating your perfect utility room contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.