Chilham Castle for Sale

A Jacobean house with medieval origins

Every now and then, a period house stops us in our tracks. Chilham Castle in Kent is one such house.

The 17th Century Jacobean house as it stands today actually hides a much deeper history.  The original building was constructed in 709 by the King of Kent.  The house’s links to medieval England can still be seen by way of a keep which still exists today.

It was lived in by various noblemen and families until it was bought by King Henry VIII in 1539.  Shortly afterwards Henry VIII allowed Sir Thomas Cheney to buy it from him.  While undocumented, this was possibly to return a long lost favour owed to Cheney after he allowed King Henry to court Anne Boleyn at his house on the Isle of Sheppey ten years previously.

chilham castle on a clear blue day
Chilham Castle for Sale through Knight Frank

Improvements by Capability Brown

The house as it stands now is mainly the result of work undertaken by Thomas Heron, a lawyer who undertook a significant renovation of Chilham Castle in the late 1700s.  This included bringing Capability Brown on board to landscape the gardens and improve the park.  Heron paid a modest £412 and 10 shillings for the work (over £500,000 in today’s money).  Brown did not create a new landscape for this sum, but instead made several small improvements which collectively made a big difference to the building’s setting.

chilham castle with keep
The castle’s Medieval Keep can be seen on the left .

A rare opportunity

Fast forward to today, and the house has been in the hands of the Wheeler family since 2002.  They have restored much of the building’s heritage, putting it back on its feet ready for the next owner to leave their mark.

Further details on the sale of Chilham Castle can be seen on the Knight Frank website.


As ever, do call us if you’d like to discuss a joinery design project further on +44 (0)1934 745270.  For more information on the range of project management services we offer, from design, installation and finish, please click here.




Modern Boot Room Ideas for Modern Country Life

As country house experts, we have plenty of experience in designing beautiful boot rooms to meet modern families’ needs, and events over the last couple of years mean that the boot room has never been more important in family life. We look at modern boot room ideas and how to create a space that works for your household, without compromising on aesthetics.

Boot rooms have always been a convenient midway point between the wild outside and the calm interior of a home. They are the place where you can happily leave wet coats, muddy boots, dirty dogs, umbrellas and prams without worrying that they are going to ruin any beautiful furnishings. Depending on your boot room design, they can also provide extra utility space, whether you want a separate area for laundry or a dedicated place for flower arranging.

Country house design bootroom

However, these rooms came into their own even more in the COVID-19 era. The global pandemic saw homes driven to two extremes: they either became  much quieter than usual, with family members locked down in different parts of the world, or the opposite, with grandparents or parents seeing their offspring return to the family estate to enjoy country living during the Coronavirus restrictions.

english country boot room design

Modern boot room ideas for modern requirements

As life has returned to normal, the modern boot room remains an important factor in how a busy household functions.  Below we look at boot room design ideas and how to create a space that works for your household.

country house boot room design

Where to start

When looking to create the perfect country house boot room, you first need to look at your family’s day-to-day life and consider exactly how the space will be used. For example, how many children or animals do you have? How many coats, hats and pairs of shoes will need to be stored here? What are your family’s favourite activities – perhaps shooting, fishing or riding are regular hobbies? If so, what kind of kit needs to be stored? If guns will be kept there, what are the security requirements? 

Once all this has been thought about, you can start to sketch out a vision of what your ideal boot room design would look like, setting out a clear idea of what needs to be done.

What to consider for optimal boot room design

As much as you may want your boot room to be aesthetically pleasing, its primary function is as a midpoint between the outside and the in. This means that mud – and how it can be easily dealt with – should be a priority. You will definitely want a hard-wearing floor, such as stone, tile, or vinyl. You should also think about drainage – for example, you may find it convenient to install a drain in the centre of the floor, meaning that mud and dirt can be easily swept away. To avoid as much as possible mud being trampled in, you could consider installing an outdoor tap, which provides an easy way for people to wash off muddy boots or animals before entering.

Another modern boot room idea for English country homes is to anticipate and work with the English weather. In many homes, boot rooms act as the main back entrance to the house, but this can mean that they let in a significant draft as people come through. So, you may wish to consider adding an extra door between the boot room and the outside world, preventing the cold and wind from coming in.

Flower and boot room cabinets

If you wish to incorporate a sink into your boot room, think carefully about what you will use it for first. For example, if you will be washing off muddy boots inside, you will want to choose a large and robust sink, whereas if you are mainly planning on using this sink for flower arranging, the sink won’t need to be as robust however the height of the tap will need to be planned to ensure that tall vases can fit underneath. 

