Surrounded by glorious Kent countryside, Hever Castle offers luxury Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the Astor Wing of the Castle – an Edwardian annexe created by William Waldorf Astor, designed in Tudor style. This period property boasts a fine collection of 19 stunning ‘five-star gold’ graded suites – overlooking a private garden area. The magnificent accommodation has recently been extended to encompass a new wing. This ambitious project took place in what was once staff accommodation and storage areas, overlooking a historic orchard and the exterior of Hever Castle. Now known as the ‘Anne Boleyn Wing’ the space comprises a series of 9 new suites and a breakfast room, all taking full advantage of the views, with each suite being aptly named after different varieties of English apples.
The Brief: Interior designer Sarah Clark, of ‘Interiors at Nine to Eleven’, was commissioned to create an individual look and feel for each suite. All needed to encompass historical elements, modern comforts and contemporary style. In this new space Sarah was asked to retain the feel of the existing Astor Wing, which she had already refurbished, but this time was asked to ‘spread-her-wings’ and in doing so was given the freedom to introduce a unique personality to each suite. Lighting control and a relaxing and cosy ambiance within each space was a priority too. For Sarah elements of continuity and finishing touches were the point of difference – selecting a suitable lighting control system and the perfect switch plates and sockets were a must.
The Solution: The backdrop of the Castle, the angle of natural light, how the room sat within the space and the need to use some existing pieces of furniture provided Sarah with a unique starting point around which to evolve the design of each room. The theme chosen by Sarah that shone through across the project was rooted in Anne Boleyn’s Royal Court but with a significant Edwardian feel by way of a nod to the Astor family.
Every suite was individually designed with continuity and flow achieved via the bathrooms and fixtures and fittings. Sarah was drawn to the Hamilton Range initially through her research to identify the optimum lighting control system. Hamilton’s Mercury® Lighting Control system fitted the project needs perfectly – simple to install, cleverly designed and easy for hotel staff and guests to use. Once engaged with Hamilton Sarah was delighted to discover the stunning switch plate & socket designs and finishes. This together with the fact that Hamilton offers a bespoke and consultative design and production service along with complete integration of lighting control and traditional circuit lighting, provided the ideal solution. Hamilton delivered a personal service, assessing the project on site and drawing up a tailored specification for each area of the project working with Sarah and her electrical contractor to deliver support at every level. Sarah selected the Hartland CFX® collection in Richmond Bronze for its intensity and depth of colour. Essentially neutral with a deep tone to seamlessly blend with the colours and textures of the fabrics and surfaces in each individually styled room.
Ambiance was enhanced within the suites with lighting control. A bespoke 4 button control plate, featuring different settings – engraved with the words ‘Bright’, ‘Calm’, ‘Cosy’ and ‘Off’, were fitted at the entrance to each suite. The plates were made to Sarah’s exact specifications with input and advice from Hamilton to create a stylish end result. In addition to this the lighting levels were originally factory set but Hamilton walked Sarah and her team through the control settings and the 4 final light levels were adjusted by the client. This bespoke addition was just one of several special tailored solutions fulfilled by Hamilton at the request of the designer.
The Result: The elegance and rich heritage of this project were enhanced by the lighting control and switch plate & socket solution afforded by Hamilton. Essentially, Hamilton’s expertise in integrating smart technology sympathetically and seamlessly within a ‘Heritage’ environment proved to be invaluable throughout this project. An instant cosy ambiance was communicated and delivered via the bespoke engraved switch plates and pre-set lighting levels. Most importantly, from Sarah’s perspective, the Richmond Bronze finish of the plates added a coordinated flow through all the suites, which were otherwise individually styled.
Project interior designer Sarah Clark of Interiors at Nine to Eleven says: “I was initially drawn to Hamilton for its Mercury® Lighting Control system and range of stunning switch plates & sockets which perfectly suited the needs of this project. However I soon came to appreciate and value the fabulous personal service and consultative approach provided by the Hamilton Team. I know we achieved the best system we could for the space. Hamilton was outstanding and a pleasure to work with. Everyone I came in contact with gave huge attention to detail. The price was cost effective too and worked within our budget.”
In summary, it’s not hard to imagine Anne Boleyn, a previous Hever Castle resident, and of course the Astor family being delighted with the end result too! Sarah found and made contact with Hamilton initially at Interiors UK 2014 at the NEC – she says: “The Hamilton team on the exhibition stand were friendly, knowledgeable and in no way pushy. No hard sell just straightforward and informative communication!”