A compact and versatile mobile workstation. The contemporary kitchen is less 'fully fitted' and blends the efficiency of fitted units with some free-standing furniture - more flexible and less regimented. The Cook's trolley draws from Victorian kitchen units, the use of stone worktops, and the proper old Spitalfields butcher's block.
Design, styling and finish can range from traditional (here) to highly contemporary, with crisp simple lines, light woods or paint finishes, black quartz, stainless steel, etched glass...
Each Cook's Trolley is made to order and the exact size is decided by you.
The working height can be standard to align with fitted kitchen tops (900mm normally) or adjusted to suit your optimum working height (often lower - see worktop heights in The Journal).
Features are extensive but flexible - shelves, rails, drawers and accessories are all to customer specification.
Another example, in beech with granite top, is shown lower down the page.
Build: approx. 4 - 6 weeks. Guide price depending on final spec: from £950 (version shown here £1000 excluding beech cutting block, £80 extra).
Three drawers under open from either side and close flush. Hand-forged hooks, solid beech butcher's block.
Professional-grade locking castors, oak rails and shelves.
Lots of storage, just where you want it
Maximum practical storage in a compact mobile unit. The exact choice of shelves and drawers are all a part of the customer options.
Solid beech butcher's block
Made the traditional way. Solid end-grain English beech so both faces are identical. Solid beech frame, hand-turned oak handles.
Choose your top, size and height
The worktop can be any material I can get. Favourites are solid stones (marble here, or granite, quartz, slate...) or more contemporary stainless steel or Corian.
Choose the size for your space and how you work. This one is 860 x 540mm.
Worktop height is optimised for you - the standard kitchen worktop height (900mm) will align with other worksurfaces. Or I can advise on an ideal working height for you - there is a lot of evidence and opinion that a little lower is ideal.
Traditional joinery throughout
Solid hardwoods (even when painted, this one is solid English cherry).
All drawers are made the traditional way with solid hardwood sides and back, and cedar of Lebanon drawer bases fitted in drawer slips. The drawer base underside is finished with a scrub plane - a centuries-old detail. And the cedar of Lebanon emits a very subtle and pleasing aroma.
The drawers open either side (matchbox style) and discreetly centre-close (using hidden rare earth magnets).
Hand forged hooks
It's all in the detail. These hooks are made for me in England, in a proper old forge (there are very few left capable of making tools or furniture hardware). No two are exactly the same.
The rails here are English oak, hand turned.
Granite top, beech with fumed oak shelves. I really like the charcoal granite and beech together.
Fumed oak finials, burnished ebony drawer knobs.
Cedar of Lebanon drawer bases, and excellent depth to the natural granite (unlike the reconstituted 'granite' that abounds.
Hand-forged hooks from 'John the Blacksmith'. The fumed oak was used on the shelves so they recede a little but also so they don't show marks so easily.
Mirror with sconce
I had wanted to create a mirror sconce for years, and was further reminded by the film Sweeney Todd (Ray Winstone) - his barber's shop was illuminated by them. I searched everywhere for a decent sconce and gave up - they are all too ornate, some are downright ugly. I am now working on producing some simpler ones in solid brass or bronze.
There is something very special about candle light, and the use of mirrors to alter the perception of a space is also important - so the combination is fascinating to me. This version is one of a series of different designs. The Gothic arch here is strongly period, but others are and will be more contemporary, rather understated. These mirrors work very well in pairs.
Shown here in English oak with solid brass. Height 340mm.
Prices from around £120.
Solid oak and brass. The candles are custom-made to size and shape. Best quality beeswax, slow burning and clean (approx 8 - 10 hours).
The Gothic arch is key-jointed in the traditional way... mirror back is Cedar of Lebanon, around 4mm thick.
The mirror can be bevelled as an option. A wide choice of woods or paint finishes is available.
Great care went into the design of the transitions from simple frame to the mount for the sconce. Even the oak is carefully selected so the grain flow is symmetrical across the front.
A tough, hard-working low table in ash with turned legs.
Base is finished with a amber shellac wipe followed by Farrow & Ball Hague Blue. If or when the base becomes worn or chipped the darker tones of the wood below show through, emulating the old distressed look.
The top is finished in a very tough acrylic, which helps keep the light tones of the ash.
