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Case Study – Walnut and Elm Kitchen, Surrey

Monday, December 11th, 2017

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We have made a lot recently of our collaborations with architects and interior designers but this project in Surrey took us right back to our roots, working directly with the client to produce a truly bespoke kitchen meeting their individual needs.

The initial contact was made during a 6am email exchange on a Saturday morning (we were both clearly morning people) and was followed by a face to face meeting later the same day back in November 2015. This was the start of one of those special client and designer relationships where personalities just seem to ‘click’.

They had approached us a few months before building had started on their project to build a new home on their existing plot in Surrey. This was the perfect time frame for us to get involved, just after the main contractor had been appointed and the build plans had been finalised. A key feature was a huge family room across the back of the house to incorporate sitting and dining areas and, of course, the kitchen. The whole of the wall overlooking their substantial garden was to be glass, as was an internal wall bringing natural light into the centre of the building. This was to be the room that the family would spend most of their time in and they had spent a significant amount of time researching kitchen designers which had helped them to clarify precisely what they wanted. However, all the designs they had been presented with had a similar ‘cookie-cut’ feel and they were after an altogether more bespoke kitchen, unique to them. Images on our website and that early morning email exchange helped to convince them that Simon had the passion and the vision to deliver what they wanted.

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By the time we got involved then, the clients had a very clear idea of what they wanted. Simon helped to refine the design, listening carefully to their requirements, making suggestions and adding a number of details. This large and very light space required some careful selection of timber, too light and the cabinetry would look bleached out; too dark and the contrast would be too great. The conclusion was to go for cabinets made principally from elm with black walnut details and with stunning burr elm highlights on the key feature doors and drawer fronts. As the client explains, “Simon’s greatest value was in putting the materials and woods together and in sourcing the timber.” This intense pallet of timbers is counteracted by the choice of very stark white Corian work surfaces and the rich intensity of Jo Downs’ handcrafted, sea-green glass which together create an atmosphere of fresh calm.

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The long back wall houses all of the key kitchen appliances. The tall elm cabinets contain Miele main oven, warming drawer, steam oven and microwave combination oven. Behind burr elm doors are the integrated Liebherr fridge and freezer and the lower section houses the Miele induction hob. In order to protect the simplicity of the back wall and to leave it free for the beautiful, green glass splash-back and decorative wall plates, we fitted a Westin downdraft extractor. Having the central hob unit flanked on either side by the ovens, fridge and freezer creates a pleasing symmetry and creates an almost stage-like appearance.

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To the left of this cooking ‘stage’ the sink is at a right-angle to the rest of the kitchen. It is fitted with Quooker Nordic round twin tap which provides instant boiling water and negates the need for a kettle. Next to the sink, a horizontal tambour door, disguises the smaller appliances such as toaster or food mixer which the client uses regularly but did not wish to have on permanent display.

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The largest feature of the kitchen is the large rectangular island. Unusually for one of our kitchens, there are no appliances or water services in this island. It incorporates a range of elm cabinets and drawers down one side and seats four, on our ‘Guinness and Murphy’ stools, along the other side. There are also storage cabinets at either end and these are very subtly curved to provide a sense of movement and flow through the kitchen space.

The gentle curves of the island are echoed in the front of the more decorative breakfast cabinet which features large, curved, vertical tambour doors and contrasts with the simplicity of the island. The doors are constructed of intricate, burr elm slats which slide open to reveal a lit ripple sycamore interior that the client particularly loves because it “looks like a sheet of silk”. On either side of the tambour cabinet, there are display shelves and tucked behind these are side slivers of shelving ideal for storing cookery books.

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Another large elm cabinet with walnut details houses the Liebherr wine fridge. This is conveniently positioned so as to be easily accessed during dinner at the 12 seat dining table which features a glorious, hand-selected Wych elm top supported on a walnut under-frame. The Wych elm has a delicate green sheen which works exceptionally well with the green glass, chosen by the client for its suggestion of the movement and colour of the sea.

