Fantastic Offer: Bedside Tables

Stephen has introduced an offer on our Standard One Drawer Potboard Bedside Tables.

Standard Potboard Bedside Table

These little bedside tables works perfectly with all our bed styles-from the Acorn Low Bed to the fully panelled Lyons Hall Four Poster Bed.

OFFER RUNS UNTIL 30th SEPTEMBER 2011

Standard One Drawer Bedside Tables, in pairs:

Ash  £895 (£100 saving)

Oak  £990 (£110 saving)

Each bedside table is 24″ wide, 18″ deep and 23″ high.

This offer is available to all customers purchasing a bed from us, whether that be a low bed or a four poster bed.  The bedside tables will be polished to match your bed, so could be natural right through to a dark traditional stain.

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Origins of Country Furniture

Probably one of the best places to start with the origins of country furniture is with its opposite, ‘town furniture’, although this is not referred to in quite the same way.  Town furniture would have been the contemporary furniture of its time; fashionable and stylish.  It is hard to imagine these days, with digital telecommunications and the Internet, but new ideas and fashions took time to spread.   Most people were restricted to travelling only as far as a day or two would allow, by horse, with or without a carriage.  Eventually, however, fashion reached the landed nobility, rural gentry, and wealthy yeomen, who bought the modern furniture of their day and displayed it in their homes.

Furniture had evolved over years with craftsmen developing techniques to make functional items from wood.  From the basic hollowed out log with a hinged lid, to complicated breakfront bookcases with complicated veneered panels, marquetry, or carving, and delicate glazing bars so thin that you marvel at their rigidity.  Joints were the critical development; fixing one piece of wood to another, made by tradesmen known as joiners.

Oak was widely used until 1660-1670, and this was known as the Tudor, Jacobean, or the oak period.  This decade was the turning point for furniture of the day.  In 1660, Charles II, ‘a dedicated follower of fashion’, reached the throne and introduced his tastes for French and Dutch trends which then started to influence the style of English furniture.  1666 saw the Great Fire of London, destroying over 13,000 homes, public and historical buildings but, thankfully, claiming few lives. Subsequently, there was a need for quick regeneration.  In 1667, the Rebuilding Act encouraged tradesmen into the area to help, while previously they were kept out by the lack of membership within trade Guilds.  This brought in new talent, skills and, with the monarch’s influence, there was a surge into a new era using different timbers.  These timbers included yew and cherry but, predominantly, walnut, hence the Walnut Period (1670-1730).  Gradually, these new styles trickled out into wealthy country houses of rural England and, eventually, local furniture makers caught sight of these and adapted them as best they could.  They did not always have the same degree of skill, as the teaching of these new techniques was not always available, nor the supply or money for the necessary raw materials.

Town house furniture displayed examples of the veneering of laburnum ‘oysters’ (cut from end grain), burr walnut, inlaying and marquetry, elaborate carving, the use gold leaf on gilding, black ‘japanning’ and the wider use of brass and silver.

The country furniture makers did their best, and simplified furniture followed in the trail of the fashion of the day. Gradually, less wealthy homes saw the bent back chair, ‘S’ scrolls, twisted turning, pad foot and, later, cabriole legs. Country furniture became more refined.  More slender and elegant lines were used and, with the introduction of the cabriole leg, no stretchers between the legs.

Although the majority of the country furniture was made from oak, chestnut, ash, elm, beech, yew and some fruit woods were also used. Pine (also referred to as Deal) was used and often painted, supplying those at the cheaper end of the market. In recent years, many of these pieces have been stripped and polished, revealing a very popular antique pine look, much of which has been copied within the reproduction market.

The other noticeable result of the people not travelling great distances is the development of local styles. This is particularly obvious when looking at country chairs and dressers (not just Welsh), many of which are often named by county when describing the style; North-Welsh, South-Welsh, Montgomeryshire, Cumberland, Lancashire, and Pembrokeshire dressers to name a few.  There are many fine examples of quality Welsh and Irish pine dressers.  In medieval times, there were boards on which people stored cups, hence ‘cupboards’.  The next development was the tier system, as found on the rack (the top half) of a dresser.  Eventually these were covered in, to reduce the cleaning required, but still kept the name ‘cupboard’.

Chairs developed from simple stools or longer benches.  ‘Properly’ joined chairs were very time consuming to make by hand (and still are) and were heavier in style. Tricky angles, shaped legs, accurate shoulders on tenons, drop-in seats, all take time to make.

The rural craftsmen developed the stick-back chairs, evolving into a couple of simplified alternatives, Rush Seated and Windsor chairs (solid wood seats, traditionally elm).  This reduced time in production and, consequently, the cost too, making them more widely available and very popular.  The term ‘Windsor’ was derived as a result of chair makers congregating in the woodlands, around the Thames Valley, Slough, and selling their products in Windsor market. 

