Intelligent design

Interiors writer Amy Moorea Wong reveals the
thinking behind some of our classic furniture designs.

Neptune's approach to furniture design is a little suprising. The pieces aren't trying to be perfect. Instead, they focus on making life – as messy and unpredictable as it can be – a little smoother. The furniture is cleverly, carefully crafted to solve niggly problems and make every day a little easier and brighter. 

Henley larder cabinet 

While larders may be top of many a kitchen wishlist, when making design decisions, it’s easy to forget about the all-important details that will make baking, tea-making, or snack-finding effortless. While outwardly, the Henley larder cabinet combines handsome solid North American oak with a stately yet subtle style, internally it’s crafted using age-old joining methods to ensure practicality, strength, and longevity as well as good looks.

Henley larder cabinet
Henley larder cabinet

It’s when the doors are drawn open that the real magic kicks in. Within Henley is a chasm-like depth, creating storage space, it seems, as if from nowhere. Filled with three vertical layers of shelving, including a double-sided pull-out rack in the middle, it makes finding that specific jar of spice or long-forgotten ingredient so easy, you forget how stressful it once could be.

‘The Henley larder has a huge amount of storage space crammed within it, and is designed in such way that everything is easily accessible,’ says Henry, Neptune’s design lead. ‘It’s arranged to give the best visibility for each item, and the shelves can be hinged out to give access to each level of storage, so there’s no need to half empty the whole thing to get to that one item you want.’

Wycombe folding chair 

With its traditional, handwoven cord seat, elegant spindled back, and streamlined, Shaker-inspired solid oak frame, the design is the twin of our original, fixed Wycombe chair, and placing the two side by side makes for a difficult game of spot the difference. The only variation? A couple of discreet hinges.

Wycombe folding chair

‘What’s lovely about the folding Wycombe is that the style and aesthetic haven’t been compromised to allow it to flatten – we focused on creating a beautiful and comfortable design that could also fold down if needed,’ explains Henry. ‘Now you can unpack extra dining chairs that perfectly match those from the existing Wycombe collection – the shape, the comfort, and the craft skills that go into the making process are the same for both versions.'

Extending Moreton dining table

When thoughts turn to extending dining tables, more often than not, complicated design, confusing mechanisms, heavy lifting, and bashed wood come to mind. The extending Moreton dining table solves all of these issues in a simple, stylish, and ingeniously space-saving way, neatly hiding extra surface leaves stacked within a false drawer – flip down the drawer front, remove the planks, pull the top apart, and slot them in, and suddenly your six-seater table fits ten.


The surface-lengthening leaves feature fold-down skirted edges to mirror the table’s own skirt. And each element of the table is made from solid North American oak, constructed using traditional furniture-making techniques to allow for the natural movement of the timber. Moreton’s understated shape quietly showcases the honey-toned wood’s swirling grain, and the extending design is almost identical to the original table.

‘The Moreton extending table has a classic silhouette and feel, but with modern functionality,’ explains Henry. ‘We wanted to create a timeless table to suit the realities of everyday life, where storage is always at a premium. The only discernible difference between the extending and non-extending Moreton tables is a discreet central break-line in the top to allow for the extension – the false drawer blends in completely.’ 

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