‘Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’ is a rather over-quoted line of William Morris’, but it nevertheless sets out a golden rule for what makes great design – in other words, design that improves your life. Here at Neptune, we’re always striving for both: design that’s useful, that functions so easily that you don’t really notice it, and design that’s beautiful. We also believe that, to be either of those things, a design needs to be considered right down to its smallest details – a beautifully-made and otherwise functional cabinet won’t truly be either of those things if the door catches don’t work properly or they stand out like a sore thumb. So, with that in mind, we wanted to take you on a whistle-stop tour through some of the finer details in our collection (focusing, for now, on our cabinetry designs) that you may not have noticed, but which make all the world of difference.
In our Chichester grand chest of drawers and dresser, and in some of the cabinets in our Chichester and Suffolk kitchens, if you look very closely you’ll spot that the bottom drawers are, almost imperceptibly, deeper than the top ones. This is one of those largely unnoticeable aesthetic details that, actually, is pretty important. It’s not something you’ll see in all our pieces – some suit the simpler, symmetrical look of equally-sized drawers (in fact, in some drawer groupings, we’ll make an extra-deep bottom drawer look like two individual ones to preserve the rhythm of three or four identical drawers) – but in those where we do use it, it lends a sense of balance that complements that particular design. It’s also practical, making room for bigger things in the bottom and creating shallower, more useable spaces for littler items in the top.
Zig-zag shelf support
Some traditional furniture features just can’t be improved upon. And our zig-zag shelf supports are a case in point. These saw-tooth-like (or, in Limehouse’s case, castellated) pieces of timber that run the height of a cabinet and are used to hold its shelves are a feature of many an antique dresser, but are usually replaced in modern designs with hole and pin supports because they’re cheaper (our Chawton cabinetry is the only design that uses these in our collection, because the grid-like layout that’s an important part of its character looks best when the shelves are arranged in certain, fixed positions. But we’ve used super-strong, black-bronze pins that coordinate with its hardware so they’re not much of a compromise). We think zig-zag supports are (usually) better though, because they allow you to easily place the shelves just about wherever you like and they also look lovely, either painted or in oak to match the rest of the interior depending on the design.
Open any of the doors in our kitchens, dressers or sideboards and you’ll spot a couple of different catch styles. Some pieces use traditional roller catches to suit the style of furniture – notably our Chichester collection. These come in a chrome finish to match Chichester’s handles and hinges, and they close the door tight with a satisfying clunk. What’s special about them though is that they can be tightened or loosened to suit your preference and so they continue to function over time.
Other designs have magnetic catches. These work by concealing a small magnet within the frame of the door which holds securely onto the corresponding magnet in the discreet catch that’s fitted within the cabinet. They come in four finishes – chrome, brass, bronze and black-bronze – to match any of our other hardware styles, and are cushioned with a leather pad so, when you close the door, it’s more of a muffled thump than a sharp bang.
Lastly, the Limehouse kitchen cabinetry has a particularly special door stopper style: a piston that’s concealed behind a small piece of oak, and that cushions the door as it closes.
The stand-out cabinetry accessories
Less like details, more like entire pieces that bring a whole lot of useful and beautiful design.
Chichester charging station: a leather and oak platform that will slip into a drawer to make light work of tidying charging cables. Featuring nylon wheels that hold cables in place but don’t give them kinks, ties on the underside to wrap up excess cables, and a shape that makes taking the station in and out of the drawer easy.
Drawer & cupboard organisers: spice trays that make finding the jar you need a lot quicker; larder bridges that allow you to see what’s at the back of the cupboard; knife blocks that keep sharp blades safely within drawers; stainless steel-lined cubbies for storing wet sponges; cutlery dividers for every shape and size of utensil. And all beautifully made from oak, black-bronze, quartz or rattan.
Pan drawer protectors: a feature that was born in our Henley kitchen – where the bottom drawers have in-built black-bronze rods to prevent pans from scratching the oak or leaving water marks – that’s now possible in any kitchen drawer thanks to our leather and stainless steel Ranmoor protector.
As you explore our website, you’ll notice we’ve included ‘design & engineering’ details for each of our designs to highlight what makes them special. If you’re visiting us in store, just ask one of the team and they’ll be happy to do the same.