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Real home: an open-plan kitchen for a London townhouse
This kitchen offers perfect progression from food prep to easy entertaining...
written on: 11-10-2018 10:30am
Feature by Victoria Hrastic; photography by Veronica Rodriguez.
Being a couple who love to entertain, Iain Macaulay and his partner found that their south London townhouse had two major sticking points – not only were the kitchen and living area separate, they were also upstairs.
"It meant we were often in different rooms and, when we had people for dinner, whoever was cooking was away from the guests," remembers Iain.
By moving the kitchen downstairs into an unused spare bedroom, they were able to extend into the garden and create a dining area covered entirely by glass, meaning they could make the most of the park and bird sanctuary just beyond their back fence.
"It means the whole space is one now, from the kitchen right through to the garden," he enthuses. "When we’re in the dining room and we’ve got just glass above us with the trees and birds all around, it’s like we’re half inside and half outside and that really inspired the green colour scheme."
With their main living room still upstairs, it was crucial for the couple to have both a sofa and full-size dining table, but with a total width of four metres to work with they had to get savvy with space. Their bespoke banquette means they can push the table aside when not in use, whilst a wall feature of green moss surrounded by textured white tiles creates depth and reinforces the link between the outside and inside, where the couple chose a super-sleek kitchen design.
After a family member recommended Ashbee & Wood, they discovered their sleek white Crown Imperial cabinetry and came up with the perfect combination of a clean Corian® worktop and mirrored splashback.
"We were warned it could look clinical but we kind of wanted it to be a bit cool," explains Iain. "We wanted a food prep space that would be ultra-hygienic, almost sci-fi style, to contrast with the relaxed dining area where it’s more textured and worn."
A wall of metallic blue cabinets subtly complements the white and cleverly conceals large appliances like the fridge, freezer, washing machine, dryer and ovens, as well as pull-out larder storage and a utility cupboard.
"The main requisite for the layout was having lots of storage and a counter with a hob where we could face guests," he adds. Along with their functional, futuristic kitchen design, the couple have succeeded in creating easy entertaining stations – from the hob to the bar stools to the dining area and garden, where friends often comment on the vacation vibe they’ve created.
"We do feel like we’re on holiday all year round," laughs Iain. "We’ve got underfloor heating for the winter months and, in the summer, the trees overhead create a dappled shade so it doesn’t become uncomfortably hot. It feels like our our own personal haven."
Q+A with Trevor Shapland, Managing Director of Ashbee & Wood
What was your brief for this project? To bring the outside into the kitchen and create one large space with the cooking area looking out on to the garden and a breakfast bar for guests to gather. They wanted us to streamline the kitchen as much as possible, so we used a bank of tall units on the right as you enter the kitchen to house the ovens, fridge and freezer and create a sleek effect with minimal appliances on show.
Tell us about the materials used here? The cabinet doors are acrylic-faced high-gloss which is great for reflecting light around the room, particularly in the pale tones used here. Both the Rialto cabinetry and the mirrored splashbacks are hardwearing and easy to clean – all you need is water and a microfibre cloth. For the worktops, we used Corian® which is an extremely versatile and hardwearing material – we also used it to design coved upstands around all the units and a sink, meaning there are no visible joints. This really seals the kitchen and creates a seamless look, framing all of the tall units and tying it all together.
How did you ensure enough light ran through the space? The use of mirrored splashbacks and gloss cabinetry bounces light around, ensuring it reaches the deepest corner of the kitchen and making the area appear larger. We also designed a strip of lighting along the edge of all of the worktops to light up the drawers and the cupboards below whenever they are opened out.
STOCKISTS Appliances: KI1813F30G Tall integrated larder fridge, £1,118; G4344X7GB Integrated freezer £528; B58CT68N0B Slide and hide pyrolytic oven, £1,509; C28MT27N0B Compact oven with microwave, £1,659; N17HH11N0B 14cm tall warming drawer, £499; S515T80D0G Integrated dishwasher, £828, all NEFF. Similar C1081G gas hob, from £737, Caple. PRO3 Fusion hot tap in chrome, £1,150, Quooker. Caffeo Varianza coffee machine, £700, Melitta. Fixtures and fittings: Crown Imperial Rialto high-gloss cabinetry in Metallic White and Oxygen, £11,500, supplied by Ashbee & Wood and fitted by Magic Projects. Corian® worktop and sink, £8,000, fabricated, supplied and fitted by Ashbee & Wood. Mirrored splashback, £1,800, supplied and fitted by Magic Projects. Kartell Masters stools in Rusty Orange, from £232 each, Amara. Buster + Punch Heavy Metal ES pendant cord ceiling lights in Smoked Bronze, £147 each, John Lewis. Similar raw striped dining table, £749, NOR11. Similar Kaye upholstered dining chairs with walnut legs, POA, Angel Cerdá. Handmade banquette, POA, Russell Upholstery. Bespoke moss wall art, POA, ANS Global. Slate split face mosaic wall tiles in Ice White, £89 per sq. m; Nayara polished chalk floor tiles, £75 per sq. m, both Topps Tiles.
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