The basic construction of a Windsor chair involves mainly turned components, although some are steam bent, which give them their shape.  Woodturners, or ‘Bodgers’, went into the woodland areas and used beech and ash to produce turned components (legs, stretchers, back spindles, etc.) using a pole lathe.  Unseasoned timber was put between the centres of a lathe and a loop of twine twisted around it, reaching from a treadle under the lathe to a bent over young tree or a springy bough.  The foot treadle was depressed by the operator, which then rotated the wood without any complicated mechanisation.  Indeed, about as green as it could get.  The turned pieces were fitted into holes drilled into the other chair parts, making a strong frame from a ‘stick’ construction; both light and sturdy.  This method of construction is still used to make the chairs today.

 Windsor chairs became the easiest chair to mass produce and, subsequently, the most popular.  High Wycombe, just north of Windsor, became its centre.  There is an excellent museum there showing the history and development of these chairs, with fine examples.

 As the ‘Walnut period’ drew to a close (1670- 1730), the ‘town’ furniture makers started importing the newly discovered mahogany, leading to the early mahogany (1730-1770) and the later mahogany (1770-1810) periods.  These dates are very closely linked to the early and later Georgian periods.  Meanwhile, the roots of country furniture were firmly established in rural Britain.  Simplified styles developed throughout the Georgian period and into the Victorian era, with a strong country flavour.

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The Benefits of a Pop Up Remote Television Cabinet

If you are short of space, or feel electrical items on show would ruin the look of a room, then opting to hide your plasma television in a cabinet could be the perfect solution.  There are many lift mechanisms on the market today, controlled by remote, that allow the TV to rise up out of the cabinet when required and, of course, get hidden away again afterwards.


As you may have read, our furniture is made to order.  We have produced Pop Up TV Cabinets in a variety of styles, from something very traditional to something very modern.  Each one has had to fulfil a number of requirements, and they have not just been a ‘simple’ television cabinet.  For example, the cabinet shown in the image above also stores shoes, by way of two extending side drawers with layers of shoe racks. The perfect addition to a smaller bedroom, where every piece of furniture needs to be useful.

Other cabinets we have made have had to house more usual items, like a DVD player or Sky box.  These are still hidden away from view but, of course, we do need to design it so you can gain access to them.  It all depends on the design you want but we’ve found that one of the best ways to ‘hide’ them is behind the plinth of the cabinet.  Using some clever fixings, all you have to do is push down on the section of plinth and the front will pop off to reveal the DVD player or Sky box.

We can source a range of TV lift mechanisms.  The most popular option is a standard lifting mechanism, which can be controlled by remote, where the television simply fixes onto upright supports.  However, on a past project with a designer, we used more complex lift produced by Future Automation.  The mechanism they supplied allowed the top flap (where the TV rose out of) to go back inside the cabinet, hidden from view.  Once the television was fully risen on the mechanism the ’hole’ that had been left was filled by an additional top piece of timber.  A very clever bit of kit indeed!

The main cabinet was made up of four pieces of walnut, mitred together (see below).  This method of construction allowed the carved detail to flow around the corners, and cover all sides of the cabinet that were on show.  The carved detail was from the same pattern used to make the bespoke walnut bed they had commissioned.

This section went over the top of the lift mechanism, and sat on top of the ‘plinth’ that held the space for the DVD and wiring.  The top of the cabinet (seen below) was also mitred, and rested on top of the main cabinet section.  The central piece you can see is the flap, which is actually fixed to the lift mechanism rather than the cabinet.

Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get any images of the cabinet completed.  Although we would normally leave the piece assembled on delivery, in this case, we had to leave the cabinet in sections to allow the sound engineers access to fit the television, DVD player and wiring in place.

A great deal of the furniture we make needs to match in with existing furniture, or the customer’s newly purchased four poster bed.  This was the case below, when the cabinet was made to match in with carved panels on the customer’s canopy bed.

Whether you need a television cabinet to fit in with traditional decor or a modern home, we can help design something to suit your requirements…the starting point is “How big is your TV?”

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Understanding The Differences between Mattress Sizes in the UK and Abroad

We have found over the years that mattress sizes can still cause a great deal of confusion. Names for different mattress sizes can vary within the UK, as well as Europe and US. The sizes themselves can even vary given the metric and imperial systems in place.

The most standard mattress sizes for the UK are listed below. With the exception of the Large King and Emperor you will find that nearly all linen suppliers offer bedding to suit.

Many UK mattress manufacturers still produce to the Imperial sizing.  However, over recent years, with the change to the metric system and more goods being imported many more mattresses in the UK are supplied in the metric sizing.  You may also come across other metric sizes not listed below, as these are standard sizes in other European countries.  A good example of these alternative mattress sizes can be found in Ikea.  This is why some Ikea bedding sizes do not fit standard UK mattress sizes perfectly, and why bedding sourced elsewhere does not fit Ikea mattresses quite as well either.

