It was clearly meant to be. “We looked at the house, on and off, for over two years, before we finally bought it,” recalls Jo Flynn of the south London Georgian-style house, built in 1936, that she now shares with her husband and three young children. “I used to drive past often, thinking how pretty it was,” she explains. “First it was on the market, then it was off, and then when we were able to make an offer, somebody pipped us to the post. Agony! But then that buyer dropped out after a few months, the estate agent came back to me to find out if we were still interested, and, amazingly, it finally became ours.”
Although the six bedroom home was structurally sound, it still required renovation, including restored windows and new floors, and most importantly for Jo, a new kitchen. “A family house like this deserves a lovely kitchen,” she says. “The one here when we moved in was old and very odd, because it only occupied one corner of the room. Considering it’s such a big space, I just couldn’t understand why all the cupboards and appliances were squashed into such a small area.”
Having only recently added a new kitchen to her previous home, Jo knew exactly where to go for her next. “I was genuinely excited to work with Chamber Furniture again,” she says. “Scott Nicholson has such great furniture design ideas and I knew he would create something special, reflecting the classic style of the house but with a contemporary edge – it’s something he does brilliantly.”
Creating a layout which made the most of the large room (rather than only one corner of it) came first, then Jo and Scott worked together to develop the combination of classic Shaker kitchen style cabinetry in blue, with two sections of clean-lined, handleless cupboards in white to add modern contrast.
Jo says that the kitchen gets lots of use – it might be when the children have their birthday parties (the most recent one involving a pen full of baby ducks) or when the couple invite a crowd of friends for dinner – but the room stays looking good. “It’s a great place to live and definitely worth the wait,” she says, “and the kitchen makes the very welcoming heart of our home.”
Q&A with designer
Scott Nicholson, MD, Chamber Furniture
How did you begin the project?
The kitchen has quite an unusual shape, so I started by thinking about how to design cabinetry to “square-up” the room. For example, we built a recessed tall cabinet to house the fridge freezer. Flush-fitted and handleless, it creates a clean-lined finish and neatly uses an otherwise awkwardly empty area. The large island draws the eye to the centre of the room, and adds a very practical feature too, as it offers lots of work surface.
Can you tell us about the cabinetry that surrounds the range cooker?
Here we used classic Shaker kitchen style furniture, finished in a specially mixed shade of peacock blue. The cupboards are made of solid oak and sprayed in our workshop with a polyurethane paint, which is one of the most durable finishes you can have, so ideal for a busy family kitchen like this one. The chimney breast opening was too narrow and too low to fit a range cooker comfortably, so we widened and opened up the space, then framed the cooker with an overmantel, specially designed to suit the style of the house and to conceal the extractor.
Can you tell us more about the island?
It is 4.1m long, so it is designed to make a substantial style statement in the room. Topped with a chunky quartz worktop, it features four cutlery drawers and eight deep pan drawers to provide lots of usable storage on the ‘working’ side, with bar stools and wine cooler on the ‘sociable’ side.
Classic meets contemporary in this bespoke shaker kitchen, which successfully combines Shaker-style oak furniture sprayed in a specially-mixed peacock blue paint, with two sections of cool white flush, handleless tall cabinets. Compac Perlino quartz worktops and custom-made brass and pewter handles complete the design.
Chamber Furniture, The Old Timber Yard, London Road, Halstead, Kent, TN14 7DZ. Tel: 01959 532553. www.chamberfurniture.co.uk
Shaker Kitchens start from £40,000
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