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Designing a Gun Room: A Practical Guide by Halstock and Holland & Holland

Shooting is a social sport and many people therefore choose to create a gun room in which guests can enjoy a drink and a cigar. Ideally, there also needs to be an adjoining area in which cleaning, drying and other practical tasks can be carried out.

Building a gun room requires the coordination of several specialist skills, which is why Halstock (www.halstock.com), the leading British cabinet maker, and Holland & Holland (www.hollandandholland.com), the leading gun-maker, have formed an alliance to offer clients their joint expertise. While Holland & Holland can provide the best possible advice on guns and gun care, Halstock can help to create a genuinely personal room, as well as share its expertise in working with architects, climate control engineers, lighting specialists and security professionals.

Overall size: The size of a gun room depends on how many guns you have and whether you want to invite guests into the room.  A practical gun room for eight to twelve guns need be no more than 10m² (108 sq ft) but bear in mind the additional space you will need for guest guns and ammunition.  If possible, cater for the largest number of guests you will have on shoot days.  If you are happy to invite guests into your gun room and you are keen to include an adjoining drying area and boot room with room for clothing and ear protectors, for example, then an area of 40m² (430 sq ft) is not extravagant.  

Gun cabinets: Apart from the number and specific dimensions of your guns, the design of your gun cabinets will be determined by whether you prefer to store them horizontally or vertically.  You will also need to decide if you would like glazed or panelled upper and lower cabinets and if you would like the design to include drawers for ammunition or archives, for example.  Halstock can suggest a variety of styles and designs for bespoke cabinets which will hold each gun safely and securely while also displaying them to best advantage.  A wide choice of different woods and other materials can be used and matching panelling, shelving and drinks cabinets can also be created.  There is also the option to include marquetry as well as many other design details into the cabinets.  

Other essentials: Apart from cabinets in which your guns, gun cases and ammunition can be stored, the following items are invaluable:

  • A central table on which guns can be laid
  • A desk on which game books and records can be filled out or kept
  • A cleaning area if you do not have an adjoining boot room, where rods and other cleaning equipment and materials can be kept within the gun room.
  • A drying area

Boot room: A good boot room should include:

  • Individual lockers
  • Simple hooks
  • A bench or settle
  • A large sink
  • A worktop at least 2.1m (7ft long)
  • Storage for cleaning tools (Holland & Holland supply cleaning kits with everything you need)
  • A drying rack and cabinet
  • A floor with built-in drainage in the drying area
  • Optional safe for guests’ valuables
  • Optional shower and toilet   

Lighting: Most people like to have concealed lighting inside their cabinets to showcase their guns, in which case it is particularly important to use the latest LED lighting which emits low levels of heat.      

Temperature and humidity: A gun room should never be allowed to get too cold or too warm.  Unusually low or high levels of humidity can harm some guns and corrosion can also be a problem, so the appropriate controls need to be put in place.

Decoration and furniture: How you would like to furnish your gun room, or the reception of a Hunting Hall, is a matter of personal taste but among the things you might want to consider are:

  • A refectory table and chairs
  • Shelving for books, archives and gun provenance records
  • Lamp tables
  • Club chairs and possibly a sofa
  • Window shutters (essential for security)
  • Trophy display cabinets
  • Paneling
  • A framed map of the area (or a marquetry equivalent created by Halstock) illustrating shoot drives
  • Paintings
  • A drinks cabinet and humidor
  • A servery, ideally with a sink, oven, fridge and warmer

Security: Security must be compliant with all local constabulary and Home Office regulations.  Consider the use of CCTV.  Your local Police Authority should be able to give you specific advice on the door providing access to the gun room and additional security on the gun cabinets themselves as well as any drawers in which ammunition is kept.  Rifles require additional security – over and above shotguns.  Guns can be difficult to remove quickly in the event of a fire so it always makes sense to fit an efficient alarm and fire protection system.