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September 25, 2020
Though hundreds of our loyal clients remember our first frenetic weeks nearly 32 years ago, many of our team, clients, and even my children have asked - ‘What was it like in the olden days?’
This blog covers our early years.
Jack-hammering the plaster off. One of the worst periods I remember was when they were breaking off all the plaster in the basement ready for new tanking. Apart from the awful noise, they hadn’t protected us well for dust. All that separated us from the basement were floorboards and on the first day we were all happily working away trying to ignore the noise when a cloud began to rise from between the floorboards. We looked at each other thinking it cannot get any higher but slowly it rose past our waists and on past our heads.
Louise was working on reception and remembers it like this…”Standing at reception with the floor vibrating beneath my feet I started to see the dust rising through the floor boards, Michael was carrying on stoically as though nothing was happening. Suddenly through the drawers came plumes of dust twirling and swirling around the salon like a scene from a horror movie. At this point I couldn’t see through to the end of the salon. Amazingly no-one complained”. . We got the builders to rethink their strategy on that phase to avoid a repeat.They start to build the new staircase
1994 -This became the lower lobby, staircase and W.Cs
We had an unfortunate incident when one of the stonemasons hadn’t bedded the stone risers properly on the staircase and this led to some of them cracking if they were knocked. Obviously this wasn’t acceptable but I think the stonemason cracked also when I recalled him back to site. He took his hammer and proceeded to smash all the other risers and skirting knowing that it would take months to get more from the quarries in France. He then lunged at me at which point the police were called. The two young officers told me this was their second case of a stonemason going loopy this week. Must have been something in the dust. Months later the staircase was finally finished, by a different stonemason of course.
1995 - The final crane. At last!
1995 – Colour studio and Reception with our newly acquired antique chimneypiece
I didn’t want the basement to feel like the poor relation and so lavished great care and attention on the materials and workmanship. We had real craftsmen from the countryside build all the beautiful bespoke doors and furniture using wonderful hardwoods. Handles were specially cast in bronze and the pale French limestone floor kept it light and elegant.
1995 - Lower Lobby and Staircase and the Lower Salon
2002 – Reception
2005 - Here we go again for builders mess and dust. Wayne (Mr T) is our brilliant hardwood flooring specialist, and the chaps from Dovetail Joinery are real craftsmen and have looked after our fine cabinet work for over 25 years
Early 1988 still a chemist and December 1988 We gave the front a low budget re-varnish
1995 - A more voluptuous frontage, gold leaf, rich mahogany and lots of foliage
2005 Updated and simplified for a more contemporary feel
2005 Colour Studio and 2006 - Main Salon and Reception
We have a great team of people working in a luxurious space. Lots of daylight and natural materials make it healthy working environment.
2008 Lower lobby
More coming soon
Michael Van Clarke
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