During the pandemic, the boot room was often used as a ‘decontamination zone’ to avoid bringing in germs from the outside world.  It might have a washing machine and storage for detergent, allowing you to put potentially infected clothes straight in the wash as you arrive home. You can then decide whether you want your boot room to become your main laundry space, in which case you will also need to consider hanging areas for washed clothes and baskets for dirty items. 

How much work is it to design and create a fully-kitted-out boot room?

As specialists in in fitting English period homes to suit modern family life, we are able to  be able to handle projects with ease, whether its restoring a very old building to better suit the needs of our client or whether its a new back of house addition to an old house ensuring they understand exactly what you want from your boot room before they commence with the build.

All this may seem like a lot of effort for a simple boot room. However, when you consider what an important role this space actually plays in family life, it is well worth investing time in boot room design ideas in order to create a space that will suit all your household for years to come.

If you’d like to discuss our approach to design and our craft, please email or call +44 (0)1934 745270.

Shapwick Manor in Somerset For Sale

Shapwick Manor in Somerset for Sale

Shapwick Manor for sale in Somerset could only be described as a bit of a project, but for those with big ambitions and even bigger pockets, it’s a rare opportunity to secure one of Somerset’s most beautiful country houses.

Shapwick Manor House in Somerset


Shapwick Manor Brief History

In more recent years (since 1984), the medieval building had been used as a private school specialising in the education of children with dyslexia and was much admired across the UK for it’s great work in this field.

Shapwick Manor originally belonged to the Abbey at Glastonbury until the monasteries were dismantled by Henry VIII and it was passed onto Thomas Walton and then te Rolle Familly, with the Manor as it is recognised today being built in 1475.

Shapwick Manor is located in Shapwick, a secluded and pretty village sited in the Polden Hills near Glasonbury and would be a good bet for anyone seeking to extract themselves from London to find a country seat and not join the nearby Bruton media circus.

What’s for Sale

For the current asking price of £6,500,000 (January 2021) a buyer will get alot of property.  The large Grade II* listed Shapwick manor house, stables, a small farm, Greystones (an old boarding house) and many others such as the Sixth Form Bock below which has enormous potential for a creative buyer.

Shapwick House sale offers buildings like this school house


Naturally there is work to be done; the main Shapwick Manor house will need reconfiguring to take it back to a residential house after being used as a school for so many years.  Despite its Grade II* listed status however, much of the building’s interior architectural detail has been eroded and lost over time, but it could become a magnificent 12,000 square ft statement house for the village if undertaken sensitively.

Shapwick Manor in Somerset for Sale through Strutt and Parker. Sales particulars from Strutt and Parker are here


As ever, do call us if you’d like to discuss a joinery design project further on +44 (0)1934 745270.  For more information on the range of project management services we offer, from design, installation and finish, please click here.

English Country House Names Explained

English country houses come in all shapes and sizes, and many have evolved over centuries, transforming from one form to another as time passes by. Some started from humble beginnings, while others were grand from the off.

In this article we’re going to explore the suffix of the country house and whether these house names can give us a clue to a building’s past. Grange, Hall, Park, Villa, Manor, Grove and House are all such examples of house naming. But what do they mean?



A Grange is usually a large farmhouse with farm buildings and grain stores attached. It is likely that the house name prefix ‘Grange’, originally stemmed from a time when England’s land was divided up as part of the monastic system, with monastic granges being outlying landholdings owned by monasteries and Cisterian monks. So essentially, a house named Grange was an agricultural outpost, and where there was a Grange there was often a much larger ‘mothership’ house, often an Abbey or Priory, nearby. The theme of being a ‘religious outpost’ for such house naming stuck right up to the Victorian period when a vicar or landowner would often live in the Grange. As land was sold off over time by Abbeys and the church, Grange’s became independent houses.

Victorian Grange
This This Victorian grange was built in the late 1800s, possibly for a high ranking member of the local church community as the church expanded its reach.



The origin of the Hall house is a fascinating and ancient one stemming from house naming conventions in Anglo Saxon times. The original hall buildings were meeting places and they usually consisted of four walls, a roof and a fire around which to gather. Because of the fire they usually had very tall ceilings which were often later filled in with floors which were added to as the hall’s original use as a public meeting space diminished. The retro-fitting of additional floors, with rooms and extensions, allowed users’ private spaces and meeting rooms. As a consequence the layout of a Hall can often be complex as they were usually developed in a piecemeal, ad hoc fashion.

a medieval hall house
The house and part of the garden at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire. The Great Hall to the right was built in the sixteenth century, and the brick wing to the right in the seventeenth century.



