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Careers Design High-end Kitchen Luxury Kitchen Template

A Day In The Life: Creative Designer Irina Nerciu

Trained in fashion design before turning her talents to furniture, Creative Designer Irina Nerciu has enjoyed a productive decade-long career. Originally creating designs for a kitchen and furniture business in her native Moldova she has been based in the UK for the last 4 years. Her eye for detail and creative design, matched with an ambition to be at the heart of a thriving high-end furniture design business sees her producing contemporary designs that thrill her clients

Morning

One of the aspects I really enjoy is how every day is different. Depending on where I am on the progress of a project, I’ll either spend the morning at my computer getting on with the design or I could be liaising with the tech team in the workshop who take my designs and turn them into reality.

Every few weeks I’ll take a new brief from a client. This is where I really get to know them and understand what they are looking for, their individual style and the atmosphere they are trying to create in their kitchen and other rooms within their home.

Working on prestigious new builds and premium renovations gives me scope as a designer to bring my creativity to the fore and to design furniture that synchronises with the architects and clients vision.

*It’s a shame that during the pandemic I’ve been unable to visit the sites that I’m designing for. It’s always a useful spark for the designer’s imagination if we can actually see and experience the building we’re working on. Every building has its own atmosphere, its own light and feel, all of which can inspire my design work. It’s important for me as a designer to be able to respond to the architecture of a room, so I’m looking forward to getting out on-site in the future.

Mid-Morning

At our mid-morning team meeting, new projects will be discussed and work allocated. We also take the opportunity to look at where we are on current projects to discuss any challenges that have arisen or to talk about design problems we’ve solved that might benefit the whole team.

Late Morning

In the late morning or early afternoon, you’ll often find me (virtually) meeting my clients and presenting my designs. I always get a little nervous about this as I really want the client to like what I’m proposing, but I also love hearing the feedback, especially when a client tells me that my design is exactly how they imagined it; hearing that is so rewarding.

Fortunately, the experience of the whole team here means that we really know how to work to a brief and to create furniture that our clients will love. Mostly what we end up discussing are the smaller details or type of appliances rather than the overall look and feel. But in all cases, it’s always a special moment when a client signs off on the final design before we go to production.

I do like to be challenged by my client’s projects though. Older buildings especially can be difficult to work on, they tend not to have straight walls or level floors. This is where the hidden parts of what I do come to the fore. You may not see it on the finished piece but an island for example, may have a gently angled plinth that helps it to sit level. I find that getting these little challenges right is really satisfying.

Afternoon

If we have gone to production, I’ll spend some time in the workshop. I’ve always enjoyed the whole process of seeing something I’ve created on paper elevated to an actual manufactured product. The atmosphere, noise, aroma of cut wood and buzz of the workshop is so different to the quiet of the design studio and helps to give a real breath of life to the concepts that started with my drawings.

Seeing the designs come alive gives me real creative satisfaction and is one of the reasons I enjoy my job so much.

Towards the end of the day, I’ll organise my workflow for the following day. I often have more than one current project so it’s important to ensure I’m super organised.

After Hours

Once I get home I still like to be creative. I find drawing and sewing help me unwind, though if I’m sketching I often find myself absent-mindedly doodling a cabinet in the margin!

For more information about designing premium-quality furniture for your home or development please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.

*Langstaff-Ellis enforces strict Covid-19 protocols throughout all office, workshop and on-site locations.

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Boot Room Henley-On-Thames Laundry Room Shaker Storage Template Utility Room

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.

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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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Bar Extensions Template

Top Ten Considerations When Creating A Home Bar

The finest contemporary homes are being created to accommodate an enjoyable variety of rooms that enhance the pleasures of entertaining. From capacious dining areas to the modern audio-visual room creating spaces for welcoming friends are our stock in trade, but the trend we are enjoying more than any other is the welcome return of the Home Bar.

We’ve worked on numerous Home Bars and have a sound idea of the elements you should consider when creating one; this then is our guide to the ten major considerations for creating your perfect Home Bar.

1. Style

In many ways the Home Bar is all about style, alongside a reflection of the owners’ unique taste. It’s a place that conjures a convivial mood for enjoying cocktails, aperitifs, parties, after dinner drinks or even a well chosen cigar. So it’s worth considering how you’re going to use the bar and what mood you want to convey.

If you’re like us you’ll want somewhere snug and comfortable, we’re big fans of wood paneling, discreet lighting, an impressive drinks cabinet and comfortable but striking furniture. Think of the classic American bars, amongst our favourites are the Campbell at Grand Central in New York with its huge marble bar-top, and Melbourne’s Everleigh with its clubby sophisticated interior.

