The White Horse, a newly renovated 18th Century Victorian pub, has recently been nominated in the prestigious Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2014.
The aged building was previously a minimalistic fish restaurant, but since being taken over by investment company Cirrus Inns has been entirely transformed.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Matt Rawlinson, owner of Raw Designs, to find out more about his firm’s involvement in the project. He said:
“We became involved in The White Horse as we have worked with Cirrus Inns previously on numerous projects and when they purchased The White Horse site they asked us to design this project too. The existing property had been converted by the previous owners whohad stripped out all of its original features, turning it into a minimalist space which didn’t suit the building at all.
“Working alongside main contractors Speller Metcalfe we mostly installed new screens and walls in the space, broke up the venue and refurbished what was already there.”
Work began on site in October 2012 and the team’s first task was to replace some of the building’s flooring as the property had suffered extensive flooding in the past. Channels were also installed and some of the property’s drainage was re-rooted in order to make the venue more structurally sound. The building’s main supply was also changed from oil to gas which was quite a major structural task.
Another part of the works included the refurbishment of the kitchen and the rebuilding of the pub’s bar. New dividing screens were installed throughout the restaurant, making the space into a more intimate cosy venue rather than a vast expanse. The White Horse also comprises 15 bedrooms and so these were revamped as part of the redevelopment project.
The two bedrooms that lie on the first floor of the pub were redecorated and installed with new showers, comfortable beds, captivating murals and elegant vintage furniture pieces. A lot of the bedrooms were redecorated using old motor racing prints and an eclectic mix of furniture, combined with rusty metal finishes.
Two accommodation blocks outside the pub contain the remaining bedrooms which have also been refurbished; hot tubs that used to lie in the grounds of the property have been removed and the external area has been landscaped.
The pub has a country feel but also manages to retain a contemporary twist. The venue comprises a comforting open fireplace, large comfyarmchairs, main bar space, snug area, dining room and a private dining space at the back of the pub dining area. The lovely landscaped beer garden features a vintage Citroen van champagne bar and is ideal for drinks in the summer months and the private dining space offers room for up to 14 diners wanting to celebrate a birthday or a special occasion.
New lighting, furniture and bright finishing touches have been added to the venue to create a warm, welcoming pub environment. The multi-functional venue now seats up to 55 people, including the private dining space, and opened its doors in February 2013.
Matt Rawlinson added:
“The only real challenge with the project was to bring atmosphere and a sense of history back into a building which had been completely gutted. We wanted to create atmosphere in all of the pubs little corners and make the space feel much more like a classic country pub with a modern twist, which I think we managed to achieve.
“The venue has a really nice feel when you walk in and boasts a modern, yet classic menu boasting amazing game and venison dishes.”
Matt said that it has been a pleasure for him and his team to work on this project as normally they work on bars in London and various city centre locations, so they are happy to bring their contemporary eye to this project. With regards to the venue’s nomination in this year’s Restaurant & Bar Design Awards Matt commented:
“It’s great for us to be nominated this year but there is some stiff competition out there and some great projects, so to even get nominated is brilliant. We have our fingers crossed.”