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Posts Tagged ‘Bespoke Kitchen Dorset’

Case Study – ‘Fire & Water’ Kitchen

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Our ‘Case Studies’ are an opportunity to take a more in depth look at projects from a design perspective…

Our latest kitchen is our most spectacular and complex yet; it has two islands, a drum walk-in larder, stunning elm, burr elm and walnut timbers, a rare and beautiful stone worktop, and if it’s all too much to take in you can take a seat on one of our bespoke stools at the island bar and open up the incredible drinks cabinet.

Watch the film that follows the ‘Fire & Water’ project from start to finish; from making in the workshop through the on-site fitting to the completion of a kitchen masterpiece.

Well-known kitchen industry writer Gramhame Morrison’s take on the film…“All of detail that goes into this outstanding kitchen is captured in the Fire & Water video. While it is possible albeit extremely unlikely that you may see a better kitchen in 2016 (and don’t forget that this is a real kitchen in a real home), you ain’t gonna see a better video.” For the full review click here.

When Simon was approached by a potential new client to design a kitchen for his substantial new-build home near the South coast, the brief was a dream: ‘to come up with something really different” for what is an enormous space by most domestic standards. Sounds simple and straight forward and with lots of space to play with it seemed the only boundaries were in Simon’s own imagination. However, to design a kitchen which is practical and beautiful as well as unusual is much harder than it sounds.

Having this much space is a luxury but it needs to be managed skilfully if it is to be put to its best use. A single island in the centre of a large space can easily end up being too big to be practical – what use is an island if you can’t reach the centre of it, or if it feels like you to walk a marathon in the preparation of even the simplest of meals? Conversely, to put all the aspects of the kitchen against the walls would be to create a barn-like space with no atmosphere or ambience and is wholly impractical. Other designers had been in and come up with just that, a single large square island and a wall of floor to ceiling cabinetry containing most of the appliance. Nothing wrong it that, but the clients were looking for a more creative solution.

The answer, it turns out, is simple – two islands; practical, beautiful and unusual. Creating two islands which complement each other and work in harmony with the rest of the kitchen was the next challenge and it was the third or fourth attempt at drawing them which was to whet the client’s appetite. Inspired by the concept of Yin and Yang, the design grew from the separation of the two key elements required in the preparation of food – fire for cooking and water for cleansing.

The islands run at an unusual 30 degree angle to the back oven wall. Opening out and creating a clear route to the glazed ‘orangery’ living space via the drinks cabinet and island seating. It was always conceived as a very open and sociable space, allowing the activities of work and conversation to happen very naturally.

There is also a nautical ‘boat’ feel to the shapes of the islands, emphasised by the dropped ceiling canopy which floats over the centre echoing the forms and looking like it’s heading out to sea; very apt considering the location on the South coast and the client’s interests. The elm trim around the canopy helps that illusion of floating, especially in the evenings with the gentle wash of warm led lights in the alcove above.

In this big space it’s hard to get the sense of scale; the ‘Water Island’ alone is nearly four and half metres long. Along its straight, inner edge, it contains all the water services: sink, hot water tap, integrated dishwasher and waste disposal unit, as well as plenty of practical kitchen storage, drawers and even some specially designed bespoke trays. The outer curved side incorporates a feature burr sideboard with cupboard storage as well as cutlery and crockery drawers, effectively serving the kitchen dining table.

The ‘Fire Island’ is shorter because of the angle it sits to the back wall. It contains pan drawers, general storage, the all important induction hob flush, to the granite worktop, as well as the cantilevered raised bar area to seat two. There is no wasted space anywhere in this kitchen, every centimetre is efficiently put to use.

Although it is the islands and canopy that immeditely grab the visual attention, the backdrop of the oven, coffee, fridge-freezer and larder wall units gives balance to the space behind. We were determined to make this run of wall units full of appliances exciting to look at with varying elevation depths, lit recesses, curves and different height cornices.

The run starts on the left with the feature curved drum larder unit. It’s a real ‘tardis’ inside those big burr elm doors. As they are opened, the internal LED lights come on to reveal vast amounts of storage on shelves and in deep drawers. There are also adjustable racks on the backs of the curved doors for more bottles, jars and spices. All the dry non-perishable, food items are in one place at the heart of the kitchen.

The central element of this run contains all the ovens, large pan drawers, the coffee machine and a deep, lit alcove and work-surface to line up the coffee cups or put a hot roasting tin straight from the oven. Added interest is created by arranging the Miele appliances in an ‘L-shape’ configuration.

To the right of this wall run is the fridge and freezer cabinet. There is only so much you can do with the fridges and freezers; they are big ‘lumps’ to be blunt. We did what we could to soften the hard shape of integrated Gaggeneau units adding detail with the scalloped walnut door handles in horizontal elm panels.

