Risen from the Ashes

After fire ravaged a beautiful period house in Gravesend last year, joinery specialist Darren Bate was called in to help restore the much-loved family home.

An electrical fault had started a blaze under the stairs one night while two adults and two children were sleeping. Luckily a smoke alarm prompted them all to exit safely, but the stairs were destroyed and the fire had spread to other rooms.

Thanks to Darren, who owns DB Specialist Joinery Ltd based in Canterbury, a replica staircase has now risen from the ashes. It was installed just before Christmas, and Darren’s team has since focused on fitting a replacement kitchen which was hand-built from scratch, keeping to the same configuration specification as before the fire.

All along the process there were meetings with the main contractor – Bartons of Whitstable and their contracts manager Mr Firmin, and careful discussions with the clients, who took a close interest in the renovation. “They were really keen that we kept faith to all the details, right down to paint colours and handles,” says Darren.

The ‘carbon copy’ of the old staircase and hall panelling has one extra – some discreet understair storage solutions which the clients negotiated separately with Darren alongside the insurance specification.

“The guys on the shopfloor and in the sprayshop have done a magnificent job on these two projects which the client seems to really appreciate. We have a great team here that I am really proud of,” he says. “This type of work is our bread and butter, and we have the in-house skills to do it.”

Darren, who has owned a business for 20 years, focuses on surveying, estimating, drawing and processing, with office back-up from wife Tara, and is reliant on his team of experienced joiners, machinists and finishers to maintain an excellent reputation for bespoke work of high quality.

The firm can design and make all types of purpose-made joinery, from just a single replacement sash to a complete development. They work closely with local authorities and particularly with conservation officers.

CAD two-dimensional drawings are produced in-house and the workshops are on site at the premises on the outskirts of Canterbury – “a fantastic location in a city so rich in conservation where our skills come into their own,” says Darren.

He’s a man happy in his work, and nothing pleases him more than seeing the guys on the shop floor focused and passionate about the work we do combined with satisfaction and appreciation on the faces of clients. “People love the smell and feel of timber, and I like it when they take a real interest in what we do,” he says.

www.dbsj.co.uk Tel: 01227 712353

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