Unlike the house naming origins of the English Hall, which often started from relatively humble beginnings as a meeting place, the Manor was none-such place. It was originally the main house of the lord of the manor with the house forming the administrative centre in the feudal landlord system. Somewhat confusingly, a manor might have originally started as a hall, elevating its house name to a manor to disguise its humble past. A manor was usually the centrepiece of that area’s administrative heart. The older manor houses often had a great hall where meals with tenants or great banquets were held.

Great Durnford Manor, in which Artichoke designed and made
several rooms, was purpose built as a manor in the mid 1700s.



The origin of the Park as a house name was often the park itself, sometimes an exceptional plot of land which suited the addition of what was usually a home of considerable size and stature. The original Park was typically owned by royalty or a feudal landlord, and it would have been where they went to hunt deer to feed the household. Park houses often still retain a stock of deer as a nod to the past, with many herds believed to be made up from the original lineage.

Williamstrip Park
Willianstrip Park in which Artichoke made the kitchen.



It’s not surprising to learn that the house name suffix Villa stems from Europe and the Roman occupation of England, and it principally means large luxurious house with land. These days it’s not commonly used as a suffix to a house name, but more often used as a way of describing a neo Italianate classical house, of which there are many in towns like Cheltenham and Bristol (below). They often had palatial proportions, arched windows and sometimes towers with gently sloping roofs.

Italianate style villa house
An Italianate villa in Clifton, Bristol


Dower House

Granted, this is not a suffix, but we think it warrants a place in our list.

A Dower House was one which was almost always built for a widow, usually on the estate of the man to whom she was once married. The house name is linked to the term ‘Dowager’, which was the name given to a widow who had a title or owned property. Dower Houses were usually quite large.

Dower House
This Dower House started off more modestly with a variety of additions made over time.

It’s our mission to contribute to the evolution of buildings like these, creating joinery led interiors which will become part of the architectural story of the house. Artichoke’s work, under the patronage of our client, will be enjoyed and admired by future generations. If your country house name includes a Grange, a Manor, a Park, Hall or Dower House, it may be the kind of house that we could provide inspiration and direction for.

Curious to know more? Email or call us on 01934 745270.

Moving a Kitchen in a Listed Building

Moving a kitchen in a listed building is a common requirement among many new country and listed house owners, and it’s becoming increasingly popular as family lifestyles continue to become less formal.

The first question we ask is ‘What’s wrong with the kitchen where it is?’ We can almost always predict the answer. In the larger country house it was typical for kitchens to be located as far away from the family quarters as possible, thus eliminating noise, cooking smells and reducing risk of fires, most likely to start in the kitchen, spreading to the family part of the house.

In addition to kitchens in listed buildings being located as far away as possible, they were also often placed on the north side of the house, principally to stop direct sunlight spoiling food in the pantry and also to take advantage of the prevailing southwesterly winds which would push chimney smoke caused by the kitchen fires away from the main house and gardens.

So, pre 1900, country house kitchens were sited at the extremities of a building on its north side, while today we want our kitchens at the centre of our homes, usually facing south.


When to Seek Advice?

If you’re looking at kitchen ideas for Grade 1 and 2 listed properties and are contemplating moving a kitchen in a listed building, you’re going to have to seek Listed Building Consent from your local planners. Sometimes this will also require the involvement of Historic England (it used to be English Heritage and we explore the difference between the two organisations in this earlier article.)   This exercise will need an architect or heritage architect familiar with your local planners. However, it is worth also seeking advice from a specialist bespoke kitchen designer well-versed in moving kitchens in listed buildings to ensure the space being allocated by the architect is optimal, appropriate and will meet you and your family’s needs. Ideally this should happen well before the planning application is submitted. Not doing so could mean the proposed architecture limits how the kitchen ideas are laid out, with subsequent planning applications needed for changes to improve the space.

What are the Issues of Moving a Kitchen in a Listed Building?

There are four key issues to be aware of.

Firstly, in a big family house, the original kitchen is likely to have been supported by a series of ancillary rooms, such as a scullery, larder or butler’s pantry. The issue many clients face when moving a kitchen in a listed building from its original location, say to a living room or dining room, is there will usually need to be provision within the new location for these supporting functions. We will often achieve this by breaking the new space up using joinery or architecture, but this can be challenging in rooms such as dining rooms which may have very high ceilings, festooned with elaborate fibrous plaster mouldings.

