Inside Out Contracts: The Beech House, St Albans

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a professional interior designer for a day? Inside Out Contracts stepped into interior designer, Emma Donohoe from Peter & Paul’s, shoes to find out what it was like for her to transform a venue called The Beech House, St Albans, which belongs to the Oakman’s Inns & restaurant group.

[Find Inside Out Contracts on the BCFA Product Finder]

St Albans Blue Banquette, by Inside Out Contracts

Emma has worked with Oakman’s Inns & Restaurants for a few years and she was given the task of refreshing one of their venues. The Beech House brand colours had changed, which meant that the venue transformed from dark brown woods and fabrics, to using bright colours, including a warm orange, which was used in the refreshed logo.

The brief was to transform the venue from the rustic natural woods and browns, to a ‘brighter, contemporary warm space, that could easily transition from breakfast, lunch and dinner and also operate as a party venue when required’.

St Albans Orange Banquette, by Inside Out Contracts

Emma worked closely with Doug, the Design Manager at Inside Out Contracts, on the space planning, and several designs for bespoke furniture pieces, finishes and fabrics.

Emma and Doug on St Albans Fluted Sofa, by Inside Out Contracts

The main challenge with this project was the amount of work required in the planning stages vs the time to complete the project. The space plan and bespoke drawings for 11 furniture items were turned around within a 2-week timeframe, something which would usually take a little longer! The fabrics and finishes all needed to be selected, so Emma really needed to know what she was looking for in order for Inside Out Contracts to be able to recommend the materials which could fit the brief and budget. Working closely as a team, the install happened within a 6-week time frame of the order being placed.

Virage Bar Stools and Frame Poseur Table by Inside Out Contracts

The space plan ensured a new refreshing design could be achieved whilst still maintaining and increasing the amount of covers and equipment from 122 to 142. 

A small increase which makes all the difference to revenue to a busy venue.

St Albans Orange Banquette by Inside Out Contracts

Bespoke furniture items included:

  • Maitre D Station – This was custom made for the needs of the staff and included lots of drawers and storage space to help keep this area tidy and functional. To keep this a cost-effective design the large sections were veneered with a hardwood edge detail. Wire management was also included to ensure it fitted with existing power positions.
  • Fluted dining sofa – This sofa was created with comfort in mind. Designed closely with Emma to reflect a sleek and stylish central pieces with upholstery for the venue.
  • Long banquette seating – this was used, back-to-back to help create separate dining areas within an open plan environment.
  • X Frame Poseur Table – capturing a modern industrial feel this table was custom made to the size and style required by the space plan.

The end result is a venue which is hugely popular within St Albans, which was given a fresh look in keeping with the company brand. It continues to be a hub within the community for breakfast, lunch, dinner and parties.  A positive, lively venue enjoyed by many.

Contact Inside Out Contracts on the BCFA Product Finder.

The BCFA Product Finder is a unique search engine created especially for interior designers to source contract furnishing companies. Utilising this platform will support your findings for upcoming projects, with over 200 members profiles showcasing the latest product launches, new materials available, industry news and design trends.


About Phoebe Train

Phoebe is a Marketing and Events Executive, who joined the BCFA as an English graduate in 2021. Working closely with designers and BCFA members, Phoebe has published an array of content for Design Insider.
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