We were thrilled to be asked to work once again with Wells & Co, to complete a full refurbishment of The Eaton Oak pub and restaurant with rooms in St Neots, Cambridgeshire.
Now part of the Wells & Co’s Apostrophe pubs estate, The Eaton Oak is already proving to be a popular local pub that’s also a favourite for business and leisure visitors thanks to its proximity to the A1. In addition to a full interior redesign, analysis of the local market showed that there was a clear opportunity to increase revenue and attract new customers with an improved restaurant offering and spaces that work for different uses and customers. A decision was also taken to refurbish all nine bedrooms and to build a contemporary new conservatory to the rear of the premises, requiring a total investment of over £1m from Wells & Co.
The new conservatory, with its glass roof and bi-fold doors, is a light, bright attractive space that’s already proved popular with clients, while a covered pergola and outside bar will help extend the usable space to maximise revenue for eating, drinking and events for much of the year. Flooring was replaced and upgraded throughout, with a mix of timber, carpet and tiled flooring in the different zones throughout the property.
Seating was also used to differentiate the various areas of the bar and restaurant – high upholstered booths located in the bar area and large, circular booths were installed in a flexible function area. This can work for everything from private events and parties through to business meetings and gives our client opportunities to generate revenue in what was an under-used space. More fixed seating is used elsewhere with different styles, fabrics and finishes to identify the lounge bar and the dining zone.
Dining is a key element of the design – with a kitchen specialising in freshly-cooked food, we incorporated an open servery to allow guests to see inside and showcase the chefs at work. The new design and furniture has allowed our client to increase the number of covers and has helped build a reputation for The Eaton Oak for destination dining. Long tables made of chunky reclaimed oak set the scene for a relaxed and convivial atmosphere and sit well alongside the colour palette of emerald green, teal and mustard. We layered various fabric patterns to include vibrant geometrics and floral graphic which add a bold touch and provides a talking point alongside quirky accessories and artwork.
The nine bedrooms were all fully refurbished, with new Grohe sanitary ware and sleek tiles installed in the en-suite bathrooms. The bedroom designed referenced local landmarks, notable figures from local history and of course oak leaf and acorn motifs.
This has been a fantastic project to work on – it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to bring together a design for a full property, with everything from bedrooms and bathrooms to drinking, dining and outside space. The project marked the move from a tenanted site to a managed house and it’s been great to see how much it’s a part of the local community while also drawing in new custom as the reputation continues to build.