The wine cooler which stands to the right of the main double doors into the kitchen is also a top of the range Gaggeneau. Like Miele it is a beautifully made and engineered German appliance that doesn’t disappoint. The wine fridge again is integrated into our cabinetry. Its bulk is visually softened by the glass door and our treatment of the cabinet, but it is still an imposing piece in the corner of the room. We had space to incorporate a rack for 2 further cases of wine. After all, you can never have too much wine storage!

We have used the burr elm on the 3 feature pieces in the room – the sideboard element in the ‘Water’ island, on the drum larder and finally on the large display and drinks cabinet. This is a real ‘piece of furniture’, a big statement piece which in the large space looks well proportioned. It contains a beer and mixers fridge in the bottom section, lit glass display sections to either side, and the main drinks cabinet behind curved sliding tambour doors in the top middle section. We all love this piece because it is quirky, striking to look at, but also technically a challenge to make.

It’s just a step away from the raised bar on the ‘Fire’ island where you can perch on one of our ‘Guinness & Murphy’ stools and talk to people while they work in the kitchen. We have produced lots of bars, cabinets and drinks related furniture over the years, in fact there is an article here on the STP blog dedicated to it!

The final element is the kitchen dining area. We made a set of 6 ‘Gabriel’ chairs with seats covered in lovely woven purple and gold fabric which beautifully sets off the elm and walnut. We made the table top in hand cut radiating elm veneers; very simple but stunning when combined with the fluted café style metal base. This, along with the foot frames of the stools, was bespoke bronze plated, and they all look incredible.

This was very much a whole room solution rather than just a kitchen. It is designed to echo with the client’s lifestyle, interests and needs, with the social aspects as important as the practical working needs of a kitchen.

Our clients are completely delighted with the project. During the photo shoot one of them said to me, “We love our kitchen, is so beautiful and yet so practical.” As designers and makers of very bespoke kitchens we know we’ve done our job when we hear that. The best kitchens come out of a successful collaboration between client and designer. That takes time and effort, but it will be worth it!

If you’d like to talk to Simon about a kitchen project please get in contact, initial conversations and ideas cost nothing. For more of our kitchen case studies click here.

All images taken by Double Exposure Photographic / Video work by Watershed PR

Latest Kitchen Project Takes Shape

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Our latest luxury bespoke kitchen is taking shape in a new build house in the leafy streets of Branksome Park, Poole. It is our biggest kitchen project to date with two islands, a wall of 5 ovens with matching coffee machine, a huge walk-in drum larder and everything else you could ever dream of a kitchen needing – this has it covered! We recently spent two weeks fitting the kitchen, and although it’s not completely finished yet we thought you’d might enjoy this time-lapse video of those 2 weeks compressed into 47 seconds!

If Chopin lulls you into thinking fitting looks like an easy and relaxed affair I can assure you it never is, but this one went well. We are back in during the early part of 2015 to do all the finishing touches once all the other trades have left site. Then we can hand over to the clients who are delighted and keen to be in. There is a full feature length video that follows this project from start to finish. It will show much more of the making side as well as the completed kitchen in all its glory. Expect that in spring 2015.

In the meantime, here’s another little taster video of me doing a walk and talk though the oven wall, larder and fridges. Oh yes – and the wine fridge!

Purbeck Art Weeks Open Workshop

Monday, May 20th, 2013

We are just getting ready to welcome visitors to our 2013 Open Workshops, as part of the Purbeck Art Weeks Festival (PAW). The workshop and gallery, based in the north of Purbeck near Briantspuddle, will be open from 10am till 5pm every day from Saturday 25 May through till Friday 7 June.

This year Simon will be exhibiting examples of his exquisitely designed tables, chairs, cabinets, desks and occasional pieces. You will be able to wonder around the workshops, see current work in progress and talk to the makers as they work. There will also be the rare opportunity to buy some ex-display pieces for sale at less than half price, it’s a real chance to bag a bespoke bargain! The dining tables pictured below are two such pieces, for more specific information about size materials and cost click here.

Most of Simon’s work is one-off commissions, unique pieces made to individual requirements, so if there is a piece you have always wanted made – whether it’s a small side table or fitted library, a dining set or one of Simon’s incredible kitchens, do come and have an informal chat about your ideas.

There will be a good selection of new work on show including ‘Rosa’, our stunning new dressing table. ‘Floating Bench’ a new garden piece recently taken on by Liberty’s as part of their ‘Outdoor Living Collection’ will also be on display.

Locally produced cheese and breads will be available over the weekends, along with a glass of something cold to compliment the warm welcome. If you hold the fairly commonly held opinion that things in this country are not made the way they used to be, then Simon’s workshop is a good place to go to dispel that idea.

Purbeck Art Weeks – Saturday 25th May – Friday 7th June, Open from 10am – 5pm. (Please note we are not open for the final weekend of the event which runs until Sunday 9th June). For information on performances and all the artists and makers taking part in PAW visit the event website.

