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Profile: A Living Room Designed to Cook

This open-plan kitchen is a masterclass in relaxed style and family focused functionality
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 19-12-2021 16:20pm

Heni and Matt Flynn moved to this Edwardian house initially for practical reasons. “We could afford somewhere nice with a garden, good schools, all the usual grown up stuff,” laughs Heni, “but we stayed for the people and also finding this house.”

The couple were keen on an island that could be positioned at the transition between living and kitchen spaces

The original Edwardian terraced home itself hadn’t been modified for over 60 years and Heni says it was “like going back in time, with bakelite switches and no central heating”. In fact, the space where the kitchen now stands originally housed a tiny kitchen and scullery, a corridor, dining room, an external toilet and the side path. In all it was about 6.5 sq m, which was a good size for the couple who yearned for a big space where they could all be together at the same time but doing different things.

The tall units encompass one of Roundhouse‘s pantries which come with masses of storage for dry goods

Quick View

- Owners/residents: Heni and Matt Flynn and their children

- Designer: Scott Mitchell, project designer at Roundhouse

- Style: Contemporary

- Kitchen feature: Urbo cabinetry by Roundhouse is hand-painted in Railings and Strong White by Farrow & Ball. Bespoke features include the modular island designed by UK Architectural Antiques and built by Roundhouse

Functionality, medium, kitchen, island, wood worktop, marble worktop, colour contrast, greenery, un-architectural antiques, materials, carrara marble, farrow and ball, bespoke, dark grey, wood countertop,

The Dekton worktop works like a massive chopping board

“The driving concept was that this would be a living room in which we cooked, not a kitchen in which we lived,” explains Heni. “That idea influenced all the main decisions including the location of surfaces and appliances, fridge and pantry, the lack of high level cupboards and the moveable island.” This concept also informed the material choices in the kitchen, including the dark grey colour of the cabinetry, the warm chestnut of the parquet flooring, the Dekton worktop and the marble on the splashback and in the pantry. “It’s not a palette that screams ‘kitchen’, but at the same time all of these materials are sufficiently hard-wearing to serve the kitchen purpose too,” says Heni. “There’s also a nice consistency here. Flow is very important between these three areas, and the unifying material of marble signposts that.”

The three pieces of marble – the splashback, on the island and in the pantry – creates a nice consistency,

The space feels like a cohesive room that allows for lots of different uses simultaneously without any of them feeling contrary to the purpose of the space. Nothing really matches, but everything works together – the light and dark grey, the different materials and the pops of colour from the art to the chairs.

Q & A – Scott Mitchell, project designer at Roundhouse

- What was your brief?
A stylish and understated kitchen which had to work in an open-plan space and be utterly gorgeous without breaking the bank.

- What about the materials?
The parquet floors, Robin Day sofa and Crittall-style windows dictated a certain style. Talking with the couple, we felt that the dark grey was perfect for the cabinetry while wenge wood is unusual and warm and looks fabulous in the interiors of the cabinets. The Sirocco Dekton has a similar look to concrete but is probably more functional for a family kitchen and looks so good with the Carrara marble splashbacks. The marble adds a hint of luxury, as well as being practical.

Functionality, medium, kitchen, island, dining, parquet, light, farrow and ball, skylight, purple, pink chairs, dining bench,

The couple’s art is a result of "picking up things over the years". The Wasted Youth boombox, seen here is from the London Print Club in Dalston


- And the colours and layout?
The family wanted their dining and sitting area at the garden end so the layout was obvious in a sense. The main working part of the kitchen worked as an ‘L’ shape in the far corner, whereas the tall units fit snugly into a hidden corner, easily accessible but out of sight. That left just enough room for the fridge-freezer and the pantry.

- Tell us about the mini island
As you can see through it, it gives a sense of space, in the same way that a grand piano looks smaller on space than an ordinary one. Less permanent than standard islands, it adds flexibility to the set up.

- Design-wise, what do you love most?
I really like the blank wall without cabinetry. It’s the ultimate luxury to have walls which aren’t rammed full of cabinets. I also love the palette of colours and materials.

Credit: Darren Chung (Images), Ciara Elliott (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 238, February 2016

Also read:
Profile: An Eco-Friendly Cooking Space for the Whole Family
Profile: From Victorian Farm Building to Ceramics Studio

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