The Duchess | Bar Back Design | Andrew Nebbett Designs

Designed and beautifully handmade by our craftsmen in England

The Duchess was in need! Originally built in 1789 to commemorate the marriage of the Duke of York to Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia, the original building was demolished in 1883 to make way for the current building, and by 2014 she needed some attention!

Having met the current owners of The Duchess through our showroom, their company, Wraith Trading (who own a number of Public Houses in the London area), contacted us to help them complete the restoration of their newly acquired pub.

Located opposite Battersea power station, The Duchess was to be returned to her original Victorian beauty and we were invited to provide a solution for the bar area.

With all our bespoke projects, we take the time to completely understand the requirements, and this commission was no different. Having discussed the brief, absorbed the atmosphere, character and style of the building, not to mention taking several sets of measurements – we set about producing a series of 3D images to show the client our proposed designs. The 3D images we produce really help to ‘bridge the gap’ between describing the design and the real-life pieces. Through looking at our 3D images, we find very little gets lost in translation, enabling everyone to ‘be on the same page’ when envisaging the items to be created, and every little detail can be covered, from the location of a single screw, right through to the ability to show what a piece will look like in situ. (This really helps to understand the ‘space’ available, allowing the best decisions to be made when it comes to scale.)

From the designs presented, two final pieces were chosen:

  • a Victorian style, framed antique mirror-backed wall shelving unit, complete with a library ladder system to enable the top shelves to be stocked and used. This unit was to hold 200 bottles! With a requirement such as this, nothing less than toughened glass shelves would do and with all that glass, solid brass and gun barrelled steel, assurances had to be made that the wall would be able to cope with the weight. A site survey was needed to be certain.
  • an island shelving unit, constructed from mahogany, solid polished brass and gun barrelled steel. Care was taken to ensure the Victorian ‘flavour’ was incorporated, from the screw detailing on the solid, polished brass galleries (preventing the bottles sliding off the shelves), through to the top ‘hand’ rail. This unit, whilst designed to look Victorian was to have a touch of the 21st Century with a string of LED lights to illuminate the variety of bottles, all carefully concealed.

During our time at The Duchess, it was apparent that through the owners’ desire to really return her to her former glory, every detail was being considered, right up to the ceilings. It was decided that a wallpaper would be used to cover the ceiling panels, however not just ‘any’ wallpaper – one of the very finest in traditional wall coverings, dating back to the Victorian period itself – Lincrusta. Extremely heavily embossed, the paper is provided ‘blank’ – it arrives as a white paper and then the desired finish (colour/patina) is applied after. The owner was finding that the finish was proving more complicated to achieve than was originally expected and so, we were asked to help. Our team is small, but perfectly formed with highly skilled craftsmen covering many different specialist areas and indeed one of our specialities it to provide antique patination and colouring  techniques, be it on wood, metal or otherwise. We completed the colouring process to the entire ceiling – leaving it looking like it too had stepped back in time!

Throughout this project, not only did we design, but we also sourced all of the materials used and the owner was, ‘blown away’  with the result, which is just the way we like it! 

The work described in this custom design project was entirely custom made through our Bespoke service with custom metal finishes. If you have a particular project which needs the greatest of attention, consideration and sensitivity to a particular period or style like this, contact us for a chat! To view a selection of our standard ladder hardware components, please visit our “Shop-Ladders” page.

We also offer a range of pieces in standard sizes and finishes through our Ready-to-go range, available to buy online.

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