The second issue to consider when moving a kitchen in a listed building is a lack of usable wall space. In a back of house kitchen, the original architect will have designed the windows above head height as per the image above, providing ample wall space against which to place ovens and dressers. In a dining room or living room however, there are often impressive windows, French doors or grand fireplaces, limiting the available wall space against which kitchen furniture can be placed. Bear this in mind when considering which room to move your kitchen into.

The third issue is focussed on aesthetics. When exploring Grade 2 listed kitchen ideas and inspiration you’ll quickly discover that, kitchen furniture moved into a dining room or living room without a sensitive design approach can often look incongruous. To overcome this conundrum when moving a kitchen in a listed building we will often develop a fictitious story which explains how the space might have evolved. This will help tie a design brief together. For example, we were recently asked to design a kitchen into one of the principle living spaces in a Chateau in Burgundy, France. Rather than just take the room we were given to design a kitchen into it, we developed the following narrative with the client.

Before being a kitchen, the room was used by the previous owner as a collector’s library in which she stored curiosities from her travels around the world. These display cupboards were to be repurposed for use as kitchen storage.

Creating such a narrative will provide a focus for Artichoke’s creative team. Instead of designing a kitchen plonked into what was an old Salon, the room becomes a grand albeit slightly eccentric library modified for its new use as a kitchen. This is a much more exciting and beguiling option!

To successfully move this kitchen into what was once a reception room required clever manipulation of interior architecture by the Artichoke team.


Finally it is worth considering your access into the kitchen from your daily entry point into the house (usually nearest the car) and whether moving the kitchen to the new space will make this access more cumbersome. Dragging the family shopping through the centre of the house is as fun as it sounds!

Next Steps

Each house is different, so there are many other factors that can sometimes raise their heads. If you are considering moving a kitchen in a listed building we’d be happy to talk through the options with you.
Email with any questions or call is on 01934 745270.


The Country House Revived?

Not so long ago we were sent a wonderful piece of country house research undertaken by the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates at Manynooth University.

The study explores the survival and revival of the country house and historic houses in Ireland and the UK over the past 50 years, and it looks into some of the houses that have survived and prospered under their owners for future generations to enjoy.

It is so important that these portals into our past are cared for and put on the pedestal they deserve.  While the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, it is the parts that must be revered.  The skills on display in these buildings by the artisan plasterers, joiners, gilders and stone masons are just wonderful, and we are so privileged as a company to be given the opportunity to display our craftsmanship alongside theirs for future generations to enjoy.

Extraordinary plasterwork restored by master plasterer Kevin Holbrook and Quinlan Francis Terry.


As ever, the best craftsmanship doesn’t come cheap, but its good value is unsurpassed.  Every great country house built in the 18th and 19th century was done so by someone who had accrued enough wealth to invest in the best possible quality joiners, carvers, stone masons, plasterers and architects.  They didn’t invest in buildings that would last just their own lives; they invested in buildings that would last centuries and it is our duty to look after them for the next generations to enjoy.

To do so, and to keep on creating heritage for our future generations requires dedication and a vision.  Our vision at Artichoke is that in 100 years, English design and craftsmanship continues to flourish, and we are doing several things to try and achieve it.  While it is a great delight to see so many country houses brought back from the brink, it will only be possible if we keep the craftsmanship skills needed thriving.  We explore in another piece some of the crafts education available in this field.

Presentations on both pieces of research are below:

Irish Country Houses




UK Country Houses

25 Royal Crescent Bath for Sale

As rows of terraced houses go, The Royal Crescent in Bath sits at the pinnacle.  Sited as one of Britain’s greatest ever examples of Georgian architecture, it was designed by John Wood the younger and took seven years to build, starting in 1764.  Now one of its houses is for sale.


To purchase one of the 30 available houses, the original buyers were each asked to buy a length of the facade.  They then had to employ their own architect to build the house behind, so what can appear to be ordered uniformity and symmetry at the front is actually a bit of a mess behind (or ‘business at the front: party at the back’ as it was once described to me by one of the owners).  This avant-garde approach to architecture occurs repeatedly across Bath.

During the 1900s many of the houses which had once been the residences of single families with maids and other staff were divided into offices and flats.  Of the 30 original houses only 10 remain as single dwellings, so when one comes on the market it is a rare occurrence.  Number 25 The Royal Crescent is now for sale through Savills with a guide price of £6.5 million.

