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Design in every detail

Design in every detail

‘Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful, o r 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 (which, often, can be a sort of understated beauty, not necessarily noted but certainly felt). 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 that you may not have noticed, but which make all the world of difference.

Magnetic catches

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 – notably our Chichester furniture – and while these are still attractive and practical (in a chrome finish to match the handles and hinges on these pieces, and closing the door tight with a satisfying clunk), it’s the magnetic catches that, for us, are a real stand-out feature. 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. These 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.

Zig-zag shelf supports

We say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. 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 to match or in contrasting oak.

Gradated drawers

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 because this arrangement is quite easy on the eye. 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 more traditional feel. It’s also practical, making room for bigger things in the bottom and creating shallower, more useable spaces for littler items in the top.

Brass vents & turning handles

Switching from cabinetry to mattresses now, these details might be very specific to just the one design in our collection, but we think they demonstrate the point perfectly. Our Barrington mattress is one you can turn – its filling layers are mirrored on each side – so, to make that all the easier with just a couple of pairs of hands (and to make it easy to lift the mattress to tuck a sheet in), we’ve securely stitched handles onto each side. They’re even padded for comfort. Then there’s the air vents, a very necessary part of a mattress we feel because they allow moisture to escape. Less necessary is the fact that we’ve made them in brass, but that’s an aesthetic choice (along with the navy blue piping) that, when you’re changing the sheets, reassures you that this is a truly quality design.

Reinforced shelves & backs

Back to cabinetry again, and this time to the pieces that are made to hold televisions. These feature details that are all about providing practicality while also keeping aesthetics in mind. Like concealed holes to thread cables through for instance, or ones that can be filled in with timber caps when not in use. And, in the case of our all-singing all-dancing Henley TV cabinets, vented shelves and cable tidy accessories. Even less obvious though, is that they’re also reinforced to take the weight of heavy screens. For our Henley TV dressers and Chawton TV cabinet section, this is a back panel that you can, in full confidence, attach a bracket to and hang the screen off. In Ardingly, a cabinet that’s designed to easily change uses, from TV cabinet to desk to larder, strength takes the form of shelves that have reinforcing upstands so you can then sit your screen on the shelves (rather than hanging it, which would leave holes and make changing Ardingly’s purpose in the future difficult). The upstands are also elegantly curved, so if you’re not using Ardingly for a TV, they become an aesthetic detail instead.

Coordinating finishes

This last one’s purely about looks, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Cables on lamps, zips on cushions, studs on sofas – they’re all chosen to coordinate perfectly with the finish or fabric (in the case of the studs, we’ve paired one of three, timeless and subtle finishes – pewter, nickel and antique brass – with each of our fabrics for you). They’re small details, but they’d definitely stand out if they were wrong.

The stand-out 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 fits into the top drawers of our Chichester dressers and kitchens and makes 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 easier, 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 steel Ranmoor protector.

Coates & Soane

Two architectural lights – one for recessing in the ceiling, the other for fixing onto it – that make the wash-out glare of overhead lights a thing of the past with their fully adjustable, dappled glow-creating design. So good, they should really have a blog all of their own.

As you explore our website, you’ll notice we’ve included ‘a closer look’ at each of our designs to highlight the details that make them special. If you’re visiting us in store, just ask one of the team and they’ll be happy to do the same.