For us, working in such close partnership directly with the client has been refreshing and rewarding. This kitchen has been a joy to work on and we are immensely proud of the final result. At the end of this project, it seems only fair that we leave the last word to the client: “Simon communicates well and is responsive. The quality of the deliverable fully met our expectations…the kitchen was going to be functional, but our kitchen has beauty…”

All images by Double Exposure Photographic

Furniture for Sale – Winter 2017

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

We have various ex-show pieces on sale with significant reductions on what would be their ‘commissioned’ price. Once a speculative piece has done a number of exhibitions for us we feel it has ‘earned its keep’ and it’s time to find it a new home. This ensures there is always something new to look at on a visit to the Courtyard Gallery and gives us the opportunity to replace a showroom piece with new design ideas.

Although most of the furniture is usually here in the showroom at the Courtyard Workshop we are also taking part in the Making Dorset Winter Show at Bridport Arts Centre (December 7th to December 20th) so some of the pieces will be on show there for the duration of the exhibition. Please refer to the ‘Location’ text.

Unusually we are also selling a lovely piece on behalf of a client. It is a beautiful sycamore console table with our (at the time) signature ‘x’ square details in the top. We just happened to take portfolio images of it when made because we liked it so much. It’s still in very good condition and a great opportunity to buy one of our now ‘classic’ pieces from the early 2000’s

The Courtyard Gallery & Workshops are open by appointment, so if you would like to come along and see the furniture please get in contact with Simon, Bridget or John.

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Sycamore Console table

An opportunity to buy a piece of Simon Thomas Pirie history from 2004! This pre-owned piece has been very well looked after and is reluctantly available for sale as a result of our client downsizing their home.

Materials: English sycamore with black walnut ‘x’ square details and drawer interior

Dimensions: 140cm x 40cm, 80cm high

For sale: £1250 (£2550 to commission something similar new)

Current Location: Viewing by arrangement at the Courtyard Workshop

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Burr Ash and Ripple Sycamore Drinks Cabinet

New for 2017, a stunning native burr ash and figured sycamore drinks cabinet where the frame appears to float free of the cabinet section. LED lighting on sensor which comes on when doors are opened, 4 glass adjustable shelves within.

Materials: Native figured sycamore walnut with burr ash doors

Dimensions: 70cm x 46cm, 180cm high

For sale: £6750

Current Location: Making Dorset Winter Show, Bridport until 20th December / The Courtyard Workshop Showroom

There are more details and more images of this cabinet elsewhere on this blog – please click here to read more.

 

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Gently curved open oak shelves above with 2 doors and single drawer in cabinet section. A piece that would look stunning in a kitchen, reception room or hallway. The ultimate in practical contemporary furniture pieces.

Materials: Oak shelves and frame with ripple ash doors and drawers.

Dimensions: 104cm x 42cm, 222cm high

For sale: £3750 (£4750 to commission new)

Current Location: The Courtyard Workshop Showroom

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired Display Cab copy(Pair of) Ascot Display Cabinets

A pair of elegant subtle curved full height glass door display cabinets. Ideal for display of collectables, glassware etc but also as a drinks cabinet. Ideally sold as pair but will split.

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Dimensions: 96cm x 38cm, 203cm high (each)

Materials: English walnut with figured sycamore interior. LED lighting and adjustable glass shelves within.
For sale as pair: £7000 (£9,900 to commission new)

For sale individually: £3500 (£4950 to commission new)

Current Location: The Courtyard Workshop Showroom

 

 

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Gabriel Dining Chair

Pictured with walnut lozenge dining table (details below.) Gabriel chairs are available to commission in other timbers and combinations.

Materials: Black walnut with black walnut laminated back, purple and gold woven fabric.

Dimensions: 46cm x 52cm, 105cm high

For sale: £750 each (£975 each to commission new each, without fabric)

Current Location: The Courtyard Workshop Showroom

We currently have 4 of these Gabriel chairs available, we can make others to match.

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Lozenge Dining Table

Black walnut lozenge shaped top with black walnut underframe. Laminated curved structural rails with 2 pillars keeping frame away from knees. Seats 8 to 10. Available in other materials and sizes.

Materials: Black Walnut (with English walnut details in pillars)

Dimensions: 220cm x 108cm, 75cm high

For sale: £3500 (£4950 to commission new)

Current Location: The Courtyard Workshop Showroom

 

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Walnut Drinks Cabinet

Stunning English & burr walnut drinks cabinet where the frame appears to float free of the cabinet section. LED lighting on sensor which comes on when opened, 3 glass adjustable shelves within.

