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Profile: From Victorian Farm Building to Ceramics Studio

This studio is a casual mix of old and new with a stunning kitchen at its core
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 09-07-2022 17:30pm

Charlotte and Tom Saunders did things a little differently when it came to renovating their Victorian Farm Building home. Instead of moving into a caravan on site, they redesigned one of their outbuildings, a former studio workshop for ceramicist Charlotte. The idea was to transform it into a guest accommodation that they would live in while the main building was being redone. The only problem is they did such a good job that Charlotte is reluctant to ever move out. “It was originally just a shell with stuff in it,” explains Charlotte. “Now it’s a one-bedroom apartment complete with open-plan space and wow-factor kitchen.”

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A combination of b1 Alpine white matt lacquer cabinets and a matching island all from Bulthaup are teamed with wooden wall panelling and exposed brickwork to form an industrial scheme

Quick View 

- Owners/residents: Charlotte and Tom Saunders

- Designer: Vanessa Weeks, head of design and sales at Hobsons Choice

- Style: Rustic, industrial

- Kitchen feature: Bulthaup b1 handleless Alpine white matt lacquer cabinetry is teamed up with a matching island and topped with co-ordinating laminate, while a stained oak veneer breakfast bar provides the ideal spot for casual dining and ties in with the wooden theme

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Charlotte’s collection of ceramics really personalises the kitchen and gives it a unique twist

Although they knew what they wanted, they called in Vanessa Weeks from Hobsons Choice to create a functional cooking and dining area using b1 cabinetry from Bulthaup, a favourite of theirs. “I really wanted everything to have a home,” adds Charlotte. “It needed to have clean lines and do everything that a kitchen and dining room could do and it’s definitely achieved all that for us, and more.”

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The integrated sink and drainer form part of the Bulthaup b1 range and are included within the cost of the cabinetry

Charlotte’s vast collection of colourful ceramics, sourced from France, Germany, Amsterdam, auction sites and antique fairs, dictated the design of the space. “It’s why we’ve got no other colour in here,” she explains, “as it makes a huge statement.” Speaking of statements, the Corten steel extractor certainly draws the eye. Designed by Tom around a Westin extractor motor, it works beautifully with the textured, industrial style of the scheme.

To combat the high ceiling, extra height cupboards were installed, filling the gap. “It really is a fantastic space,” concludes Charlotte, “because you can put almost anything in here. We’ve got a good mix with the taxidermy, a modern sofa, an old leather chair and all the pottery. It’s so comfortable and relaxed. What more could we want?”

Hobsons Choice designed the functional kitchen area, which also incorporates a bespoke extractor canopy designed by the homeowner Tom himself

Q & A – Vanessa Weeks, head of design and sales at Hobsons Choice

- It’s such a huge space, where did you start with the design?
I began by breaking it down to see what else needed to be included in the room so that I could see how much space the actual kitchen required. The whole area is also a lounge as well as a place for eating and entertaining so it was important that it all felt spacious and functional.

- Can you tell us about the mix of materials, textures and colours?
Charlotte and Tom already had the textured wooden floor and wall panelling in mind, so I wanted to complement that by going for the opposite with the cabinetry. The matt lacquer is very smooth and tactile and by keeping it white, it shows the difference clearly.

- The extractor is a real showstopper, can you tell us about it?
As the house used to be on a pig farm, Tom came up with the concept of creating an industrial-looking kitchen, which is where the idea of using the Corten steel bulkhead came about. Tom actually designed it himself around the original Westin Metro extractor.

As the space is so large, there’s plenty of room for a sofa at one end

- How do you manage to combine the old and new so successfully?
This is what I love to do. By combining old and new, both have their moment to shine and neither is in competition with each other. If it was a really fussy kitchen, you wouldn’t notice the details.

- What are your favourite design elements?
I love the fact that it really does work as a kitchen as well as being a lovely space to entertain in. I’m thrilled with how well it sits in the entire space, the functionality and its simplicity against all the other details in the room. The L-shaped bar also feels sociable. Charlotte didn’t want to compromise on the kitchen space but putting a dining table in helps to then define the space more.

Credit: Darren Chung (Images), Hayley Gilbert (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 237, January 2016

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

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