Island in the sun
Having just installed a traditional, bespoke, luxury kitchen for a customer I’m always keen to discover what were the main reasons for the customer choosing Broadway.
Sitting on either the sun terrace or cast iron balconies of Elverstone Manor, on the Isle of Wight, overlooking uninterrupted views of the becalmed, twinkling blue English Channel while spotting distant cross-continental ferries beneath a clear blue sky I can’t help but wonder if my customer was born with a silver spoon in his mouth... and I can’t help but ask.
“Far from it, “says Chris Hartley, “In fact my mother was a cleaner and my father was a postman so life was tough in the East End of London where any thought of a luxury bespoke kitchen was just a silly pipe dream.”
Chris worked hard following a career in a number of roles in a multinational engineering company but started to achieve success as soon as he went into business. Realising that he’d be better off earning money for himself than for other people Chris entered the world of commercial property and now has a portfolio of over a million square feet with little finance on any of the properties. “Not bad for a boy from the East End !” he quips.
Chris’s recently purchased Victorian home originally belonged to Lord Elverstone before being converted first into a hotel and then a boarding school with over 90 pupils. Over many years successive owners had spent little to preserve the fabric of the building and it had fallen into disrepair but Chris was quick to see the potential and realise that lack of ‘improvement’ since it was built had allowed almost all of the original features to remain and the external appearance was almost ‘as built’.
I ask Chris: “Are you happy with your bespoke Broadway kitchen?”
“Yes” says Chris, “We are both delighted beyond words. In fact we will definitely be in touch for our next projects whenever and wherever they may be.” Chris continues: “It’s just what we’ve waited for and to see the finished kitchen is wonderful as it’s turned out to be better than we could ever have imagined. Your computer images and hand drawings were a great representation of an opulent, luxury kitchen made to our exacting standards but no substitute for the real thing. So thank you Satt for our beautiful kitchen traditional Victorian kitchen.”
I’m touched by Chris’s kind words, they mean a lot to me. I thank Chris but ask the obvious question: “Do you feel that it is a kitchen that you and Angela deserve for all the years of hard graft ?”
“Not at all’ responds Chris, “it’s not what we deserved, although we love every bit of it and it’s designed to suit us, it’s what the Manor House deserved. It is a befitting compliment to the original Manor and puts back the love that so obviously went into all the original design features. It is now our main residence and we love it, if we ever decided to buy another house I would make Broadway my first choice for the kitchen.
“Here, our intention was to replicate the original Victorian pseudo-gothic splendour and your design of this traditional opulent kitchen not only pays true homage to the architecture of the Manor but the skill and expertise of your craftsmen and fitters is equal to that of the Victorian perfectionist builders. We’re honoured to be the first customers to receive your ‘Buckingham’ range as it’s everything that we and the house could have wished… and more.”
I quiz Chris, “Would you have ordered without visiting our manufacturing workshops and showroom? ... And did the distance to Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands put you off?”
Chris is quick to answer, “It was initially the photographs of real customers’ traditional luxury kitchens throughout your website which drew us to Broadway but you and your son made us feel so much at ease when you first came to visit us that Angela and I felt comfortable in reciprocating by making the journey and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Your showroom, the evident dedication of your craftsmen in the carpentry workshops plus the obvious passion that you display and the quality of your products were reassuring clinchers.
“My personal passions are my wife, my cars and my home, I could see your own passion which you so successfully transferred into the kitchen design that now resides in our house and makes our family life together so much more complete. Every day the kitchen is the main room of the house where we always sit and eat together and that quality family time is what matters most to us. Takeaways and restaurant visits are few and far between as we enjoy every moment in our grand and very special kitchen. It’s so practical in meeting our needs and lifestyle. We may physically live on an island but you could argue that it’s our very own wonderful island in the kitchen where we spend so much of each day that makes it all worthwhile.”