About Us

Founded by Tony Niblock and Katie Fontana over thirty years ago, seeking simplicity while designing and building a Suffolk longhouse. Katie designed the kitchen drawing inspiration from the elegant Georgian values of her own parents’ home, commissioning a local joiner to make the kitchen to their personal specification and design and painting it themselves. Encouraged by the response from leading design magazines, the first Plain English range was launched in 1993. Today with showrooms in London, Suffolk, New York and LA.

A company of designers, Plain English has set a benchmark for craftsmanship and quality, creating hand-crafted kitchens, dressing rooms, pantries and libraries in both city and country houses, their approach is both simple and complex; more of a sensibility than a formula. Bringing a balance of form and function while sharing enthusiasm for time-honoured traditions, their aesthetic references the values of the past while gently evolving to embrace modern living worldwide. Hand-painted in Suffolk in a growing range of exclusive paint colours, their bespoke and off-the-peg range of cupboards and furniture are equally at home in a Brutalist extension as they are in an 18th-century folly.

How would you describe your style?

Inspired by the timeless proportions of Georgian ‘below stairs’ joinery, (researching Huguenot architecture, artisan detailing as well as the Shaker villages in Massachusetts, all with meticulous attention to detail), Plain English strives to echo the ideals of classical architecture through its approach to joinery and interior design. A flexible system of proportions and detail that can be used in many applications both modern and traditional. A desire for perfection, the finest quality of materials and a passion for simplicity and understatement in every detail and room they create.

Please describe a recently completed project or tell us about the bespoke service that you offer

A fully bespoke design service begins with the client's dreams and aspirations for their home. The designers focus on not only how to configure the space to maximise potential but also how every detail adds to the enjoyment of a Plain English design. Architecture and layout of adjacent rooms, entryways, and the flow of light are all considered. This means a lot of questions to ensure the completed room (or rooms) fulfils and hopefully exceeds every expectation. Meetings on site and visits by the Plain English surveyor and technical team throughout the process will ensure every cupboard and every detail fits exactly as intended. Once the designs are approved, a team of in-house artisans begins the process of making each element using traditional hand skills combined with 21st-century precision gadgetry. The cupboards are hand painted in their Suffolk workshops using a roller and brush. Honed and jointed, lined and waxed, polished and painted. Importantly all cupboards are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside because it is essential to their company ethos that design is never compromised. Every commission deserves a service that goes above and beyond, whether it be a larder cupboard, a a series of rooms, the customer has paid the compliment of choosing the skill, effort, dedication and passion Plain English has become known for.