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Real home: The view is the star in this luxurious yet understated kitchen
Pared-back design and natural materials meet Hollywood glamour in this hilltop house
written on: 08-03-2022 16:00pm
“I feel part of the countryside here,” explains Pilar Albertson, whose house in the Cotswolds makes the most of its stunning surroundings. “It’s an incredibly calming space to be in and the views change constantly.” Originally from Portland, Oregon, Pilar and her husband Scott moved to the UK 10 years ago and bought a tired 1970s house on the outskirts of Cheltenham which they then replaced with a striking contemporary home. With four bedrooms and a gym on the ground floor of the new house, they spend most of their time upstairs, taking full advantage of the elevated position.
- Owners/residents: Interior designer Pilar Albertson and her husband Scott
- Kitchen feature: With handleless cabinetry from the Evoluzione range by Italian kitchen manufacturers Effeti, this beautifully designed kitchen blends in perfectly with its surroundings. The doors are painted in Marrone Crete matt lacquer, chosen for its soft, earthy tone, while the island drawers are customised with Effeti drawer organisers
Pilar is an interior designer with a background in antiques and when it came to furnishing her new home she knew to keep things simple, so that the views were the focal point. “I wanted the kitchen to be quite seamless and to feel part of the house,” says Pilar. “Something that would reflect light and use natural colours and materials.”
Pilar chose an Italian Effeti kitchen from Abitalia in Cheltenham because of the minimalist design. Abitalia’s director Gianluigi Moretti worked with Pilar to create a space that’d feel organic. His design tied in the kitchen with the open-plan living area by using the same flooring throughout and keeping the colours muted. In the kitchen the handleless furniture forms a subtle wall of storage and appliances, the glass of the Gaggenau ovens and coffee machine reflecting the light. The worktops are made from the same natural quartz as the floor and Gianluigi continued the surface up the wall and around the window above the sink run. The extractor fan over the island was chosen to complement the glass of the dining table and clad to mirror its surroundings. Beneath it Pilar opted for a selection of modular hobs from the Vario range by Gaggenau. “I wanted sensible appliances,” admits Pilar, “But as I do love to entertain and have friends over I chose elements like the teppanyaki because they make cooking for lots of people just that bit more fun.”
And on that theme of fun, the kitchen may be a surprising place to find artwork, but Pilar delights in the unexpected. Propped up on the worktop is a triple-framed portrait of Marilyn Monroe and next to it hangs a giant reproduction of the cover of a well-known magazine. “I love the Playboy piece because it’s a twist on something that could be very provocative but isn’t,” Pilar explains. “It’s actually a very safe image that becomes a great talking point for guests.” Dotted around the open-plan space, the quirky artwork and Pilar’s 18th century silver chandelier, which she found in Buenos Aires and takes with her each time she moves, are very personal touches that bring character and warmth to a luxurious yet understated home. But there’s no question as to the real star of the show… that view.
Q & A – Gianluigi Moretti, director of Abitalia Cheltenham
- What was your brief? From the very beginning it was quite clear that Pilar knew what she wanted from her kitchen and as a client we had a connection straight away. The design was actually very easy because they were very much in line with our thinking. The main thing was that, although the kitchen should be substantial, impressive and architectural, the view should remain the main attraction. Effeti gave us the perfect combination of quality and subtlety and allowed us to create something special that flowed and became part of the building. We achieved a sculptural, organic look with the use of stone and glass.
- And were there any tricky elements in this design? Once the materials came together, it was then also important to choose appliances that didn’t shout too loudly. The Gaggenau appliances gave us the understated look we were after. To continue the concept of the kitchen being as one with the building we decided to take the quartz of the worktop, which we had also used on the floor, up the wall and around the window above the sink. Getting the mitred edges just perfect on walls that are never quite square was a technical and physical challenge. It was a real labour of love and the result is very satisfying.
Credit: Heather Gunn (Images), Rebecca Morris (Words) Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 252