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This renovation proves a period home is less a burden, more a blessing

Although under a Grade II listing, the owners transform this space into a grand kitchen
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 18-04-2022 18:45pm


The beautiful Georgian house near Bath had been on the market for a long time when John and Caroline Campbell took a leap of faith. Not only was the house a listed building, but the kitchen was disproportionately small for a house of its size. Additionally, the whole house required complete renovation which needed to be within the strictures of the Grade II listing.

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Inspiration by Sims Hilditch


Quick View

- Owners/residents: John and Caroline Campbell, their sons Jack and Alex and their cat Stan

- Designer: Christina Bull, kitchen designer at Neptune by Sims Hilditch

- Style: Traditional, country

- Kitchen feature: Chichester cabinetry from Neptune by Sims Hilditch creates a welcoming feel in this characterful house. A Rangemaster Nexus range cooker in slate grey adds modernity, while paint in colours of Neptune Mist on the island and Neptune Lily on the peripheral cabinets provide a subtle contrast and interest, which is complemented by the Chichester knob and cup handles and the Carrara Quartz worktops

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Inspiration by Sims Hilditch


It’s easy to see why some may have been dissuaded. However, the Campbells treated the challenges as opportunities. “The listing affects the outside of the property more than the inside, but we still couldn’t move any walls or affect the character of the house. For us, that wasn’t a problem – we feel so lucky to have a period house like this,” says John. “For planning, we just informed them we wanted to replace all the electrics and plumbing, and to make some internal improvements.”

Even though the size of the kitchen was, quite literally, set in stone, the Campbells were able to find the right solution for their family. “In terms of fitting out the kitchen, the only implications were making enough space for everything we wanted. We worked out that we would have enough room if we could build an extension next to the kitchen in order to have dining space,” says John.

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Inspiration by Sims Hilditch


The Campbells were granted planning permission with certain stipulations. They had to ensure that the extension looked similar to the orangery it led into. It thus has a similar lantern roof, but they were allowed an aluminium one to avoid the necessity of repainting the timber regularly. In addition, they had to re-use the sash windows from the exterior wall that they took out to create the opening to the dining room, so they now form an interesting feature down one side of the extension.

“We knew the previous kitchen layout wasn’t the best use of space. It was after searching through magazines that we found Neptune by Sims Hilditch and their design just made more sense. It made the best use of the space, light and features and managed to fit a nice, big island – something we had always wanted,” says John.

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Inspiration by Sims Hilditch


The kitchen is the most used room now, he says, especially with their sons cooking and Stan the cat wandering through. In such a well-appointed kitchen, it’s easy to see how cooking has been added to this list of well-earned, stimulating and joyful pastimes and given the airy ambience of the room, it seems being a guardian of a period home is less a burden, more a blessing.

Q & A – Christina Bull, kitchen designer at Neptune by Sims Hilditch

- Sims Hilditch has different branches to the company. Can you explain how they work?
There are three branches – Sims Hilditch offers a complete interior design service for the whole home, Studio SH is a packaged version of this service enabling projects to take less time, and Neptune by Sims Hilditch is for kitchens, larders and utilities. Sims Hilditch have a very close relationship with Neptune meaning they can help to fulfil every kitchen need.

- Do you specialise in kitchens personally?
Very much so. I work on Neptune by Sims Hilditch and on the kitchens that form part of a large Sims Hilditch Interior Design project. Despite their relative cost, kitchens can sometimes be rushed or overlooked on big projects, because it’s such a technical thing and has to be exactly right, it puts people off, and that makes the very nature of good kitchen design very specialist. You need to stay extremely informed.

- As a designer, how did the Grade II listing on this home impact the project?
In some ways, the restrictions helped. Sometimes the facility to move walls and have free reign with designs can create space for indecision and mistakes. The footprint was set from the beginning, and because Neptune cabinetry is so versatile, it meant we could focus on maximising the space and augmenting the original features, rather than feeling hampered by them. The original chimney breast gave us a chance to add a nice design detail in the form of the shelf behind the range. It’s practical too, in that the stone shelf is a useful place to keep oils and cookbook stands out of the way but are just there for the cook.

Credit: Darren Chung (Images), Kate Rowe (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 253

Also read:
Luxury country living in Wiltshire

Tell us what do you think of the renovation of this beautiful Georgian house?





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   EKBB Magazine
The UK's No.1 kitchen, bathroom and bedroom magazine dedicated to real-life luxury homes and turning your design dreams into reality.

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