Hidden Gem

There is a gem nestling in picturesque grounds just outside Langton Green in Kent. Unless you had previously sought out a company that creates beautiful handmade stone garden ornaments, fountains and architectural elements, then you may not even know they exist.

Welcome to Chilstone, the home of cast stone. For those of you who are uninitiated in the wonders of cast stone, let me give you a quick introduction to this very versatile and clever material. Back in 1953 the founder of Chilstone; Michael Dibben wanted to find a substance that resembled natural antique stone as closely as possible. After extensive research he found cast stone, which can be crafted or moulded into virtually any shape or size, which makes it perfect for garden ornaments, bespoke stonework and architectural restoration projects. This material closely resembles natural stone, what’s more it weathers wonderfully taking on an antiqued patina that blends beautifully with any stonework in its surroundings.

Replacement stone portico by Chilstone

The special process of hand making all of Chilstone’s pieces, both large and small, is carried out in the workshops on site by a team of dedicated craftspeople. They use their skills and attention to detail to create elegant pieces, some of which grace many well-known and prestigious properties, such as Kensington Palace, Hever Castle, Kew Gardens and the Longleat Estate. Chilstone exports worldwide with customers in the USA, Asia and throughout Europe.

The beautiful Kew fountain from Chilstone

There’s no doubt that the elegant ornaments and decorative pieces that Chilstone produce are bound to appeal to all types of customer from the residential gardener to garden designers alike – interesting to note that Chilstone’s products have featured in many award-winning show gardens at RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows – and they are set to yet again in 2019. And there’s so much more they offer, there’s the whole arena of bespoke architectural services they provide to architects, builders, developers, landscapers and the general public.

Kensington Palace gardens

Chilstone can restore original features like statues and fountains, but also window and door surrounds, sills, cornices, columns or other stone features. An interesting example is a house refurbishment project in a street that was mainly made up of Victorian properties, the owners wanted to match the other houses, but sadly their house’s portico had been removed at some point in the past. Chilstone was able to provide a stone portico within keeping of the history of the house and matching the others in the street.

Ballustrading at Hever Castle

They can do this by supplying from their existing stone product range or by taking a mould from neighbouring properties. This works for almost any stone feature like coping, balustrades and sills. It’s well worth pointing out that damaged or eroded stonework can be replicated more cost effectively than carved stone. The fine texture is perfect for detailing and engraving, and they have excellent colour matching capabilities along with optional stainless steel reinforcements when components are load bearing.

Bespoke cornices are used to define porticos, window surrounds, pediments and other decorative features

Not every Chilstone product is installed as a result of restoration, they are frequently being utilised in new builds. Some developers incorporate Chilstone’s range of architectural elements to give a more classical appearance, with features that will weather well. Likewise extensions to period properties can be helped to blend more easily with the original building by replicating features, so the new parts complement the old.

If you would like to know more about Chilstone, please see www.chilstone.com or visit their show garden where you can enjoy the beautifully landscaped grounds and see their wonderful work in person.

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