Materials: English walnut with burr black walnut doors

Dimensions: 78cm x 46cm, 180cm high

For sale: £5000 (£6720 to commission new)

Current Location: The Courtyard Workshop Showroom

There are more details and more images of this cabinet elsewhere on this blog – please click here to read more.

 

 

(Pair of) Pivot Drawer Console Tables

Ash-Pivit-Drawer-Console-768x1024A pair of lovely pivot drawer tables in native ash, a much under-appreciated wood! The drawers pivot from the outside edge creating an unusual but nevertheless very useful storage space (large enough for A4 plus plenty more). Perfect as a hall table to drop keys and other items into. Ideally sold as a pair but will split. Available to commission in other timbers. (We have made them in walnut and sycamore previously.)

Dimensions: 120cm x 45cm, 80cm high (each)

Materials: English ash with Scottish grey/brown leather interior.

For sale as pair: £5000 (£7250 to commission new)

For sale individually: £2750 (£3625 to commission new)

Current Location: Making Dorset Winter Show, Bridport until 20th December / The Courtyard Workshop Showroom

 

 

All of these pieces, unless otherwise stated, are available for viewing at the Courtyard Workshop Showroom, Briantspuddle, Dorset. DT2 7HJ. The showroom is open by appointment.

Exciting opportunity for a design assistant at Simon Thomas Pirie Ltd

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Simon Thomas Pirie is an award-wining bespoke furniture design and making practice. Our small but growing dedicated team of highly skilled cabinet makers make furniture, kitchens and interiors, outdoor furniture and public seating projects from our workshops near Bere Regis, Dorset. We work for private clients, interior designers, architects, developers and institutional clients.

A unique opportunity has arisen to work in the design office of this small but expanding company as the design assistant to Simon Pirie in a role that encompasses a broad range of exciting duties.

Hopefully it goes without saying that the candidate needs to have a strong interest in furniture and interior design. Ideally they would have some experience of making in a workshop environment but, if not, then be interested in how things are made and go together. There may be opportunities to help out and develop practical skills in the workshop; as part of a small dynamic team we expect any prospective candidate to be flexible and willing to help out.

There would be plenty of CAD work involved preparing client presentation drawings and working drawings for the workshop team. We work with Vectorworks on Mac so experience with that would be helpful though not essential.

We would also like the candidate to have good visualisation and rendering skills, so knowledge of Google Sketch Up Pro, the V-Ray render suite and photoshop would be desirable.

The nature of the work, like the projects we undertake is very varied. There will be days out on site, client visits and other occasions where we want help in and around the workshop. However the primary focus will be as Simon’s design assistant in the office.

Would suit graduate or student work placement but we will consider applications from anyone with the right skills and attitude.

Potential start date from September 2017. Initially for one year with the potential to become a permanent post.

Simon Thomas Pirie Ltd is located in Briantspuddle, 12 miles west of Poole and 12 miles east of Dorchester. There is no reliable public transport so having your own transport is essential.

Salary by negotiation.

We are always keen to hear from enthusiastic makers and there may be opportunities to join our workshop in the near future. If you think you would like to work for us, please send us your C.V.

This position is now full.

Studio Image by Matt Austin

A Grand Day Out

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

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Thursday 25 May 2017 was the hottest day of the year so far. The perfect day to travel to London to visit the most famous horticultural show in the world! All 3 directors, Simon, John and Bridget accompanied by John’s wife, Emily, took the opportunity to visit the new editions of Floating Bench on Sitting Spiritually’s stand at RHS Chelsea and were delighted to see how much attention they S&J Chelseawere getting. The sultry, jet-black Noir bench was the surprise hit of the show, outstripping Blonde in terms of sales, but both benches have joined the original Floating Bench as popular additions to gardens this summer.

As well as visiting Sitting Spiritually’s stand, there was plenty of time to visit other friends from Dorset, sculptor Simon Gudgeon from Sculpture by the Lakes and Richard Lee from Plankbridge Shepherds Huts, as well as viewing the show gardens and trade stands and gaining some inspiration for new designs as well as for our own gardens.

Our day was rounded off in the most perfect way with an invitation to the Furniture Makers’ Company Design Guild Mark Awards in Clerkenwell where John, Emily and Bridget were thrilled to watch Simon being presented with Design Guild Mark No.193 for Floating Bench. Simon now has his head full of ideas for more garden furniture so you can expect to see a new range taking shape soon and, who knows, maybe another Design Guild Mark may follow?

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