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Profile: An Eco-Friendly Cooking Space for the Whole Family

Exposed brick, limecrete floors and wood come together to create a stunning eco kitchen
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 02-07-2022 11:30am

Homeowners Anne-Maren and Tobias Phillips knew they were taking on a mammoth task when they bought a pair of two storey red brick Victorian workers cottages that were badly put together some time in the 1980s. “We saw the views to the river and felt the character here and knew it was right for us,” says Anne-Maren. “The whole of the ground floor was one uninsulated solid concrete slab,” explains Tobias. “This caused a lot of damp issues which the previous owners tried to fix, but we decided to dig back to the dirt instead.”

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Recycled solid pine kitchen units have been reinforced to allow for the weight of the slate and marble surfaces

Quick View 

- Owners/residents:
Anne-Maren and Tobias Phillips and their three children; Alva, eight; Idunn, five and Rasmus, two (Anne-Maren was pregnant at the time)

- Designer: Modece Architects. Specialists in sustainable design

- Style: Rustic, industrial

- Kitchen feature: This space is a self-designed eco-build that primarily uses materials such as black slate and marble worktops, original pine units and a solid wood island unit

The couple installed a series of light sockets centrally along the top wall allowing them to stretch pendants to whatever length they needed. The yellow light fixtures are handmade using flex and brass lamp holders

With a little help from their friends, the couple set to work excavating the concrete and hardcore. The floor was redone with recycled glass insulation and a limecrete slab containing the underfloor heating. The walls were rectified and re-insulated, but had to be stripped back to the bare brick. “We then insulated internally with hemp and boarded with Fermacell for a healthy, eco-friendly construction. The whole house is designed to breathe and let moisture escape,” informs Tobias.

Slate from a recycled snooker table was taken to a local stone mason to cut to template for the worktops

The duo followed the same approach for their kitchen, which is a mix of materials such as stainless steel, recycled pine, slate and marble. “We’ve added some left-over cupboards from the original kitchen on the end of the island and painted the end walls of the cupboard unit with blackboard paint,” says Anne-Maren. “The worktops are cladded in leftover marble from the local stone mason, making it the ideal surface for baking and tempering chocolate on.”

The end walls of the cupboard units are painted with blackboard paint

Q & A  Anne-Maren Phillips, homeowner

- How would you define your décor style?
Real, honest, functional, collectable. We didn’t plan our kitchen with a style in mind, but it definitely reflects our personalities and backgrounds. A lot of our furniture has moved with us over the years, and most of it comes from auctions.

- What’s the favourite element of your kitchen?
We love the worktop - it’s texture is so rich and forgiving. It is actually a recycled snooker table slate that Tobias found on eBay and took to a local stone mason to have cut to template. We also love the pendants over the kitchen island that Tobias made using flex and brass lamp holders and we hung using rare earth magnets stuck directly on to the exposed steels in the ceiling above. This means that the pendants can be moved around the length of the steel to whatever position required.

- Why did you use the materials picked?
We recycled the aged wood old kitchen units because they are solid old pine and have a lot of character. We reinforced the unit structures to allow for the weight of the slate work surfaces. As the walls are exposed brick we couldn’t have any sockets as there was nowhere to pull the electrical cables. Instead we opted to have concealed sockets that pop out of the work surface and we also have built-in sockets inside the wine rack in the island. The cooker and fridge are stainless steel so we put a brushed stainless steel kickboard along the bottom of the units to tie it all in together. We also sourced some marble from the local stone mason for the worktop. We love the whole mix.

Credit: Malcolm Menzies (Images), Kay Prestney (Styling), Ciara Elliott (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 249, January 2017

Read more:
3 Kitchens That Stay True to Their Materials
5 Ways to Create a Country-Cottage Style Kitchen

What do you like most about this cooking space?

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