Country Homes & Interiors, October 2020

12 October 2020Country Homes & Interiors, October 2020

A statement dining-island and fresh approach to colour bring character and warmth to this newly-enlarged farmhouse kitchen

Owners Helen and Nathan Clarke live here with their twin daughters

House An early Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse in Lincolnshire

Project An enlargement of the existing kitchen space and new design, plus new utility-boot room

Kitchen size 6x6m

Designer Maria-Elianna Constantinou, Creative Director, Krantz Designs

After selling the family farming business, Helen and Nathan Clarke found themselves with a little time on their hands. Time enough, they felt, to tackle the renovation of the Lincolnshire farmhouse they had inherited from Helen’s grandparents and lived in since they were first married in 2002. ‘The kitchen was stained from a water leak and the cabinets were starting to look very tired,’ says Helen. ‘I’d hankered after a traditional painted kitchen for years, because I felt it would perfectly suit the period style and countryside setting of the house, so this was my chance.’

The couple decided to widen the room by stealing some space from an under-used corridor, moving an internal wall in the process. They visited kitchen suppliers to select the new design, getting as far as placing a small early-stage deposit on cabinetry from a nationwide supplier. Then they found themselves in Lincoln and wandered into the Krantz Designs showroom. ‘The Krantz name had kept coming up when we asked our friends for recommendations and as soon as we stepped over the threshold, we could see why,’ recalls Helen. They met designer Maria-Elianna Constantinou and quickly established a good rapport. ‘We were impressed by the bespoke nature of the kitchens and the fact that anything was possible,’ adds Helen. ‘It made us re-think our approach – whilst we had been happy enough with the kitchen we had chosen from the first supplier, we decided that, on a project of this size, we should select a design that was absolutely right.’

Rather than only running furniture in a U-shape around the walls, Maria-Elianna’s design introduced a focal point island with integrated dining table, ideal for family meals. ‘This instantly created a heart to the room,’ says Helen, who was also able to work with Maria to create extra bead detail to enhance the timeless appeal of the cabinetry and to design custom storage arrangements specifically suited to the way she likes to cook.

So inspired were Helen and Nathan by the success of the kitchen, they also commissioned Krantz Designs to create a new utility-boot room, then set about further renovations throughout the property. ‘For years, we had felt frustrated at being unable to fulfil the potential of the house,’ says Helen. ‘The kitchen has re-ignited our love for our home and been a hugely satisfying project.’

THE LAYOUT

At its heart, the square-shaped kitchen has an island with sink and prep space, complete with dining area with curved banquette seating and table suited to a family of four. The Everhot cooker is framed by a faux chimney breast with bespoke mantle, flanked by storage, while a symmetrical breakfast cupboard and pantry with integrated fridge and freezer complete the design.

ISLAND DINING AREA

The size and square shape of the room made it tricky to include both a large island and separate dining table with sufficient circulation space around the furniture. ‘By merging the two together, there is room for the family to eat together in comfort,’ explains Maria-Elianna. ‘Helen and Nathan wanted to avoid a long row of bar stools, so the curved banquette seating and bespoke circular dining table make a more sociable design as the family can see each other whilst they chat.’

CHIMNEY BREAST

To introduce character to the room, it now includes a faux chimney breast, built to house the large Everhot cooker. ‘The mantle is designed as another key feature of the room, specially engraved with the name of the house as a personal touch,’ says Maria-Elianna. ‘It also serves to conceal the built-in extraction unit.’ The mantle legs include handy pull-outs for spices, condiments and oils, while the glass splash back reflects light and enhances the spacious feel of the room.

 

COLOUR AND FINISH MIX

‘I wanted a contrasting colour for the island, because I was keen to avoid a sea of muted shades,’ says Helen, who chose a soft black with blue undertones to stand out against the gentle grey of the wall cabinetry. The furniture is factory spray painted for a sleeker sheen than a hand-painted result, bringing the farmhouse kitchen look up to date. ‘The walnut table and chairs introduce richer tones and sense of texture, and are echoed in the drawer linings, while brass handles and taps create a touch more period character and warmth,’ notes Maria-Elianna. ‘Pretty floral fabrics add a further level of harmony to the overall look.’

DESIGN NOTES: KITCHEN

The room was extended to the right of the ceiling beam, creating a wider space that could comfortably accommodate the new island

Simple slab-front drawers are finished with a double quirk to their frames, while an additional bead has been applied to the Shaker-style panels throughout the room, for an extra level of timeless detail chosen by Helen

The deep black-blue of the island contrasts with the soft grey of the wall cabinetry and polished quartz worktops

The curved shape of the banquette and dining table is echoed in the design of the rounded cabinetry corners. Made of solid American black walnut, the pedestal dining table was designed especially for the room.

Walnut trays, designed to match the drawer inserts, are tucked into their slot below the island worktop. Solid end grain walnut chopping boards slot neatly into a specially designed storage compartment.

Helen chose an energy efficient Everhot range cooker, which runs off two 13amp plugs, to replace an old oil-fired AGA. 30mm marbled quartz worktops create a crisp, modern note that lifts the classic design. The Everhot cooker is topped with cast iron hot and simmer plates and a three-zone induction hob.

Flanked by doors to the hall, far left, cellar, left, and family room, right, there was sufficient wall space to include a large breakfast cupboard, styled to look like a freestanding dresser

Antique brass cup handles add a traditional finish

The custom-made walnut drawer, built beside the range cooker, is designed for safe and easy to reach storage of knives

Spice drawers are concealed in the mantle legs, opened on push-catches

Display shelves enhance the open feel of the room, in preference to wall cupboards

Dispensing boiling, cold filtered and regular hot and cold water, the Quooker tap has been specially finished in antique brass to match the other brass details in the room

An integrated fridge, left, pantry, centre, and freezer, right, sit neatly in an alcove, creating a less bulky and more streamlined look. Tiered walnut shelving inside the pantry makes it easy to see and reach the contents, including those at the back of the cupboard.

DESIGN NOTES: UTILITY BOOT ROOM

Similar, but simpler, Shaker-style cabinetry has been designed for the utility boot room, with the same floor tiles and blind fabric as the kitchen to create a sense of continuity. A large ceramic butler’s sink is practical for a busy household in the country, useful for washing homegrown vegetables, cutting flowers and cleaning muddy boots.

Drawers below the bench seat provides extra storage for sports equipment

Hunter, the French bulldog, enjoys his custom-made dog bed

STOCKISTS

CASTRADS 0161 439 9350 castrads.com

EVERHOT 01453 890018 everhot.co.uk

FARROW & BALL 01202 876141 farrow-ball.com

JIM LAWRENCE 01473 826685 jim-lawrence.co.uk

KOHLER 0800 001 4466 kohler.co.uk

KRANTZ DESIGNS 01522 869088 krantzdesigns.co.uk

LITTLE GREENE 0845 880 5855 littlegreene.com

MIELE 0330 160 6630 miele.co.uk

NEPTUNE 01793 427450 neptune.com

QUOOKER 0345 833 3555 quooker.co.uk

STUDIO CERAMICS 01636 673527 studioceramics.com

SUNBURY DESIGN 01279 416060 sunburydesign.com

SWAFFER 01733 371727 swaffer.co.uk

WESTIN 01484 432420 westin.co.uk

 

 

Feature Amelia Thorpe

Photographs Paul Craig

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