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Real home: A contemporary take on a Victorian farmhouse kitchen

Dual aspect garden doors blur the lines between the interiors and outside in this kitchen
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 17-01-2022 07:40am


Back in 2002, strict planning regulations stymied the expansive extension Helen and Dan Pritchard had envisaged for their Victorian farmhouse in Kent. Lovingly restored from a state of “wreck and ruin” the house had the proportions and the potential to fulfil the couple’s vision. “We wanted a really beautiful kitchen that took advantage of the views and a place where everyone congregates,” says Helen. However, what they got was a far meaner kitchen than suited their lifestyle and their property.

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Quick View

- Owners/residents: Helen and Dan Pritchard and their children; Rory, Tess and Charlotte

- Designer: Simon Gray, designer at Edmondson Interiors

- Style: Contemporary, modern

- Kitchen feature: This contemporary Shaker-style kitchen has flat-panelled furniture incorporating oak veneer deep drawer boxes with dovetailed joints. The island is painted in Downpipe by Farrow & Ball with the china cupboard, fridge unit and window seat in Cornforth White

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“We ended up with quite a small kitchen, we had extraction problems and the architect had made it very dark.” Undaunted, the Pritchards patiently waited for development opportunities to improve and used the time as a learning curve to perfect their vision. “I’m really glad we waited because I think we might have gone for a more traditional, farmhouse kitchen otherwise,” explains Helen. “Looking at magazines and seeing a more modern style coming through now and seeing how it could suit older houses, I decided to go that way instead.”

Although the couple had the plans, it took them three years to muster up the courage and finances to approach Edmondson Interiors. “We were so nervous, but they had a really good reputation in the area. They showed us real quality in what we would be getting and how they could make things so personal to us,” says Dan.  

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Both Helen and Dan are tall, so all the work surfaces are 950mm high, rather than a standard 900mm. Additionally, Helen says, “I didn’t want any eye-level cabinets, because I feel they encroach when you’re working. Then, I had this vision of a huge island where all the kids could sit around.” She also had her heart set on using oak in the design, but “I didn’t want that yellowy oak, so they came up with the idea of putting the veneer on it,” she continues.  

They wanted the space to be airy, yet cosy enough for a family lunch, as well as functional enough to have friends over. The simplicity of the design and dual aspect garden doors contribute to this airy feel. “It’s incredible when you slide the doors back, it’s literally like your kitchen is outside. If I had done this four years ago, I’d probably have used traditional wooden doors, but I’m so happy we went for this modern style and created a classic and contemporary blend,” says Helen.

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Q & A – Simon Gray, designer at Edmondson Interiors

- How did you plan the kitchen?
The biggest part of the brief was that the Pritchards wanted to make the project worthwhile. They wanted to try and make the kitchen extend, as much as it could do, into the new extension. Initially, they had wanted a super-contemporary kitchen – handleless and gloss white, but after seeing the house it didn’t seem quite right. We talked around how the extension they were creating was quite contemporary, quite a different space to the rest of the house, and how we could bring the two together, and the classic contemporary theme came about. From then on, the planning was quite straightforward because both Helen and Dan had lots of ideas.

- What, if any, were the challenges?
The decision to have no wall units meant I couldn’t fit any standard extraction, so we discussed pop-up extractors and some other options, but eventually the problem helped cement the decision to go for the AGA, as it’s internally vented.

- What do you love about the kitchen?
The space behind the Sub-Zero fridge had been intended as a noticeboard area, but it was too big for just that. The client needed somewhere for cookbooks, so creating a book nook was a joint decision. There’s even room for bottles of wine. We also put in some pop-out drawers underneath the window bench. It’s a big use of a little space.

Credit: Nick Smith (Images), Kate Rowe (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 241

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