With outside the box thinking CJH Studio explores the possibilities of woodgrain – a running theme that is anything but conventional - while reflecting the practical needs of a functioning home.

Already known for their use of natural materials and threading the line of joinery as furniture, CJH Studio creates spaces that employ a subtle use of diverse textures and tones. A constant of their work is woodgrain and soft forms creating homes and spaces that balance functionality, aesthetics, and the needs of their clients.

Almost sculptural in execution CJH Studio has designed four spaces for Laminex that speak to the studio’s signature materiality, while exploring all the advantages that Laminex Woodgrain laminates can offer.

Kitchen Curves

Cassie James-Herrick calls it a play on grain, but in this kitchen that features several Laminex decors, a play on grain is an understatement. Predominantly clad in Laminex Aged Ash chalk finish, this kitchen redefines the use of woodgrain laminates.

Tall panels run vertically and bookend a benchtop, showcasing the first great feature of Laminex woodgrains; random placement of the pattern. The effect is continuous, and notions of artificiality and uneasy feelings of repeat is melted away. Playing with the continuous grain, the large, curved bulkhead runs horizontally enabling the panel to be produced without seams or joins, cleanly finishing at the splashback in one beautiful swoop.

James-Herrick calls the section that wraps the sink and benchtop the splashback shroud. “It was about breaking the monotonal qualities of the benchtop and it brought in Laminex Milkwood and a different grain direction,” says the designer. Whilst a key design element, this section also provides the addition of functionality doubling as a shelf to keep item in regular circulation.

Breaking up the main unit while keeping the design motif moving, the bullnose edge of the benchtop is repeated below in the drawers and in the shelves of the pantry. Throughout CJH Studio has used push release doors and drawers or finger pulls to keep the focus on materials and the consistency of grain.

Pushing the traditional

CJH Studio has applied a mix of cold and post-formed techniques, stripping back surface detail to let the material do the work. Where there is a need for handles – as opposed to the press and finger pull doors and drawers, she has used an edge profile, flipping the grain vertically to make custom handles at the height of the doors, like what we see in the laundry. In this way, the practical and aesthetic needs of the design are met without compromise and “it provides a more sculptural element to create shadows and detail which is important. It created more depth and pushes the traditional responses in these settings,” says James-Herrick.

With curves like the kitchen bulkhead, plinth, and laundry walls (a basic rule is any radius greater than 150mm) cold forming has been used. Working on a substrate - like Trade Essentials Craftform - the desired curve or shape is formed, and the laminate adhered to the surface. Anything smaller and a post-forming technique is used, much like the bullnose detail in the kitchen benchtop. Using this technique, CJH Studio have been able to push the perception and use of woodgrain laminates to unexpected heights while maintaining their signature style of warm and welcoming interiors with a love of custom detailing.

Create a sense of drama with custom detailing

CJH Studio’s convertible touches extend to all the rooms of this project, their love of custom pieces blurring the line of furniture and joinery. In the bedroom, the makeup tray hidden within the desk keeps the space clean at the drop of a hat, or in this case the drop of a desktop. Laminex Elegant Oak in Chalk sits gracefully alongside Laminex Raw Cotton in Natural, belying their hardworking nature and need for a fuss free home for everything. Grounding the space and giving the wardrobe a sense of drama, the base has been laminated in Laminex Catalana Marble, highlighting the possibilities and properties of Laminex in a casually cool nod to high-fashion interiors.

Contrasts and compliments

At one end of the of the living room a bar in Laminex Mirror Smoke is concealed. At the other a desk and bench seat is hidden in the wall, an ode to mid-century pragmatism. Clad in Danish Walnut, the rich materiality of this room is matched by its functionality and perhaps a subconscious response to the extremes of working from home. Practical considerations and the needs of a shared space collide in a wonderful palette of natural tones and textures, with the mirrored bar acting as a “metallic contrast to the walnut. It was nice to put the two together,” James-Herricks tells Laminex. “It was about pushing and understanding the material, about considering it in a new way and outside the square of what’s possible with the product, to look at it outside of joinery.”

With these four spaces CJH Studio has pushed and explored the possibilities of woodgrain. Her work often specifies natural timbers and with this collaboration the advantages of Laminex’s woodgrain has sprung forth. Of course, the durability and hardwearing features make sense in high traffic or areas of concern, but the ability to specify woodgrain without the need for treatment, that won’t fade or stain while remaining incredibly authentic and flexible is the true advantage. The sweeping curves and dramatic backdrops of Laminex x CJH Studio is just the beginning of your own design journey.

Design & Art Direction: CJH Studio for Laminex
Styling: Bek Sheppard
Photography: James Geer

Featured in these designs
Laminex Aged Ash, Chalk finish – Cabinetry and Benchtop
Laminex Milkwood – Splashback and Drawer Interiors
Laminex Danish Walnut, Chalk finish – Plinth and Pantry Interior (Shelves)
Laminex Mirror Smoke – Pantry Interior (Back Panel)

Laminex Elegant Oak, Chalk & Natural finish – Cabinetry
Laminex Catalana Marble – Bottom Drawers
Laminex Raw Cotton – Dressing Station and Tray

Laminex Danish Walnut, Chalk finish – Cabinetry
Laminex Sublime Teak, Chalk finish – Desk Joinery
Laminex Mirror Smoke – Bar Joinery

Laminex Milkwood – Joinery
Laminex French Cream – Laundry Joinery