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Real home: cosy spaces from vast open spaces

The perfect room for every occasion
   Hannah Caton  |  written on: 24-07-2019 12:30pm

The project in a nutshell

Who lives here? The Browns and their two young children

Location: Mid Sussex

Property style: Sussex Tile Hung House

Designer: Alexander at Higham Furniture

Year property was originally built: 1958

Roughly budget for the project? £80,000 

When the Browns first moved into their home, they had the unorthodox problem of a kitchen they felt was “too modern”, so they started work to create one with a more “traditional” look. The aim was to create a space that felt “warm, homely, aesthetically pleasing & functional.” Homely but still a great cooks kitchen.

Thankfully the space they had to work with was large, but the downside of this was that there were too many possibilities. “There were many ways of configuring a kitchen, so a lot of time was spent looking at images online and wandering around with a tape measure. It took 4 years to finally decide on a configuration and design that I liked.” However, having made a clear decision, things could progress easily. “Once it was designed, it was the easiest part of the whole house renovation, mainly down to the attention to detail and professionalism of Tim Higham and his team.” 

Creating an open plan space was key to the transformation. It had been previously divided into three very distinct parts. “I wanted the new kitchen to feel like one big kitchen that contained those 3 components, and to feel like a warm cosy intimate space - not easy in a 1000 square foot room.” Using a range of textures worked well. Warming walnut was used to add texture to the room and create the more homely feel they were after. All units were hand painted in Little Greene ‘Scree’. 

And the Browns’ last piece of advice? “Allow a lot of time for planning.  The perfect design took me 4 years.  That is excessive I know, but there were critical design changes that came late on and if I'd started the kitchen earlier, the ideas would have come too late and I would have regretted it.  Also, make sure you get your lighting right. It changes everything.”

When designer Alexander came on board, his job was to make the immense space feel a little more cosy and a little less vast. The original rough layout began with two islands and two runs against the walls. 

An idea for a ‘wine room’ originally developed when dealing with an awkward corner – and took on a life of its own. The glass walled wine room is now the Brown’s favourite feature, but it was Alexanders biggest challenge. “It was the first time we have designed and manufactured a detailed wine room. We had to do a lot of research and planning: for example making sure the angled wine bottles were at the correct angle in order to keep the cork moist (touching the wine).” 

Explaining the general plan for the room: “it is a disconnected L-shape layout which has created different working zones. By having no corners this allows for lots of symmetry and helps bring better balance to the design. The angled wine room connects the two long runs and is the focal piece of the room. You have one long run which consists of cooking with the main washing up sink, bins and dishwasher centred between the two oversized tall oven units. The other run is the food storage zone, which has a semi-integrated fridge freezer at one end and the food larder at the other. This run can be used for making toast and coffee.”

Also read:
Real home: making a statement in black and white

NEXT! A great way to make a kitchen feel more cosy is to employ bronze tones, have a look at some examples below...

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Hannah Caton

Hannah is the online writer for KBBArk, providing the latest scoop on all things interior. She's always on the lookout for the latest trends and most beautiful re-designs.