Brandy Lane is an intriguing house and a building of contrasts. The interior is both modern and traditional, in light and dark finishes, and with a layout that is both quirky and conventional. It is an enormously likeable family home. The most surprising thing about Brandy Lane is that it is an entirely new build. In a loosely Arts and Crafts style, the house is finished to a fine specification, from the handmade roof tiles to the highly attractive curved guttering.
Early in the project, Guild Anderson Furniture were undertaken to work alongside the architect on plans for the house. The scope of the interior work included bespoke fitted furniture in the kitchen, boot-room, laundry and dressing room. Details for the interior were drawn up after an initial briefing with the architects to discuss plans and more generally for Head of Design, Nick Anderson, to gain a feel of what the client was looking for.
What Guild Anderson contribute to any project goes far beyond a typical ‘kitchen fitter’: with the eye of the draughtsman and an excellent sense balance, Nick’s suggested improvements to the basic plans for the house included orientation of windows and altering the layout of internal walls to create additional spaces.
Guild Anderson’s design team was left with a fairly free reign on style and layout throughout the project. Having worked with the Wiltshire-based workshop on a previous renovation and with the architect knowing they would simply make the right furniture to suit the style of the house, few modifications were made to the final designs for the interior. This is a perfect illustration of trust and how to get the best out of a team of professional craftsmen – it is sometimes hard for clients to stand back and allow the experts to create the best solution for them.
The design concept had two clear influences in the creative planning stages: firstly, at the centre of the house, there is an oval dining room which creates a curved wall in the kitchen and from which the rest of the design of the room took shape.
The second influence was the choice of the very attractive, dark wood finish. The client particularly liked the fine grain qualities of American Black Walnut and this is applied to all internal doors throughout the house as well as the kitchen island and wine cabinetry. The kitchen here is a good example of where light in a house is not necessarily compromised by darker finishes. The rich, warm depths of the timber are well balanced by large roof windows, a bright ceiling and and pale floor tiles to creating a beautifully light room.
Double doors lead from the hallway into the kitchen along the gently curved wall cabinet. Nick’s plans took advantage of the unconventional sweep of the inner wall by designing a floor to ceiling wine cabinet constructed in American Black Walnut – a stunning feature where only a handmade solution could be applied.
The American Black Walnut also makes for a striking kitchen island. The barrel cabinet at one end of the island with its ‘end grain’ butchers block is a stylish and unusual feature. Painted in Little Greene ‘French Gray’ and F&B ‘Hardwick White’, and with quartz worksurfaces and slick handles in polished nickel from Martin and Co, the interior finishes are perfect counterfoils to the darker veneered wall cabinetry.
Brandy Lane is very well serviced with appliances. This kitchen is a good example of how Guild Anderson carefully integrate appliances into their furniture so they look as neat as possible. Over the past fourteen years, the company has built a solid knowledge-base of which appliances are best suited to a project and are are careful to make them work well in a kitchen. Appliances can often be badly integrated, with a cavity either too large or too small or just not fitting correctly and ruining the overall effect. Here, the kitchen is fitted with the popular Everhot 150i, a Nespresso coffee machine and a pair of Miele dishwashers housed within the central island. The bespoke curved wall storage encloses generous shelving for wine as well as a magnificent 3-temperature zoned Miele wine fridge, flanked on either side by tall larder cabinets.
While the kitchen at Brandy Lane takes up much of the detail of the project, the workshop were also commissioned to make the hand-painted laundry room and a bespoke boot-room in oak. Notably, the design for the bench in the boot-room illustrates Guild Anderson’s ability to turn any quirks of a house to their advantage. A piece of cabinetry can be made to any size or shape needed, often crucial taking into account uneven floors, ceilings and walls so often found in older houses.
Upstairs, with a matching Tall Boy cupboard also in American Black Walnut, the dressing room displays a wall of Guild Anderson’s bespoke wardrobes set with antique mirrored glass doors and finished with leather handles.
At Brandy Lane, there is no sense of mass production or ubiquitous style anywhere in the house. Instead, from inside to out, personality, flair and original design – with more than tip of the hat to the influence of the Arts & Crafts movement – are evident throughout the interior in Guild Anderson’s personal touch and traditional craftsmanship.