samples of wooden furniture
26 November 2020 by dom_admin 0 Comments

Why you should consider using Corian

If you are looking to add unique style to your home, office or reception area then Corian could be just the thing for you.

This man-made solid surface is traditionally used for countertops. But at GS Contracts we are masters of Corian and understand that pretty much the only limit to how it can be used is your imagination!

Read on to find out more about this amazing material.

A seamless appearance

Fluid lines are what make Corian such a joy to work with. It can be used to create large shapes with no visible joins which means you can let your imagination run wild when it comes to design.

Endless choice

Corian comes in literally hundreds of finishes, colours and effects so there is bound to be one which fits your design goals.

Made from a mixture of resin, minerals and colourants, the dazzling array of hues ranges from Hot red to Mint Ice with many subtler options in between. Greys, whites and Anthracite black provide great neutrals, and there are options which mimic natural materials such as mahogany and weathered concrete.

And it’s not just shaping Corian that’s seamless – the colour and pattern is consistent throughout the product too, so you won’t end up with patches that jar because they are slightly different in appearance.

It can be shaped and curved

You can curve and shape Corian to fit your space and make a real statement. In a recent project we were commissioned to create a stunning reception desk which curved up and around the walls and ceiling, adding a real wow factor when clients enter the building.

Add a touch of luxury

Corian is great when used in the home, too. Although it is at the higher end in terms of pricing, its durability makes it a great investment, plus it’s easy to keep clean. Countertops, backsplashes, integral sinks, feature walls, shower trays, warm to the touch flooring, dining surfaces – the options are endless.


The versatility of Corian makes it easy to leave a lasting impression with your customers or in your home. Think curving reception desks in unusual organic shapes, bold and striking waiter stations in restaurants or even small decorative items that make your space unique. Corian can be shaped to meet your needs.

Take the plunge

So now you know more about the wonders of Corian, get in touch to discuss how we can help you to incorporate it into your next project! Give us a call on 01206 793053.

18 November 2020 by dom_admin 0 Comments

5 Things to Consider When Fitting-Out Your Café

Owning a coffee shop is a popular life-goal but there’s more to a successful café than a good latte – the design and layout of your space is paramount to its success. Of course, this job is usually assigned to architects and designers, however your choice of shop fitters is also a decision that will be fundamental to the outcome of your fit-out.

GS Contracts has spent many years designing, fitting out and refurbishing coffee bars and cafes. As experienced shop fitters we can advise you on everything from costs to queue management, product placement to planning permissions, in a way that will allow you to avoid pitfalls, maximise your space and supersize your profits!

Here are the five most common issues we’ve come across that need every café owner’s consideration:

1. Budget

Be realistic! You need to take into account the cost of the premises; running costs from day one (you won’t be able to start a fit-out without electricity, for example!); professional fees- your architect, designer, labour; staff and any training they need; the cost of furniture, the all-important commercial equipment; ceramics and cutlery; branding; permits; licences… the list is long, so make sure you’ve covered all bases. It’s important that your budget is created with your design in mind and vice versa – how many covers will you need to do a day to break even and how many tables will you need to accommodate in your space to make that possible? If you don’t know where to start, let us help with costings and estimates to make sure you’re working within the confines of your finances.

2. Location, location, location!

Of course, you must pick a part of town that is busy enough to provide the footfall a café needs to be viable, but you also need to pick a premises that’s suitable – for example, does it have a power supply and power points in the right places? Can you install extractors? (Whilst the smell of coffee can be delicious, air must be circulated in a hot, working environment). Does the site have the permissions you’ll need to run it as a café, and if not, how easy will that change of use be to obtain? Then there are buildings with listed status or owned by public sector landlords – any of these things can cause issues further down the line if not factored in from the beginning. Luckily, with GS Contracts on board many of the headaches will be avoided or eased, because we’ve built up our expertise in exactly this over the years.

3. Design

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of any café’s design is the flow of the layout. It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of both employee and customer – does the barista have enough space to work methodically and get to the things he/she will need? Can your waiting staff get quickly across the room and access all areas with trays in hand? Will customers immediately understand how to queue and order and is there sufficient space for waiting for drinks without getting in each other’s way? Are there enough tables and seats? Have you got sufficient storage? With a custom joinery service like ours we can easily add bespoke fixtures, custom-made shelving and things like dropped ceilings so you can add heating and cooling features out of sight, so talk to us to find out what you can factor into your design to make the most of the space you have.

4. Decoration

Does the style of café you plan to open fit well within the area you’ve chosen? For example, areas like Shoreditch in East London have a quirky feel where art and individuality can take centre place, whereas coffee shops in the City of London tend to be simple, sleek affairs. A holistic approach to the decoration of your café will mean you think consistently about the storefront, signage, furniture, flooring, lighting and even colour schemes: Blues in particular have been found to curb appetite while reds can promote hunger. Perhaps not surprisingly, greens are associated with health and fresh nutrition and clashing colours are more likely to cause people to feel unsettled and either order takeaway or eat and leave fast. If you’re aiming for a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere, then calming, complimentary colour schemes work best.

5. Choosing the right team

Over the years GS Contracts has nurtured relationships with some outstanding designers and can recommend someone perfect for your venture. Our own team is made up of exceptional project managers and craftspeople who will become a key part of your success. Make our team your team. Give us a ring today.

Team Member Profile: Martyn Rhodes

Today we’d like to introduce Martyn Rhodes, another of our talented workshop employees.

Liverpool FC supporter Martyn joined GS Contracts 6 years ago, at the age of 31 when he was made redundant from his previous job. Fed up of starting over, Martyn decided it was time to learn a trade and so, he found himself in college once a week (with some much younger classmates!) completing an apprenticeship in Bench Joinery and working for GS Contracts, gaining and honing the practical skills for the other 4 days a week.

Martyn did so well and enjoyed the experience so much that he chose to complete a third year too which bagged him an additional advanced craft qualification and a Level 3 NVQ. The apprenticeship was funded through the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and they also helped us to be sure we were supporting Martyn every step along the way.

Martyn is now a skilled and valued member of our joinery team, making desks, cupboards, bars, seating and bespoke pieces for many of our projects. He was the one tasked with remaking the bar for exclusive London café & deli Queens of Mayfair fit-out, which despite being built to spec, came up to almost neck height when actually installed, as the angle of the floor hadn’t been taken into account! Martyn remodelled the piece, which had brass plinths and so couldn’t simply be cut down, and both he and the client were over the moon with the finished article in-situ.

Another favourite job of Martyn’s was building a totally bespoke coffee hut for a client that now sits in Hyde Park – it was made at our joinery workshop, and Martyn vividly remembers that, after weeks of glorious weather, the day the client arrived with a 4 x 4 and a trailer to pick it up, it poured with rain!

  1. What’s your favourite food?      Pizza!
  2. What’s your favourite material to work in?       Walnut
  3. Which celebrity would you like to have dinner with?     Jurgen Klopp
  4. What’s your favourite ever project so far?         Bird Street pop-up units
  5. What was your favourite subject at school?      PE
  6. What’s your favourite tool?        Plunge saw
  7. What hobby takes up most of your time?      Watching, playing and coaching football
  8. What’s your favourite music to work to?       Dance music
  9. What item would you most like to make if money and time were no object?       An entire house to my own specification
  10. What’s the best thing about working at GS Contracts?    The people!

The people, eh? We couldn’t agree more. We’re super proud of our team of visionary designers, talented craftspeople and astute project managers.

Make our team your team. Just give us a call Contact us!