A srtong utility look - ash top with painted base.
There is a substantial knot in the middle of one of the top boards - all included to add a bit of character. This table gets climbed on, knocked and banged. It's made to take all that.
A slim 3-drawer console table in poplar (tulipwood). The wood was chosen for its colour and streaks of green-grey which will tend towards coffee colours over time.
Turned legs, traditional drawers, hand turned knobs are in pear wood, a shade darker to add a little contrast.
Quite fine proportions suit the lighter woods and overall form.
Dovetailed drawers, hand turned knobs in pearwood. Finished in a hard wax/oil.
Child's day bed
It's a bit of a leap from the cot to the bed. This versatile nursery bed was designed to bridge the gap but also to greatly extend its useful life.
Made to a standard size (160 x 70cm) it is the size of many children's beds, but also provides a sense of security from within, due to the side-screens.
It was also conceived to be a really good place to lounge or huddle with a good book.
A versatile addition for the nursery
They grow so quickly it's hard to keep up, so this flexible cot / daybed was designed to be useful for far longer.
It takes the standard 160 x 70cm mattress size, and meets all relevant safety standards.
Solid ash throughout, but a similar bed could happily be more traditional (turned legs for example) or quite contemporary with crisp lines, in a solid colour or limewood - which happens to be one of my favourite woods for interiors at the moment.
The opposite of flat-pack...
Made entirely as one - though it is small enough to move upstairs or through doors. Hand shaped and finished - here in a very thin satin laquer, to retain the pale beauty of the English ash.
My usual approach to finishes is to use less. I do not like high-build varnishes, I generally don't like shiny and I don't like stains either. If you want a certain wood colour, use that certain wood.
loads of storage
Two large drawers under go all the way back. They ride on castors within guides on the underside of the bed, so they can be used either side and taken out fully. The knobs are hand-turned in ash and may be very slightly different to each other. That's handmade for you.
Attention to detail
The contoured back reflects the lowered sides at the front and helps give the overall piece a sense of harmony. And it breaks the monotony of the usual straight lines.
Made to comply with all current safety legislation. Mattress is normally supplied by the customer (standard 160 x 70cm).
A solid oak planter, made for my wife's family to commemorate their late mum. By next spring it will be a riot of colour.
Incorporates a steel frame support within, and a robust liner. An airgap exists between liner and oak so air can circulate. The oak used had been partially air-dried and whilst it will move a little with humidity changes it's important the wood is not over-dry.
Finish is several wipe coats of tung oil, thinned to achieve better penetration.
Solid oak planter
Board widths are intentionally random - factories need them all to be the same.
These help shed water and protect end-grain. This shape is an old English form.
This planter will have a tough life out in all weathers. Pegged tenons are essential for long-term strength and stability.
Solid oak coffee table, size 100cm x 80cm with lower shelf.
A clean simple design to suit an interior which is a fusion of traditional and plain contemoprary.
Made to match the oak TV cabinet.
An understated design drawing from French provincial and English rural pieces, distilled into a very simple form.
Pegged tenons, red oak lower stretchers.
Oak TV cabinet with lower shelf and two pull-down doors. Solid oak throughout including tongue & groove back panels with openings for cabling.
The lower doors use concealed barrel hinges and highest quality brass stays, small brass ball catches. The intention is to make them look like drawers.
This cabinet was made together with the oak coffee table, as a matched pair.
Two pull-down doors with concealed barrel hinges so they look like drawers.
Solid brass stays are made in England, cast then hand finished. The best available.
Hand turned knobs, highest quality quarter-sawn oak with excellent figuring.
A series of tough, rigid worktables for an office in Shoreditch. The stretcher assembly provides excellent leg clearance whilst being very stiff. Portals for network cabling are centred in the top.
Nine tables were made in all, the first 5 needing to be fast to assemble or dismantle - they have concealed bolts fixing the tops down. The remainder have more permanent tops attached with traditional buttons to allow for movement over time.
This design is intentionally quite utilitarian, and was inspired by old work tables - one in particular in a furniture makers in Shoreditch c1830. The client's offices are in Shoreditch so it seemed appropriate.