John’s Top 5 Favourite Projects

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Over the next month key members of the STP team will be selecting their top 5 favourite pieces of furniture from the archives. They could be old, they could be new, there is nothing borrowed, but there is something blue! It may be that they loved the design, or some technical aspect of making it. It may be the timber or the combination of materials. There will be an image plus little explanation of why they selected it. First up is John.

John Beaves joined Simon in 2000 after completing the HND Furniture Course at Buckinghamshire University. Now an experienced cabinet maker with an eye for detail, John became a director of Simon Thomas Pirie Ltd in 2007 when the business expanded and moved. As well as being ‘on the bench’, much his role now focuses on the management of what goes through the workshops here at Briantspuddle.

So the first of John’s top 5 selections, in reverse order…

5. “This is the first kitchen we ever did so it has lots of positive memories for us, but I particularly love that centre dresser cabinet in sycamore and lacewood (or London Plane). The combination of timbers is unusual and very beautiful, making it appear light and airy, but the proportions also right.”

In a sense this piece was a bit on an accident. The original intention was to completely open the space up but it was less expensive to leave a pillar in what was originally an outdoor load-bearing wall. Simon had to design something that would hide the pillar and become a stunning feature piece in its own right. All our kitchens feel more like a collection of furniture pieces rather than ‘fitted’ units, but that’s especially true of this. We played around with leading the eye to the back corner of the room to make it seem larger with another cabinet, this time in burr elm. This kitchen is in a lovely Georgian house on the edge of the New Forest, and as first kitchens go it’s a pretty impressive one. We worked with interior designer Yvonne Hellier on this project which was great fun”.

4. Is the Impala dining chair. Originally designed as a restaurant chair it soon became our best seller in the domestic environment.

“We have lost count of how many we have made but at a rough guess we think it’s around 250 since 2000 when the oak prototype pictured was designed and made.

Although we have made it in just about every timber combination imaginable we have rarely strayed from the original design. For example we have only ever made two pairs of carvers over the years, both of which where specially requested orders. We did make a lower back set once but they lacked the elegance without the tall slatted backs. It’s their simplicity which is the key, but they are also very comfortable.”

3. Another larger project – our North Dorset blue madrona burr and elm bar. Told you there was some blue on the way, and very striking it is – down to the colours, textures and a brave client who wanted to have a bit of fun! John’s take on it:

“I particularly like the lit recessed shelves at the back, but it was all very groovy. Lots of our trademark features like those curved doors in here. We used a professional commercial stainless steel bar system with fridges, sinks, ice makers, cocktail trays and the full works behind the timber bar front. Could quite easily be in a luxury hotel somewhere glamourous. The elm played a lovely mellow role against that blue burr and a repeating square-check man made veneer. We also did the study and kitchen for the same clients.”

To see the full case study and more images of this project click here.

2. “I suspect this would have made everyone here’s list, but I’m first so I get it on mine. The elm console table with matching mirror. Everything has a curved front including that dissecting shelf on the mirror. The elm is offset with sycamore details and a drawer handle made from the most subtle of walnuts – an English grown black (or Virginia) walnut.

We have made a few of these in various woods, but this was the first and my favorite because the elm was so beautiful- full of pippy cat-paw burrs. Over the years i’ve really grown to love elm, it’s full of characterful grain and unusual colours – greens, silvers, reds and browns. That does make it difficult to select and use, but get it right and it’s wonderful. Most of ours comes from Scotland these days, but the disease does continue to spread north, especially when we have mid winters. Lets hope one day elm makes a return in our countryside.

I love the way that the mirror and table work together. Every home should have one, by law!”

1. So, here it is, John’s very favorite piece of all time. The ‘Lozenge’ dining table. Again, it’s something that may well have made all our lists.

“Lozenge refers to the shape of the top, an oval with straight ends, it’s not only an elegant shape but very practical, fitting into most modern spaces (which are rectangular) and allowing a more organic flow around it. Not only that but as the longs sides carry the curve you can actually see everyone who’s on the same side of the table as you. It’s a very sociable shape.

This one is in the classic timber combination of an oak top with a walnut underframe. The other thing I love about this table is the lovely curved frame and leg structure. Those beams are made of a reformed solid laminates – lots of thin strips of wood from the same board glued back together in sequence. We colour the glue so you just cant tell it’s been laminated. It’s very strong and it’s no accident it looks a bit like a bridge – Simon loves looking at bridge’s and structures, he’s even designed a few! The other detail I like is the way the double leg detail appears to come through into the top, we actually rout an end-grain blocks into the top which is very effective.

That shot of the table side on showing the curved beam structure is an image I never get bored of. We have used it in every brochure we have done.

We actually have a lozenge table for sale in oak and walnut which is coming back from a client who has just moved house and down-sized. It’s a bit big for their new living space so we are designing them something else. It’s in very good condition but we will refinish it anyway. Seats 6 to 8. Size: L200m x W110cm (widest at centre) x 75cm high. Sale price £2500, which is half the cost of a new one to commission. For further details and images contact Simon.

Click here to see Simon’s top 5

Click here to see Mike’s top 5