The Grade I listed architecture of the facade of The Royal Cresent has 114 Ionic columns which rest on a rusticated ground floor.  It was the first crescent of houses to be built in the UK and with views over parkland was also a fine example of ‘rus in urbe’ architecture, meaning ‘the country in the city’.

However, with all formality comes the desire for rebellion.  In 1971, the resident of No 22 The Royal Crescent, Miss Amabel Wellesley-Colley, took it upon herself to paint the front door of her house canary yellow (the others are all white).  In her defence, she said she was upholding tradition because canary yellow was her great grandfather, The Duke of Wellington’s favourite colour.  As you can imagine, there was uproar, and the chattering classes of Bath went apoplectic with confected outrage.  Other owners of houses on The Royal Crescent fell back on a 1968 law for listed buildings which stated that property owners could not alter the appearance of the Royal Crescent without permission.  However, they underestimated Miss Amabel, who after spending thousands of pounds and battling it out in a 6 hour long public enquiry was found in favour by the Department for the Environment.

The door remains yellow to this day.

yellow door the royal cresent bath
A very English act of architectural rebellion.


25 The Royal Crescent Bath is for Sale through Savills.


As ever, do call us if you’d like to discuss a joinery design project further on +44 (0)1934 745270.  For more information on the range of project management services we offer, from design, installation and finish, please click here.


Little Thakeham for Sale

Little Thakeham, the house which Edwin Lutyens described as the ‘best of the bunch’ is for sale through Knight Frank, with a guide price of £5.5 million.

A large edwardian house in Sussex
Little Thakeham for Sale, West Sussex


It is no secret that at Artichoke we’re a big fan of Lutyens.  We have been fortunate to have been asked to work on several of his houses including Folly Farm.  As a designer and maker of architectural joinery, to be asked to add additional layers to his original works is one of the very greatest of privileges.   A previous blog post on the architectural joinery of Lutyens can be found here.

One of the great joys of Little Thakeham is in how Lutyens combined the Tudor style with Grand Edwardian Arts and Crafts country manor style.  We call it contemporary medieval, and it’s a very hard trick to pull off.  Lutyens managed to pull it off several times in fact (he was showing off) with Castle Drogo and Lindisfarne Castle being notable examples.

drawing room with large oriel window
The Drawing Room at Little Thakeham


The architectural design journey of Little Thakeham is not without controversy.  The client, Tom Blackburn, had made his fortune in America importing drink.  Returning with his fortune (and no doubt some drink), he commissioned the architect J Hatchard Smith to design a house which he then fell out of love with halfway through the build.  Sir Edwin Lutyens was called in for his opinion (which he gave with gusto) suggesting the half built house was pulled down and replaced with one built from local Pulborough stone.  Hatchard Smith was laid off (and paid off) and Lutyens got the job.

Quite brilliantly, Lutyens managed to sketch the entire house’s layout onto two sheets of paper on the train journey home following his first client meeting with Tom Blackburn.  He handed them to his architectural technician on his return who then drew them up.

And the Little Thakeham for sale today is the very same one sketched out on his train journey home.


As ever, do call us if you’d like to discuss a joinery design project further on +44 (0)1934 745270. For more information on the range of project management services we offer, from design, installation and finish, please click here.





Resurgence of the Cook’s Table

The cook’s table was a classic element of a Victorian Kitchen and in recent years we have seen a revival of its popularity in the modern home.

One characteristic of country house style is simple but solid furniture – stand alone pieces like that of a cook’s table, that are incorporated for storage and display or food preparation.

Traditionally, country house kitchens were furnished by local craftsmen who designed cook’s tables and made purposeful pieces of furniture which were handed down from generation to generation. As a result, it is common to find a mix of period styles among the furniture of a country kitchen. Similar in their practicality and durability, but with subtle variations according to the period and the budget, such pieces complement each other well.

In the ‘back of house’ quarters of grand country houses, the cook’s table was a central piece of the working kitchen. It was used for food preparation but also sometimes as a dining table for the servants.


view of the Victorian Kitchen, showing cooks table and stove
The beautiful Victorian kitchen at Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton


Historically, the cook’s table was made out of pine, oak, elm and a variety of fruit woods, oiled or polished to bring out the natural graining and features of the wood. Others were colour washed, or painted using primitive paints made from locally available materials such as buttermilk and eggs mixed with earth coloured pigments. Interestingly, in the Victorian era, a number of deaths occurred as the result of a popular shade of green paint and wallpaper. Scheele’s Green, which was made using copper arsenite, fatally poisoned a number of people until the connection was later realised. Nowadays, this green pigment is produced without dangerous toxicity.


