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Profile: A Kitchen That Contrasts Modern and Period Features

Even on the dullest of days this London kitchen extension is as bright as it is beautiful
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 18-08-2021 07:40am

High ceilings, original Victorian features and the “feeling of spaciousness” were key attractions for Catherine and Tim Richardson when they first bought this pretty London terraced house in East Sheen 10 years ago. “When we first moved in the kitchen was a reasonable size, but badly planned. It also had a dark slate floor which we hated because it never looked clean,” says Tim. “We had played around with it a bit, removing a breakfast bar, adding double doors and painting the units, but eventually decided to completely remodel the space.”

To maximise space, the couple were keen to have extra thin worktops and end panels

Quick View

- Owners/residents: Catherine and Tim Richardson, their two boys; Ivan, six and Jem, four, Lucy the cat and their Golden Retriever, Cassie

- Designer: Martin Smith, designer at Holloways of Ludlow

- Style: Contemporary

- Kitchen feature: The cabinetry has been designed to line up with the bottom of the steels and top of the rear doors, creating a visual scan line making it one of the most pleasing aspects of the finished project

In order to achieve minimal thickness, Silestone Gris was the obvious material choice

This revamp included removing an old extension from the back, which housed a WC and a utility room and adding a side return extension. “Rather than go for maximum square footage, we put doors across the whole width of the kitchen which gave us the added benefit of gaining more garden. We also wanted to fit in a downstairs WC and laundry area as well as an island and dining space, so it took some clever design. The biggest decision was probably where to put the hob and oven.”

The Quooker tap avoids the need for a kettle cluttering the worktop

The couple had toyed with the idea of having a more traditional country style kitchen but in the end decided they liked the contrast of modern with the period features of the rest of the house. “We are really happy we chose a predominantly white scheme because it looks clean and light, and allowed us to mix in other choices like the grey island and wooden doors above the sink,” Tim says. The overall design of the space meant that they were left with one huge wall to decorate on one side of the kitchen.

The pattern on the Farrow & Ball wallpaper echoes an old display cabinet that’s in the neighbouring TV room, which they chose to tie the rooms together. “We wanted to open the back of the kitchen up to the garden so the floor-to-ceiling doors were an obvious choice,” says Tim. “It now means it’s always light here even on the dullest of days.”

The existing range cooker has been replaced with a double wall oven and the gas hob has been relocated to the island, which now means the couple can cook and socialise at the same time

Q & A – Martin Smith, designer at Holloways of Ludlow

- What were the initial ideas?
The kitchen design was an integral part of the architectural planning right from the early stages. The addition of a side return extension both widened the existing space by around 2m and directly connected the front rooms of the house to the new kitchen-diner. We also needed to include a WC and a room for laundry within the overall plan.

- How did the architecture influence your design?
The footprint was always going to be defined by the extents of planning, but we had the opportunity to ensure the internal partition walls and structural openings were placed to work perfectly with the kitchen. The front half of the house would continue to have its original features, with Victorian floor tiles, fireplaces, and cornicing so we needed to add some features to soften the extension space. An important part of the design was to add a large rear opening to connect the kitchen/living space to the fairly limited but lovely walled garden space.

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The striking Farrow & Ball paper creates a strong contrast in the family dining space and works well against the upholstered bench seat and wooden dining table


- Can you tell us about the style of cabinetry chosen?
The couple wanted a clean, modern functional space, but also didn’t want the space to be too clinical. Practically it was always the best choice to go for an on-frame handleless kitchen to maximise cabinetry capacity and access. So the investment in oak veneer wall cabinets, Silestone worktops, brick tiles, wood floor, reclaimed wood table, and feature wallpaper allowed for a more characterful scheme, and with real future material value.

Credit: Nicholas Yarsley (Images), Ciara Elliott (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 239, March 2016

Also read: 
Profile: An Edwardian House Remodel Invites in Views and Light
Profile: A Georgian Kitchen Designed to Socialise

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