"The cabinet is excellent and looks great, the greatest compliment is that it looks like it's always been there!" Mr & Mrs Ridgeway, Yorkshire
Our clients contacted us to design and build a rather special bespoke oak high dresser for their circa 1600 Grade I listed manor house, in Somerset.
To perform its function in the newly designated guest quarters, the rather special part was that it had to include a working sink and taps, fully integrated fridge and pull-out shelf for a microwave oven. It also required a set of drawers and a rack above to store and display various artifacts and utensils belonging to our client.
This is where it was to go (between the settle and doorway):
Their initial brief was a rough sketch on a page of notes:
Followed by some design detail suggestions and inspiration pictures, including photos of an oak settle they’d recently purchased, which was to sit alongside the proposed dresser:
Of interest, is their reference to a 16th century style cupboard, which happened to have been designed and handmade by our managing director, from old reclaimed oak, for a Gloucester client, some years ago. Our Somerset clients were particularly smitten with the style of frame edge mouldings on the cupboard and the wrought iron lock plates. See 3rd page bottom photo and 4th page top photo.
Here is the actual cupboard photographed in what was, at the time, Nicholas Berry’s workshop:
You can see more details of this unique piece here (on a very old website) (opens in a new window/tab):
Back to the dresser, below is a larger picture of our client’s final concept sketch (on the 2nd group of inspiration photos above), which was actually drawn full size. From this we were able to produce an estimate of costs and work up working CAD drawings for client approval and, following their approval and deposit, for our workshops to refer to.
Below are the CAD drawings in process.
In order for the plumber to be able to gain easy access inside the sink compartment, it was necessary for the drawers to be removable and to make the two lower rails between the drawers detachable. The top drawer, immediately in front of the built-under sink, is just a dummy and the next one down was shorter in depth than the two lower ones, so it didn’t clash with the sink waste.
You will also see the cross section drawing for the integrated fridge compartment (to the left of the dresser front elevation above). We used the appliance installation diagram and dimensions below, as well as refer back to a similar installation we did a number of years ago.
Below are the completed drawings. As usual, where working drawings are required for our workshops, we also produced full size drawings. In this case they included the cornice moulding (taken from a circa 1470 livery cupboard), inner stile mouldings (the frame uprights either side of the drawers), base of rack profile, detail of corner stile (outer frame upright) with side panel, rebated plinth and cupboard door with cranked hinge, detail of side plinth necessary to hide bottom of fridge, removable front plinth for fridge installation, rack shelf with groove for plates plus LED lighting under, and a cross section of the drawers and detachable rails.
To add more detail to the full size drawing list mentioned above, the integrated fridge sits on the floor and as such requires the carcase plinth in front to be removable, so it can be slid into place after installation and easily slid back out for repair/replacement if needed. Furthermore, without a blanking panel on the floor at the end of the dresser, you'd see the base of the fridge. But it needs to be set in, for visual purposes, as dressers built this way normally are completely open under the lowest rail, as opposed to a laid on plinth.
And here are the drawings and photo guides, for our blacksmith to make up the decorative lock-plates and hinges (note the handles were simplified for this piece and also note that the hinges for the fridge door were split dummy ones as the carcase door would be attached to the hinged fridge door).
And below is the finished piece in situ at our client’s manor house (photos kindly taken and sent to us by our client).
Do contact us, if you have a similarly unusual period style oak furniture project in mind.
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