A kitchen and cook’s table, designed and made by Artichoke. Read more about the inspiration behind this design here.


With sustainability in mind, at Artichoke we always focus on the practicality and purpose of design. It is true that while the island has become a popular feature of contemporary kitchen design, it can be obtrusive and can dominate a space. A cook’s table offers an elegant and less obtrusive alternative – just as practical but bringing a romantic aesthetic with its history and rusticity. It’s a testament to the beauty of simplicity, achieving elegance alongside functionally.

Artichoke cook's table painted red


Artichoke’s wealth of experience and knowledge of period architectural detail and cabinet making affords us the specialist skills to design and integrate a traditional piece like a cook’s table into a country home. We design and curate a variety of styles in a single suite of domestic rooms to give the impression that the rooms have evolved through various owners over time. The style of the joinery, therefore, suggests the story of the house. Such specific requirements are a perfect demonstration of the truly bespoke nature of our work.


If you’d like to learn more about the transformative potential of well-considered and authentic architectural joinery, please do get in touch and tell us about your project. Email the Artichoke team at or call on +44 (0)1934 745270.

Designing into the Elizabethan Country House

Many Artichoke projects tend to focus on Georgian and Victorian period country houses, with the occasional sojourn to the later Edwardian or to earlier Jacobean and Elizabethan periods. It is fascinating to see how styles of architecture and interior detailing evolve through the English country house. The entire post Norman history is deeply illustrated through architecture.

One architectural style we find particularly enchanting is the Elizabethan country house.  Our first major country house project, over 20 years ago, was Parnham House in Dorset, one of Britain’s finest examples of Elizabethan architecture.  We were commissioned by the owners to design various rooms including both kitchens, a private dressing room and a minstrell’s gallery, all made in our workshops in Somerset.  With great sadness, the house was extensively damaged by fire in 2018 and it is now on the market.

Country house with gravel driveway
Parnham House, built during the reign of Elizabeth I and reconfigured by John Nash in the 19th century.


Elizabethan Country House Architecture

The Elizabethan period (1560-1600) was a period of design transition in architecture.  England’s understanding of the Italian Renaissance was just coming to the forefront, spurned on by Henry VIII’s numerous contacts with Italy before breaking with Rome.  When Elizabeth took up her reign, the country’s economy started to improve following years of recklessness from Henry.  A focus back into farming created more money for wider groups of people across England, and a domestic building boom began.  Many smaller houses were built and many larger manors were created, often through remodelling of earlier Tudor or Medieval homes.

An early introduction to Italian Renaissance architecture was fused with England’s already well established Gothic architecture, alongside a little Dutch influence. This opulent mixture was brilliantly interpreted by English craftsmen who elevated this new hybrid style to stunning levels of romantic architectural detailing.

breamore house
Breamore House in Hampshire


Houses were typically symmetrical with long galleries and formal gardens, often laid out in an ‘E’ pattern. The medieval hall was replaced in importance by the long gallery which became the focus for family life alongside other living areas off the gallery.  Key decorative characteristics included large mullioned windows with square heads and ornamental strap work (both internal and external), a detail originating in Italy via Islamic ornament.  Extensive use of rectangular timber oak panelling was also prevalent, often made even richer with the use of carved strap work ornament. Combined with ornate plaster work ceilings and carved overmantels, the affect was striking and powerful.

Creating a Design Backstory

This kaleidoscope of detail presents a challenge to joinery designers like Artichoke. It is difficult to compete with it. In the Elizabethan era, domesticity as we know it today, simply didn’t exist.

For Parnham House we created a strategy, giving the furniture we designed the backstory of an Edwardian interior facelift.  The kitchen design took on detail from the medieval and Tudor periods, albeit with a Edwardian twist.  This approach was heavily influenced by Edwin Lutyens who took a similar approach with many of his buildings which are often Edwardian takes of medieval architecture.

The backstory is a great way to contextualise and harmonise design in an imposing period building, particularly pre Georgian designs, where domestic rooms didn’t exist.  A backstory gives design a single direction, ensuring the end result is sympathetic, elegant and above all for an Elizabethan house, deferent.


To discuss your project with Artichoke, email us at

Request Portfolio

Request Portfolio

Please get in touch using the form below

  • Hidden
  • How did you hear about us?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.