Labour of Love – Part Two
November 25, 2015
Thank you for all your positive comments regarding my post ‘Labour of Love: Part One’. I have been eager to continue this post and take you inside the house we restored and lived in before we moved to France.
Today I am focusing on the kitchen design; a favourite challenge of mine in any project. I wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the house, a room that we could spend time in as a family but also have enough space to host when friends and family came to visit, so layout, functionality and practicality were key. As you can imagine I had a long list of requirements for my own design as there was so much I wanted to achieve.
As I explained in ‘Labour of Love – Part One’, we bought this practically in ruins and spent two years bringing it back to life. Natural light is incredibly important in certain rooms more than others and the position of this kitchen at the back of the house was north facing meaning it tended to be dull, only getting the sun briefly in the morning.
My challenge was to take advantage of as much light as possible by opening up the room to allow natural light in from as many areas as possible. Through the use of full-height glass doors, a double-height ceiling in the kitchen area, tall feature windows either side of the Aga and glass roof lanterns; the light pours in from every angle. By adding layers of muted colours throughout the room (with the exception of the giant loves seats in a bold Mulberry floral pattern for practical purposes and sticky little hands!)this gave it the extra sense of spaciousness and airiness; chalky paint colours on the walls, bleached oak flooring and pastel ticking and check fabrics for the upholstery.
We designed the dining area within the kitchen space providing us with a very lively room where cooking and entertaining went hand-in-hand and the cook didn’t miss any of the fun. A formal separate dining room would have been unused, rooms that only function for once-a-year gatherings are something I try to avoid in my designs. I believe in making the most of all the rooms in a home.
As the existing house was naturally stunning with its Victorian details, high ceilings and ornate cornicings, the pressure was on to create a room design that would compliment the original house.
Designing clever storage was a big part of the final design. I studied the three areas of the kitchen that needed to function just right for us; the Housekeepers Cupboard, the Cooks Run and the island. As there was only one wall available for tall units, we had to plan wisely. I designed a large bespoke Housekeepers Cupboard housing the large Subzero Fridge Freezer, a food pantry, a coffee station and internal drawers for the dinnerware and glassware.
For the island I included back-to-back units with deep drawers so they could be easily accessed under the narrow overhang for bar stools. When desiging any room I try to make things easily accessible and because of the scale of the island I was able to include two Fisher & Paykel drawer dishwashers at counter height, one each side of the sink which was a real luxury.
We were short on over-head space along the Cooks Run due to the addition of the windows either side of the canopy which meant I had to utilise every inch of the under-counter space. Spotting space in the pillars of the floor-level units both sides of the Aga, I designed storage for the large trays and roasting pans that are always a nuisance to find the space to store in cupboards.
Drawers are my favourite way to store items in a kitchen as nothing is ever hidden and everything is easily accessible. Even if I need to add doors to units for design purposes you will most likely find internal drawers behind them! For the design of the kitchen cupboards I chose three different panel styles which I feel in a large space like this makes a kitchen more visually interesting.
Writing this post about our previous home and all the decisions that were made, proves to me how much thought and planning needs to go in to each design. I will soon be starting my European Interior Design courses on-line, where I will be delving into how to design a home from concept to completion and look forward to sharing with you the practical side of interior design.
I look forward to hearing your feedback.
Miriam (aka Minnie)