What led you into this profession, was design always your passion?
Neil: I had a passion for design from an early age, winning design prizes at school for GCSE and A Level and going on to obtain a 1st Class Honours in Product Design Engineering at University. Upon completing my degree, I took up the position of Junior Kitchen Designer because it was the most creative offer at the time, but I immediately loved the diversity it presents.
Every design I create is tailored to a client’s brief, with interesting cabinetry, evolving technologies and the opportunity to meet some very diverse people. In the first few years, I had worked with Rick Stein the seafood chef and Hugh Jackman of Hollywood fame!
Tom: From a young age, I was fascinated by making things and how things worked, my Grandfather was a skilled amateur cabinet maker and he built me my first workbench. This eventually lead to studying Industrial Design at University, but I was more creative than mathematically minded. I hadn’t really considered kitchen design but during a graduate placement in an architectural firm, my eyes were opened to the world of bespoke kitchens and I loved the interface of technology with creative and classic design.
What inspires your work?
Neil: I’m inspired daily by classic architecture and period properties, particularly Georgian styles. Incorporating period details into a contemporary classic design with all the latest technologies is what excites me.
Tom: I’m inspired by quality, both in terms of design and finish. I love looking at the detail of historic architectural styles and considering how I can incorporate their details into my designs, perhaps with a modern twist. I thrive on the challenge of offering something different within the realms of classic tailored design.
What does ‘bespoke’ mean to you?
Neil: Bespoke means creating something that is very individual to each client and their lifestyle. In kitchen design, some things such as appliances are naturally the same, but the diversity of choice in cabinetry design, cutting-edge worksurfaces, interesting door furniture and all the new technologies coming out means we can offer clients their heart’s desire. We design rooms around lifestyles such as huge family gatherings, clients who own extensive whisky and wine collections, even one client who was a life-long worldwide fossil collector for whom we integrated their hobby into the whole kitchen with interesting display and lighting features.
Tom: To me bespoke means unique. I appreciate that some classic kitchens may have a similar colour or handle finish, but the essence of bespoke is that there is nothing else exactly like it.
What can client’s expect from a Lewis Alderson kitchen?
Neil: Our passion! Bespoke furniture and kitchens are our life and we offer high quality, well thought out designs which meet all of our client’s wishes.
Tom: The difference is in the detail and flexibility of our designs to create something quite unique.
What are your three favourite kitchen gadgets?
Neil: I couldn’t do without a boiling water tap! The NASA technology used for scrubbing the air in Subzero fridges is very exciting and I love the range cookers by Wolf because you have so much control over the heat source. You can literally melt chocolate on a piece of paper held over the flame without the paper catching on re!
Tom: My favourite is the Quooker Flex boiling water tap because it’s so convenient and energy efficient (we can even get them refinished in custom colours). I’m also a huge fan of Total Control Aga’s, they are so much more re ned than the Aga’s of old and again more energy efficient, they can heat up from slumber mode in next to no time. A spiral wine cellar is the ultimate kitchen accessory, who wouldn’t want one of those?
What’s your kitchen like at home?
Neil: Designed by us, my kitchen has a bank of tall cabinets which include side by side ovens. I’ve got an induction hob because the heat source is so controllable and an American fridge/freezer with a water dispenser for the kids. A long island with breakfast bar and a sociable dining area beyond. I have chosen dark colours for my cabinetry with contrasting chrome handles although I’m about to revamp the look with some beautiful knurled burnished brass bar handles.
Tom: I have a Lewis Alderson kitchen with classic cabinetry that beautifully compliments my late Victorian home, it’s quite glam with polished nickel hardware and uses a rich palette of colour. I have a honed Bianco Carrara marble island work surface, that is already developing a lovely patina with the heavy use of the kitchen.Lewis Alderson | lewisalderson.com