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Real home: A contemporary kitchen in a traditional setting
This mid-century kitchen is a triumph of utility, style and precision design
written on: 26-01-2022 10:00am
When Emily and Paul Matthews purchased their beautifully proportioned Georgian country house, one of the first things they planned was to move the small galley kitchen at the back of the house into one of the main reception rooms at the front.
- Kitchen feature: This SieMatic kitchen is a beautiful mix of function and style. The wooden breakfast bar was custom designed to sit flush and create a clean line down the island
“The previous owners had used this room as a formal sitting area. With gold leaf on the plaster mouldings and gold damask drapes at the windows, it all looked very grand, like a National Trust property,” says Emily. “There were so many lovely features such as the windows and panelling, and we wanted to keep as much of the charm of the building as we could but we also wanted the kitchen to look bright, sleek and modern, rather than be completely fitted.”
Veering away from the painted kitchen look, Emily’s brief was for a contemporary design which would have obvious kitchen elements but with more of a living room feel. As there was very little wall space to accommodate appliances and storage, a large island was key, and the introduction of stainless steel set the new tone. “I didn’t want a country kitchen,” says Emily. “Instead, the island has an industrial feel and the white units blend into the walls.”
The couple added to the mismatch by using an old pine display cabinet for extra crockery, installing an open fire in the hearth and introducing an iconic table which looks striking in the bay window. To complement the rest of the house, Georgian pine floors were fitted and then sanded and stained by a specialist contractor. Between the island and the wall units, reclaimed tiles add a punch of pattern to the overall look.
Standout gadgets in this streamlined, super-functional kitchen are the Gaggenau warming drawers and the Zip tap, which was a luxury that initially Emily thought they could do without. “Now I can’t imagine life without it,” she laughs. “I’m so used to having steaming water on tap, I would never go back to a kettle. I also love the breakfast station and the extractor that rises out of the centre of the island. Everyone finds it entertaining because it’s very James Bond.”
Q & A – Kirsten Milton, sales director of Nicholas Anthony
- What was your starting point? It was important to get a feel for the space and to survey how the light fell. Function, form and storage for the design were discussed in detail to ensure that the family had all the elements required, and two important considerations were the backdrop of the classic architecture, coupled with the fact that Emily was completely renovating this beautiful home and choosing to paint the entire interior white.
- What about the colours and materials? With white being a key element, it was important to select the right shade for the door finish. Emily chose a lacquered white for the tall housing and we added additional storage above as we had very high ceilings to work with. Juxtaposed next to these is the stainless steel island to create a complete contrast against the units. It immediately changes the feel of this space, adding an industrial element into a modern kitchen and all within a classical setting. Finally, wood was chosen for the breakfast bar area.
- Do you have a favourite design element? I have to admit that it’s hard to choose just one! The pocket door solution for Emily to use as an area to house small electrical appliances and to work from, is a very popular element in kitchen planning for our clients, and works very well in this kitchen. It provides storage as well as the ideal practical area to work from.
Credit: Darren Chung (Images), Ciara Elliott (Words) Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 242