Landford Stone source and stock granite from around the world; Guild Anderson Furniture make elegant, understated, bespoke kitchens: the well-established relationship between the two, family-run companies is a good combination.
There are strong parallels in ethos between the businesses. Each provide a premium bespoke service and make it a priority to really understand their customers – intersecting in house interiors.
For ten years, Guild Anderson have been designing and installing handmade furniture, every piece made to fit precisely in kitchens, bathrooms and utilities. Designer, Nick Anderson, has worked with many granite suppliers over the years. His preference for Landford Stone is due to their determination to go the extra mile. The stone yard holds an enormous variety of stock – over 600 different slabs. Nick appreciates the ability Landford gives to his clients to view and feel a truly comprehensive choice of stone on one site. A worktop is just one element of a Guild Anderson kitchen or bathroom design, but it is an important dimension in the final look of a room.
Twenty years ago, there was little choice of material. Today, there are granites, marbles, limestones and high quality, man-made quartz composites with a huge variety of depth and tone. Landford have an exceptionally good insight into this market. Founded forty years ago by Molly Fisher, her Son, Grandson, Granddaughter and Nephew have joined Molly in different parts of the company.
Son and Buying Director, Clinton Rae, travels the world to track down interesting new stone. Because Landford deals directly with the quarries, their pricing is competitive and Molly will not accept a lower grade stone. She describes how Clinton inspects and photographs the stone in the quarries overseas and double checks the slabs on arrival in the UK.
There are huge variances as the stone is quarried, and customers are encouraged to take samples away to see how the colours look at home and live with them, before choosing the exact slab in the stone yard for their kitchen. Molly says people need to build a relationship with the stone. It is a very personal decision and she is adamant that despite the wide choice, you will know which is the right one for you.
Landford also offer a stone selection and search service. Molly describes with well-deserved satisfaction the elation from a successful quest to locate the last slab of stone, sought for a perfect match in a Grade I listed building and cut from the original block of a defunct quarry. It is this level of skill and attention to detail that makes it a very positive, if informal, collaboration with Guild Anderson – and a relationship which, at the end of the day, can make a difference to easing at least one part of a complex project for a client.
Both Molly and Nick agree the benefits of a stone worktop far out weigh cost: hardwearing and permanent, it will look good for a lifetime. Molly says emphatically, ‘A hand-made, hand-painted kitchen, finished with a natural worksurface, interesting handles and taps, can create an incredibly sophisticated and elegant effect – it is the kitchen we all dream of’.
Perception of pricing has changed enormously over the years. Since demand for stone worksurfaces in the UK rocketed through the 1970’s and ‘80’s, it has become an accepted rather than prohibitive cost for most kitchen designs today.
Nick points out that most clients invest in a new kitchen with an eye to house value as much as for pleasure. With extensive renovations, it would be inconsistent to install a cheaper, laminate alternative. Furthermore, a stylish, undermounted or Belfast sink needs a solid surface like granite to cut through and remain waterproof. A stone or quartz worktop is the only sensible option around an Aga or oven, although in a larger kitchen, Nick suggests softening and balancing granite surfaces with a central island or other area topped with wood.
The birth of the internet has been a mixed blessing – customers can track down independent companies like Landford more easily and prices are more transparent. But Molly tells of horror stories where clients have come back in desperation to ask for help to restore an ‘inexpensive’ stone, bought on-line, that cracked under a hot pan and burned because it was a cheap, commercial-grade granite simply dyed black – and no chance of redress from the internet supplier.
Both Guild Anderson and Landford Stone know their stone and are experts on how to use it, albeit from different perspectives: Nick is adept at including worksurface selection and installation as an integral part of a project; Landford’s depth of knowledge and breadth of worksurface stone is second to none.
Friends and business colleagues, the Guild Anderson/Landford Stone team makes a very useful partnership for clients.
Molly Fisher, Landford Stone: T 01794 324232 / www.landfordstone.co.uk