If you prefer something more funky and modern consider seamless lines, interesting shapes and influences of gleaming wood and chrome. We love the Dog & Badger in Medmenham, Buckinghamshire with its sleek mahogany and cedar bar evoking the sweeping lines of a classic Riva Launch from the Italian lakes.

2. Lighting

No one likes walking into a halogen bright bar; bad lighting is the biggest mood killer any bar can have. So it’s really important that you install integrated mood lighting.

Discreet lighting throughout the bar can create an intimate atmosphere, perfect for relaxing. We’d recommend hidden lighting within the cabinets and storage spaces. Soft lighting picking out reflections and shadows in glassware helps create a mood while subtle lights can be integrated into any piece of bar furniture but look especially good glowing from within the bar top itself.

3. Finishes & Work Surfaces

We get especially excited about working on a bar because the combinations for different finishes and work surfaces are endless. We’ve already mentioned how fabulous mahogany can look as does walnut, but think of the possibilities for creating something truly individual with the bar-top. Wanting a classic Zinc bar is understandable but there are so many other finishes to make your bar unique such as copper, polished concrete, slate or cherry.

It’s fun to contrast the finished bar itself with oak surfaces for shelving while the cabinetry favours discreet smoky shades.

4. Furniture

In a bar you need to be comfortable and if you’re creating your own space you can be expressive too. If you’ve ever wanted to create your own perfect bar stool this is your opportunity. Depending on the size of your Home Bar you could also have a few tall or low bar tables with comfortable bucket seats or leather armchairs, created especially for the space.

The fun part is thinking about the upholstery, for example we came across a bar in Madrid where every stool was covered with beautiful cowhide, though personally we like to be more subtle favouring rich fabrics and antique leather.

5. Mirrors

Mirrors always look good in a bar, they give the room a feeling of space but can also be used to enhance the ambiance. They can be used in clever ways such as behind the shelving where glassware is displayed or in cocktail cabinets enhancing the soft lighting within, but large mirrors can also be a feature on their own.

Amongst our favourites to use when creating a bar are antiqued or smoked mirrors that create a feeling of luxury, giving the whole room a discreet impression of space.

6. Storage

Every home bar needs ample storage, which is where creative cabinetry plays such an important role. Think about everything that needs to live in the bar; spirits, beers, wines and mixers; cocktail making equipment, sharp knives, ice buckets and chopping boards; glassware that can serve everything from a Martini to a Craft Beer; and even books containing your favourite cocktail recipes. You also want the cabinets and shelves to look great but be functional too.

Our recommendation is to never underestimate the storage you’ll need, but make sure the units are fantastic pieces of furniture with wonderful dovetails, subtle pocket doors that can slide away and discreet lighting. Think too about the ironwork; handles need to complement the style of the bar, which is why we love the industrial styles of Buster & Punch.

7. Wine & Beer Fridges

Every home bar needs refrigeration; wine, beer and mixers need to be kept cold, as do garnishes for cocktails, so a good fridge is an essential investment. And we’ve always thought Vodka straight from the freezer is always much better too! Don’t forget you’ll also need copious amounts of ice so a fridge that can deliver straight into an ice bucket is also worth considering.

No one likes the distraction of a humming appliance so consider low noise level options, we recommend Gaggenau at the luxury end of the market, but if you’re after an efficient workhorse Fisher & Paykel can’t be beaten.

8. Wine Storage

A specific wine fridge is a brilliant addition to any Home Bar and can also be an interesting focal point. Modern wine fridges are not just for whites either, multizone fridges are available from companies such as Eurocave to keep red and white at different temperatures with capacities from as small as two bottles up to 100+.

Many Home Bars combine a wine fridge with an elegant wine storage and display unit, that can be handcrafted to accommodate as many bottles as you need.

9. Sinks & Ice Troughs

All the best bars have a lot of sink capacity, not just for washing up but for storage too. One of our favourite bespoke items to create is an ice trough, which can be filled with ice to keep beers and spirits suitably chilled.

You should also consider hot and cold water options. The latest innovation from Quooker, the CUBE combines their existing boiling/cold tap with a Sparkling water option to deliver filtered chilled sparkling water straight from the tap.

10. Dishwasher

Perhaps the most practical part of your Home Bar is the dishwasher. Someone has to clean up at the end of the day, but there’s no reason why you can’t have something stylish that integrates well into the overall design of the bar to do the hard work, which is why we recommend Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawers. Each discreet Dishdrawer is a self contained dishwasher but they can be configured in stacked units if extra capacity is needed.

Everything in your Home Bar should be elegant and stylish right down to the dishwasher!

For more information about creating the ideal Home Bar please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.