I love this calm and neutral kitchen. The owners wanted to retain the original character of a Victorian cottage and they have done just that. So, although this British Standard kitchen is brand new, it has a lived-in look and feel, that suits it’s surroundings. And the reason I’m sharing this today (apart from the fact that it’s beautiful) is because it can teach us a lot about keeping true to the history of a house whilst still updating it to suit modern living.
Existing features are always the first consideration when planning changes to a period house. The existing sash window here is obviously one of the the most endearing features of the room and has quite rightly been left alone and unadorned with just a simple roller blind. The chimney breast has also been left in situ, and clad with wood panelling. This is not original by the way. The owners really wanted wood on the walls, but couldn’t find any ‘off the shelf’. They searched high and low and in the end fell in love with some wood panelling that they found at Audley End stables. They took measurements and cut it themselves with a router out of 9 mm ply. Both the window and the wood-clad walls provide the perfect backdrop for the rest of the room.
To continue the feel of a calm, unassuming country kitchen, cabinets were chosen for their simplicity, with traditional handles and draw-pulls in tarnished brass. Both the cabinets, and walls have been painted in Farrow and Ball strong white which is perfect for emphasising a period feel. The chimney breast has also been cleverly used to provide the perfect spot for tall wall cupboards. Not only do they provide pleasing symmetry, they also provide lots of storage space and a place to hide all of the things best not seen. I like the fact that they continue down to the worktop. They look more traditional that way and stop the accumulation of clutter that would no doubt end up in the corners.
Keeping it Simple
And quite rightly, everything else has been kept simple too. The worktop is 30 mm sycamore which was sourced from Goodtimber. Marble would have looked too ‘posh’ so wood was exactly the right choice. The taps are Perrin and Rowe bob taps. Beautiful and very traditional in brass. The lighting is an industrial machinist lamp from one of the owner’s favourite antique shops, Otto antiques. And it’s positioned exactly where it’s needed, right above the butler sink. The owners also really wanted to have a light floor but also wanted to retain as much character as possible so they sourced some reclaimed flooring from Lassco in London.
Sweating the Details
I imagine sourcing just the right accessories must have been a joy. It’s always my favourite part anyway. Nothing jars or looks out of place. From the row of copper pans above the gas hob, to the country style single shelf above the sink (complete with iron brackets), to the chunky wooden boards on the wall and the slightly crumpled linen towels.
And just in case you think there are no modern appliances at all in this kitchen, I can tell you they are just well hidden. The tall cabinet housing the fridge-freezer and double oven certainly looks the part of an old-fashioned free-standing cabinet. And I’m really glad that they resisted the urge to ‘fill in’ either side of it too. Where else would you hang your ladles and hats?
All cupboards: British Standard Cupboards
Individual cupboards start from £465 per unit. An average sized British Standard kitchen costs in the region of £8,000.
Photography by Alexis Hamilton