High quality softwoods with oak detailing. 3 metre long, 1 metre wide. The twin stretchers with robust leg structures make this table very rigid and strong.
the 'quarter tonner'
For the same client, a larger version. 4.8 metre by 1.7 metre. Overlapped stretchers lock a central leg support in place. The top is in 4 quarters. It became referred to as the quarter-tonner during the build.
Strong and stiff
The wedged structure is inherently strong - here the wedges are fumed oak. Lower tenons are pegged (oak again) and the upper ones are wedged.
At this stage the stretcher ends await final shaping, and finish is to be applied.
Ten times the size...
After various sketches I decided it was as quick to make a model. The model proved invaluable later in making detailed adjustments to the form and sections in order to get the balance just right.
The client wanted 5 tables which had to be fast to assemble and take apart. This design achieves that and yet is incredibly robust once put together.
Linen and wine cabinet
A compact floor-standing cabinet in oak with 4 trays for wine (24 bottles) and a deep drawer for table linen.
Made from carefully selected quarter sawn oak with some excellent figuring.
The wine trays slide forward and soft-close (using premium Hafele fittings, totally concealed). When loaded the weight is around 22Kg so strength and durability is essential. A complete inner carcase supports the wine trays and its weight bears through to the plinths, avoiding any load bearing in the main outer carcase.
Main drawer is solid oak with Cedar of Lebanon base. The oak knobs were hand-turned and given a very light fume to add a little contrast.
Linen and wine cabinet
Nicely figured quarter-sawn oak. Four trays run on hidden steel runners with soft-close.
Deep linen drawer with cedar of lebanon base, hand-turned knobs. Traditional drawer construction with dovetails, slips - all done the old way.
24 bottles in 4 trays. Heavy duty Hafele runners with soft-close - the runners are completely hidden.
detailed using hand-tools
Oak knobs hand turned, light fumed to darken a little. The flutes were cut using a scratch stock, the old way.
Solid English ash throughout, with raised panels and turned finials. Clear pale laquer finish to preserve the blond natural colour of the ash.
Wide range of styles, woods and finishes available - every one will be subtly unique.
Air-dried and selected for it's blonde colour throughout (the heartwood tends to be darker and is often referred to as olive ash). Hand-cut raised panels, blind wedged tenon joints (known as fox tenons). The strength of the ash allows the overall proportions to be quite slender.
Hand turned finials
Solid oak doors and facia panels to fit standard carcase units.
These were made to match some existing doors and feature lift-off hinges and concealed door-pull profiles.
Finish is a very light oil left a day or so, then a fine matt cellulose sealer. The originals are a more honey colour, and I hope and expect these will age to match over time.
Solid English oak with oak facia frames
Made to fit directly onto standard carcase units. They are all custom-made so any configuration of fitted units (old or new) can be matched exactly.
Flush doors, lift-off hinges
These doors needed to exactly replicate existing ones. Finding the correct hinges was a journey but an almost exact match was achieved.
Profiled door-pulls, clean classic lines
These are a nice departure from mass-produced kitchens - traditional hinges (the originals have lasted 30 years with no sign of wear at all) and concealed door pull profiles so no knobs or handles. The finger-pull profiles have compound curves. The originals will have been produced on a spindle moulder using a custom cutter profile, but good old moulding planes (hollows and rounds) were used here.
A compact oak bookcase with drawers.
The design is quite traditional, but the proportions were actually taken from an older Laura Ashley bookcase I saw somewhere. The combination of 2 shelves and 2 drawers is very practical and helps give a really good sense of proportion.
Materials are oak carcase, burr oak inlay panels with boxwood stringing.
Drawer bases are traditional softwood, set in slips.
Bookcase - oak with burr inlays
Small enough to fit in a spare wall-space. Big enough for a good and varied read.
The inlay edged with box is very traditional - the light box colour helps frame the burr and adds a little contrast - otherwise the oak and burr get a bit lost together.
Usual dovetails, solid drawer base in slips, brass knobs. The knobs are 'antique' finish... I should probably have stripped the finish off and let the brass age naturally but the alternative at the time was bright brass, far too shiny.
Solid rustic oak, with pine internal shelves. All joints pegged, finished in tung oil.
Boot Locker in oak
Solid oak with pine shelves. Traditional pegged joints add to the overall appearance of a utility piece where function and durability are paramount.
