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Profile: Updated Edwardian Home with Contemporary Charm

A new extension has given this period house a bright, spacious and sociable kitchen
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 25-08-2021 09:30am

Sandra and Michael Johnson had no plans to leave their St Albans home, until an Edwardian property on one of the town’s most sought-after roads came on the market, and they couldn’t resist. Sandra explains, “This house was the ‘ugly duckling’ of the street, but it was also a great opportunity. We inherited a dark, old-fashioned kitchen, which we converted to a snug, with the adjoining extension giving us the big, bright entertaining space we lacked.”

Used on the island and base units, the dark Charcoal colour grounds the design, while the pale Partridge Grey adds light at eye level

Quick View

- Owners/residents:  Sandra and Michael Johnson and their son, Zac

- Designer: Victoria Hudson, kitchen designer at C & C Kitchens

- Style: Contemporary, Shaker, Traditional

- Kitchen feature: The Shaker-inspired Half-Pencil and Scalloped furniture is made from European Alder and features smart nickel handles, butt hinges and solid timber drawer-boxes. An integrated dishwasher is hidden behind the elegant cabinetry, while dramatic Carrara marble surfaces complement the pale Partridge Grey and deep Charcoal painted finishes

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Bi-folding glass doors run along two sides of the room, bringing the green view and natural light inside

They also made the most of the back garden by installing bi-folding doors for easy access and natural light. The spacious, striking extension features plenty of glass to maximise light and a high, vaulted ceiling that complements the elegant architecture. The duo agreed on a Shaker-style painted kitchen, in keeping with the period setting. “Classic looks suit the house,” explains Sandra. “I loved the idea of using contrasting greys, with contemporary details to give it a modern edge. We wanted a big, sociable island, good storage and a dining area overlooking the garden.”

Taking inspiration from magazines and Pinterest, Sandra honed in on the newly launched 1909 furniture range, and designers Michael Pearcy and Victoria Hudson from C & C Kitchens helped her bring her ideas together. “The island and the fridge-freezer housing are both substantial items, and the cabinets are taller than standard, which offsets the high ceiling,” explains Victoria.

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The layout is simple and fuss-free, with an L-shaped run of wall units balancing the island and concealing the integrated dishwasher

The pair considered numerous work surfaces, settling eventually on beautiful, white Carrara marble. “It isn’t the most robust material, but nothing else gives the same drama,” says Sandra. “It’s gained a few scratches, but we can accept that because we love it.”

Q & A – Victoria Hudson, kitchen designer at C & C Kitchens

- 1909 is a relatively new product – did that raise any issues?
This was one of our first 1909 installations and there wasn’t as much product on display in our showroom as I’d have liked, but I was able to invite the couple to company headquarters in County Durham. The trip proved really helpful. Sandra could examine the different furniture and colour choices, and the displays sparked ideas for the designs we used around the range cooker and the fridge-freezer.

- Did the size of the space present a particular challenge to the design?
Not of itself, but sourcing a suitable slab of marble for such a large island was a bit tricky. It’s a focal feature, so a really beautiful appearance and attractive natural markings were crucial and it took us a while to find the perfect piece.

Well arranged storage was achieved with tall, handsome pull-out units which maximises space around the fridge-freezer

- Marble is beautiful but delicate. How would you guide a client torn between looks and practicality?
I’d never put someone off choosing marble because it can look amazing, but it’s essential to treat it carefully. You should always wipe up any spills immediately and protect it from anything sharp or hot. For around the same price, there are some good-looking granite and quartz alternatives that would be more resilient.

- Were there any compromises in the design?
Sandra and Michael requested a colour-matched ventilation grille for the front of the wine cooler, which we couldn’t provide. However, we fitted a plinth with a very neat cut-out which allows air flow but hides the unsightly grille without affecting performance. I think it worked as a great solution.

Credit: Colin Poole (Images), Annabelle Grundy (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 239, March 2016

Read more:
Profile: A Georgian Kitchen Designed to Socialise
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