A magnificent timber-framed building

We have been very privileged to work on some truly incredible buildings over the years, and it’s always a source of pride when we get to do so in our own little part of the world, here in sunny Essex. In the small town of Witham, we’ve been beavering away on the intriguingly named Spread Eagle: Parts of The Spread Eagle date from the 1300s, it’s been a public house since the 1600s and is described in a 19th century text as “the only 4 gabled inn in the Kingdom”!

Grade II* Listed, this magnificent timber-framed building has actually got a large gabled wing at
the north-west end and then 4 smaller gables, including a Dutch gable surmounted by the figure of an eagle, and as you can imagine, refitting the interior threw up many of the tricky challenges this age of property so often presents.

We remained undeterred, however, and set about creating the vision of the designers at Harp Interiors, to create a beautiful Chinese restaurant from the large, neglected space for their client. Beth at Harp says, “The team at GS Contracts have done a great job of bringing the Spread Eagle back to life. Being a Grade II* listed building, it was empty for a long while, but our client decided to take on the challenge and GS have been a big supporting factor in getting this job complete.”

There were certainly plenty of features to keep, including sash windows, exposed herringbone brickwork and stunning wooden floors, but we have years of experience in maximising original details, while modernising and refreshing listed and heritage spaces. Our innovative and highly skilled team are also experts at finding ways to fulfil a creative vision, which came in handy as there was plenty of original, bespoke work to add in to the building too. We often say, if you can dream it, we can build it, and our joiners and solid surface craftsmen have often been tested, and never found wanting! Beth agrees:

“There is now a brand-new feature bar, that the team at GS did a fantastic job of creating, along with smaller features dotted around the dining areas. My favourite aspect of the design is the tiled wall in an alcove; it looks exactly how I imagined it to, which is always exciting for a designer to see!”

With a multitude of nooks and crannies, protected status and a change of use to factor in, The Spread Eagle was always going to be a challenge, but we’re proud to say, both designer and client were thrilled both with our trustworthy and can-do working methods, and the end result – the stunning AKA restaurant, ready for hungry visitors:

“Any issues that arose were solved quickly and effectively and the team at Harp are really happy with the outcome.”

As are we – we love it when a plan comes together!

Photographs courtesy of Hayley at Harp Interiors.

If you have a retail, leisure or hospitality project you could use our team’s help with then don’t hesitate to get in touch

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