To those who know of SHL and especially Sam, it comes at no surprise that we decided to do something a little different with our own new office.. We had been on the lookout for a new office space for a few months, when rather coincidentally an office became available just downstairs within The Picture House, our prior current location.

Rather than buy desks, shelves and storage, we decided to build our own!

The initial concept had to tick a number of boxes:

  • It had to give us all the tools we needed in order to perform development sessions.
  • Be an environment in which we would happily spend more than 9 or 10 hours.
  • Inspire new ways of thinking
  • Have capacity for expansion

The Sam Howell Ltd Office build 2


The Picture House, formerly an old cinema, was built in the early 20th century. There is an old rustic feel that runs through the building, and we took this as inspiration for our own office.

We planned the layout in Google SketchUp, a very handy tool for mocking up basic 3D designs.  This saved us an enormous amount of time as we were able to build our plan almost straight away, certainly a software package we recommend.



We fabricated the desks out of hardwood bought from a timber merchant. After cutting them into shape we planned to save offcuts for the purpose of making legs and also to make the desks look thicker (more on that in a moment)

The desks were sanded down and varnished to stop spillages tarnishing the wood. The  100mm off cuts were screwed to the underside edge of the desks and increased the thickness from 200mm to 400mm.



After hours of painting we transformed the dull grey walls into something that Ron Dennis at McLaren would be proud of. We tried to keep a black and white continuity throughout, detailing the radiator and pipes which made the office feel more bespoke.

The Sam Howell Ltd Office build


Development sessions are the most important part of our work so we used a few gadgets to make our life easier. The LED TV has a chromecast feature which enables content to be switched between multiple computers and power sockets mounted underneath the table make sure that guests always have power for their laptops.  The 4 edgeless whiteboards work really well with the minimalist style and are quintessential to helping clients write down their ideas.

Our good friend and client, Aaron Keating, has his own spot for when he takes a break from working with the likes of Tom Cruise in Hollywood. We even have a clapper board hung up with his name on it!

We are still adding more weird and wonderful items to the office to make the environment feel that little more special. Please come in and say hello.

Sam Perkins


build · office

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