UK Imperial Mattress Sizes

  • Single: 36″ x 75″
  • Double: 54″ x 75″
  • King: 60″ x 78″
  • Large King: 66″ x 78″
  • Super King: 72″ x 78″
  • Metric King: 78″ x 78″
  • Emperor: 84″ x 84″

UK Metric Mattress Sizes

  • Single: 90cm x 190cm
  • Double: 135cm x 190cm
  • King: 150cm x 200cm
  • Large King: 165cm x 200cm
  • Super King: 180cm x 200cm
  • Metric King: 200cm x 200cm
  • Emperor: 215cm x 215cm

As our beds are made to order we can ensure that they fit to either the imperial or metric size.  Also, our bed bases (which are rather like a shallow divan) are made to order by our UK mattress manufacturer so they can be made to the exact size to support your existing mattress perfectly.

Of course, we do supply our beds worldwide and so we are also used to making to other mattress sizes. 

US Mattress Sizes

  • Full: 54″ x 75″
  • Full XL: 54″ x 80″
  • Queen: 60″ x 80″
  • Olympic Queen: 66″ x 80″
  • King: 76″ x 80″
  • Californian King: 72″ x 84″

Most Common European Mattress Sizes

  • 120cm x 200cm
  • 140cm x 190cm
  • 160cm x 200cm
  • 180cm x 200cm

Beds and bed bases can be made to suit.  However, sometimes we do recommend sourcing the bed base (or box spring) and mattress in the customer’s country as it is classed as a standard size there.  Although our mattress manufacturer can make to any size, non-standard sizes are bespoke and thus can incur an additional charge.

If you have any queries about having a bed made to suit your existing mattress please do not hesitate in contacting us-we would be only too happy to help!

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Using the Dining Table to Bring Families Together

For many years we have been seeing some families fall apart and standards slip. Teenagers show no respect and communication with parent’s breakdowns. Everyone prefers to watch their favourite programme around the television, with dinner on their lap. I have heard of kids talking to each other via text whilst sitting next to each other, because it is cooler than talking. Social interaction needs to be reintroduced.

The dining table or kitchen table can help to restore some of the social skills being lost within families these days. Most families can find time sit around the table at least once a day for a meal, and catch up with each other. Turn the television off, and talk to one another on a daily basis and connect. It has become far too easy to sit with your meal on your lap, watching the soaps, but is it at the cost of family breakdown?

Widen the family circle on a Sunday and invite grand parents around for lunch. Enjoy a roast dinner, glass of wine and a good catch up with each other. These occasions do not have to be saved just for Christmas. It may seem a bit dated, but it works.

Once you have purchased a quality dining table to be proud of, before you know it, you will be inviting friends around for evening meals on a regular basis. They, in turn, will invite you back. Soon you will be meeting new people and, before you know it, the number of friends you have will expand. It is great for social and business networking.

So, find some room at home for a dining table. If your kitchen or dining room is too small for a permanent one then think about an extending table, or even a fold away table, that can opened up on a daily basis.

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Using Furniture to Store Collections of CDs, DVDs and wine!

Recently I had to look at my own DVD and CD collection, which has been expanding over several years. They had started to look untidy in a bookcase, and it was time to store them away.  I need to find a solution that suited the decor of the house, which is very traditional, and stored all the DVDs and CDs away from view.  The design could easily be adapted to suit a more modern home too.

I settled on a sideboard design, with a series of internal drawers hidden behind the main doors.

CD and DVD Storage Cabinet

The top drawers in the cabinet were sized to allow me to store a width of three CDs, edge side up.  The style of drawer runners means I can pull the drawer out fully, so nothing becomes forgotten about at the back of the drawer.  The CDs are hidden from view but accessed easily when I want to look through the collection.

Top Drawer Storing CDs

Although I am using this sideboard for media storage at the moment, I wanted the flexibility to alter this in the future.  Rather than producing a large chest of drawers I decided to use doors in the bottom section.  Behind each pair of doors is a stacked level of wide drawers, again on runners, which can fit my collection of DVDs.  However, should I decide to get rid of these in the future, the drawers can easily be removed and shelving added to allow storage of larger items, such as crockery.

Internal drawers for DVD storage

Internal drawer section open

You can use the same principal to store bottles of wine in the dining room.  Lay the bottles horizontally in drawers, separating them with divisions so that they do not  move. This keeps the corks wet, and the labels showing.

Wine Bottle Storage Cabinet
Internal drawer of wine cabinet open

If you need a piece of furniture to store a collection of items, whether it be CDs or bottles of wine, why not consider having something made to suit your exact needs and the decor of your home?  Just get in touch with our team, and we would be happy to help!

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A New Blog

We will be using this blog to keep you updated on new furniture being made, tips we have and other bits and bobs.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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