Oak door latch
The door latch is a simple slider made of oak. This is a very old design but was reintroduced by Ercol in the 60s. Rarely seen but a very attractive and practical way of closing a pair of cabinet doors.
Heirloom box in wild cherry and London plane (often called lacewood).
The heirloom box is now almost forgotten as a traditional wedding gift (normally from the bride’s parents to the bride). Catherine Middleton was given one, made by Ian Hawthorne (see ‘Chums’). But they can be equally relevant as a Christening gift, for an anniversary or graduation.
I use solid hardwoods and traditional joinery (dovetails for example). This places extreme importance on the selection of woods, their handling and preparation - to ensure lasting stability.
I don't make many boxes and every one will be totally unique, usually starting with a detailed briefing discussion. Overall size, intended contents and likely surroundings are all considered with care..
A box like this will take as long to make as a full size cabinet, but given good time and a clear brief I will make it sensibly affordable.
*The Crown Estate is removing selected planes from within the Tower, to be replaced by oaks. Confusingly, London plane is actually a French native, not English at all.
Handmade using fine solid hardwoods
Many boxes use a base of manmade board finished with fine veneers. I prefer to use solid hardwoods throughout. I go to very considerable lengths to source the ideal woods. They have to be extremely stable (over decades or more) and will always be air-dried and old.
This box uses wild English cherry with London plane (known as lacewood) for drawers. The knobs and bun-feet are Madagascar ebony (hand-turned).
The London plane used here actually grew within the grounds of The Tower of London. (It's a long story but some of the planes there are being replaced by oaks - the 'London' plane really being a French native.)
Traditional dovetails and mouldings
All cabinet joinery is traditional - dovetails, mortice & tenons etc. The final profile of mouldings was created using an old hand-tool called a scratch-stock (see 'First you make the tool' in the Journal).
The ebony knobs are hand-turned (freehand) so vary a tiny amount. This is a part of what I feel defines 'hand-made'.
The tray is lined with finest kid leather. The recessed higes are made by Ian Hawthorne (see 'Chums') and are the very best box hinges available anywhere.
Here you see the fine figuring of the wild Cherry.
This was the first test fit of the drawers, which are made to just fit and then trimmed very slightly (a few thousands of an inch).
The top and sides are made in two halves, bookmatched so the grain pattern is mirror-imaged about the centre vertical joint.
Walnut heirloom box
This heirloom box was a wedding gift from the bride's parents. Made from fine quality hardwoods throughout (no boards or laminates anywhere) it has been designed to store documents (A4), jewellery and keepsakes, even the fathers' OBE (in the tray compartment top left).
The process starts with discussions concerning likely use, its style/design environment and personal taste concerning woods and general colour tones. Choice of materials will evolve from that and a style board is produced (shown below).
A box like this will take as long to make as a full size cabinet. Ideally I will take several months making one of these, with much of the time spent preparing then conditioning the woods. I fit them in around other work and enjoy doing them - this makes them sensibly affordable.
Wild English walnut, ebony banding
The walnut was chosen for its dramatic grain figuring, and the fact that it had been milled many years ago so was going to be very stable.
The ebony is Madagascar and is reclaimed. I severely restrict my use of 'exotic' timbers these days but some of these woods manage to find a second life.
It starts with a style board
I will often produce a style board - a gathering of key materials in their approximate proportions. This helps me and the client check how things look together, before commiting to the actual piece. Note the inset part of a brass hinge - the metal finish needs considering too.
In this case the boxwood 'string' (at the top) was deleted as being a little over-fussy.
Pippy maple insert tray...
Canadian 'pippy' maple, fine leather tray liners, ebony tray-lifts, engraved brass plaque.
Inspired by a watch...
The tray-lifts are solid ebony, hand-shaped. Their form was inspired by the strap lugs of a 1950s IWC watch, known as bull-horn lugs. (Similar lugs can be found on some Breitlings of the period).
Solid woods throughout
The fine markings of the walnut are partly due to the way it grew (in conditions of high winds or a steep slope), creating compression within some parts of the trunk - that is where these fine ripples come from.
Each opposing face of this box was split from one thicker board, and 'bookmatched' so that the top and bottom were once one - the grain pattern is matched. The same is true of each opposing side.