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Profile: A Victorian Home with Parisian Appeal

Classical cornicing and swathes of luxurious marble give this property a certain je ne sais quoi
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 14-09-2021 09:00am

With a picture in her mind of pretty Parisian streets in the mid-19th century and being surrounded by elegant, old buildings, owner Emma dreamt of her own home being just as stylish as the Hausmannian apartments that she’s always admired. In 2010 when Emma and her husband Pietro, along with their daughter Clementine first moved in to this London property, it was divided into two flats and had been rented out for 16 years, meaning it wasn’t in the best condition. First on the list was some remedial work to the plumbing and electrics. They also took steps to achieve their ideal kitchen which at that point seemed like a big challenge.

Emma wanted a practical family kitchen situated in the entrance to her beautiful Notting Hill home without dominating the space and feeling too much like a kitchen

Quick View

- Owners/residents: Emma and Pietro and their daughter; Clementine
- Designer: Jamie Blake, director of Blakes London

- Style: Modern, traditional
- Kitchen feature: Retaining its Victorian features, this Parisian-inspired kitchen owes its attractive appearance to its Calacatta Paonazzo honed marble island and floor-to-ceiling bespoke cabinetry painted in the sophisticated Dimity by Farrow & Ball

The large banquet dining table, Baudelaire from OKA, has a French classic style with cabriole legs and scalloped edges. It has been paired here with contrasting contemporary Ghost chairs

Now the feel of the house is much more suited to the family, with two bedrooms upstairs turned into one big playroom for Clemmie and downstairs all the cornicing has been restored which adds to the subtle decadence of the high ceilings. “I wanted a kitchen that felt both incredibly new, efficient and modern but one that wasn’t at odds with the period feel of the house and rather looked like something that could have been there for many years.

“I took a lot of photos of Parisian kitchens and then sketched something out to show Jamie Blake, designer and director of Blakes London. He completely understood what I wanted and helped me draw it more efficiently,” explains Emma.

Adding to the grandeur of this high-ceilinged space, the two statement Modo chandeliers, made of machined aluminium and glass, create a talking point

With inspiration taken from concealed kitchens, Jamie designed bespoke cabinetry which hides away any clutter or kitchenware that Emma doesn’t want to keep on display. She says happily, “not like anyone else’s and once all the doors are closed it doesn’t feel too much like a kitchen. We knocked down all the walls and so now when we host dinners it’s so easy for everyone to socialise and chat as we make dinner.”

A sophisticated, neutral colour scheme using the warm off-white Dimity by Farrow & Ball helps keep the flow of the open-plan space

Q & A – Jamie Blake, director of Blakes London

- What was the client’s initial brief and how did you work with and adapt this?
Emma had it clear in her mind that she wanted the cabinetry to complement the Victorian qualities of the property and look elegant, concealing as many of the practical functions and formalities that a kitchen can’t live without. Whatever couldn’t be hidden needed to look beautiful, namely the Barazza hob and the kevlar and bronze tap from Kohler.

- What challenges were there, if any?
Working within the confines of an existing Victorian home is always a challenge in itself. Here, the walls and levels were all over the place, and Emma wanted to keep a lot of the Victorian charm, which resulted in keeping all the chimney breasts and allowing the fireplaces throughout the home to be re-commissioned. This presented interesting spatial layout issues in the kitchen.

The kitchen has an abundance of storage incorporated behind closed doors. There are two full-size tall larders with internal worktops and plug sockets

- Can you talk us through the design of the marble island?
The Paonazzo marble was one of the items Emma came to me with as part of the main concept and she wanted it to be an integral part of the kitchen. Her husband comes from Italy and they have a emotional attachment to their Venice home. This marble is widely used there and Emma wanted to bring this to their London home.

- How did you choose the style of cabinetry?
Emma came to me with some inspiration images of a discrete/hidden kitchen and requested we use these as a driver as well as the Victorian influences of the property. We did this by introducing the panel mouldings on the cabinetry which is complemented in the shutters and ceiling moulding detailing. She wanted the cabinetry to feel integrated into the space rather than be imposed onto it.

Credit: Malcolm Menzies (Images), Emma Foale (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 245, September 2016

Also read:
Profile: A Dark Victorian Terraced House Becomes a Scandi-Style Haven
Profile: A Streamlined Urban Kitchen with Modern Elements

What do you like most about this kitchen? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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