Coach House in Hertfordshire is a two-storey restaurant, situated in historic Hatfield House – the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I. During 2011, work was undertaken on the restaurant to transform the former tea-room into a brand new diner with improved services. The transformation of Coach House was so successful the site recently scooped the Best UK Café of Fast Food Award at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2012.
SHH was the lead designer on the Coach House project and was responsible for all interior design work and the architectural services on the site.
Speaking about achieving the important accolade, SHH Associate and Project Leader, Brendan Heath, said:
“Seeing Coach House win the award was very satisfying. In terms of design work the restaurant sector is a very competitive sector to be in so just being shortlisted for an award is quite an achievement.
“The list of projects that were nominated for awards at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2012 included some very high quality designs, so to go on and win was very important to us.”
Work began on the Coach House project in January 2011 and was completed in April 2011, just in time for the Easter season.
Prior to work taking place on the site the building housed a tearoom which was operated by the Hatfield House estate as an additional source of revenue, however as the tearoom had limited space the site was unable to meet its potential.
The project brief was to create a facility which could service both visitors and tenants, by creating a facility which would offer all-year appeal. Once work was complete on the project, Compass Group UK & Ireland took over the operation of the facility.
“Before we started on the project the former restaurant was situated purely on the ground floor of the Hatfield House, so we developed the first floor and incorporated an interconnecting staircase. To increase the space the upper level extends onto an external flat roof terrace whilst the overall layout of the restaurant has been reconfigured to meet the style of food that is being served.
“Historically most of the food preparation was hidden in the back of house areas and consisted mostly of pre-prepared food and boxed sandwiches. The work we undertook allowed us to open up the area to create a dining experience where food preparation could be displayed.
“We divided the site into three sections, which included a bakery counter, a deli counter and a hot food counter. The reconfiguration of space was very important as it allowed the site to cater for the high volume of people who regularly visit Hatfield House.”
“Seeing Coach House win the award was very satisfying. In terms of design work the restaurant sector is a very competitive sector to be in so just being shortlisted for an award is quite an achievement.”
Additional work on the project included the installation of new air source heat pumps, new electrical services and hot water boilers.
SHH Creative Director, Neil Hogan, said:
“SHH specialises in architecture and interior design works with two distinct sides to the company – residential and hospitality.
“We’ve never had a house style, so we have never imposed our own design styling on a project; instead, we listen, we conduct research and we treat each individual project on an individual basis. Every project is a fresh sheet of paper and a fresh sheet of ideas and this has kept our portfolio very interesting.
“Coach House was very important for us as it transformed a small cafeteria into a destination eatery and winning an award at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2012 was fantastic. It’s great for us and our clients, but it also provided recognition for everyone who has worked on this site throughout its transformation.”
“Marco Rebora – the organiser of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards – did a great job with the event. He created an annual global awards ceremony in such a short space of time that was not only a powerful vehicle for the industry but also an event which perfectly highlighted the interesting design work that we and others do.”