Historical & Period Kitchen Reference Images

At Artichoke, a significant number of the bespoke period kitchens  we are commissioned to design are in English country houses, many dating back many hundreds of years.  When designing for these clients, we find referencing from kitchens from the past a particularly useful way to gain inspiration.  Here are a few of the period kitchens that have inspired our work:

 

The scullery at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

 

The kitchen, Avebury Manor, Wiltshire (prior to its redecoration)

 

The Kitchen in the Basement at Ickworth, Suffolk.

 

The Kitchen at Attingham Park, Shropshire. The elm-topped table and dresser are filled with the copper batterie de cuisine.

 

The range and surrounding stonework with carved inscription in the Kitchen at Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire.

 

The double sink and taps in the Scullery at Dunham Massey, Cheshire.

 

The Kitchen at Dunham Massey, Cheshire.

 

The Kitchen with the Philip Webb dresser at Standen, West Sussex.

 

The Scullery at Tredegar House, Newport, South Wales. The wooden draining boards and sinks and plate rack are a modern replacement for the original fittings.

 

The Great Kitchen at Tredegar House, Newport, South Wales. The walls are partly tiled with 1880s Maw and Company tiles, with the upper parts painted blue which was a colour believed to repel flies.

 

Old kitchen equipment including graters, a corkscrew, a toasting fork and a sieve at Sunnycroft, Shropshire.

 

Old kitchen utensils used as display at Polesden Lacey restaurant, Surrey.

 

Part of the copper batterie de cuisine on the dresser shelves in the Kitchen at Attingham Park, Shropshire.

 

The Kitchen with wooden table, and range, at Osterley Park, Middlesex. The room has been a kitchen since the 1760s and is in the opposite corner of the house to the Eating Room, so that no noise or cooking odours should disturb the diners.

 

The sixteenth century kitchen built by Sir Richard Grenville at Buckland Abbey, Yelverton, Devon. The kitchen was re-sited to be near to the Great Hall and the room is dominated by two open hearths used for cooking. The walls are painted in a traditional pink limewash.

 

The Kitchen at Castle Drogo, Devon, with the circular beechwood table designed by the architect of the house, Edwin Lutyens. The only natural light in the room comes from the circular lantern window above the table, echoing its shape.

 

Partial view of the oak table designed by Lutyens and made by Dart & Francis in 1927 in the Butler’s Pantry at Castle Drogo, Devon.

 

Three large oak-framed sinks and the long rows of plate racks above partially lit in the Scullery at Castle Drogo.

 

The Larder with a food safe at Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

 

Library Interior Design Reference Images

A precursor to starting the interior design work for any bespoke library or study is to take reference from the past.  Here are some of the libraries we love.

 

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The Philosopher’s Hall, Strahov Monastery, Prague(we are currently designing a project inspired by this library).  Click this link to see a fascinating detailed 360 tour of this room.

 

library furniture looking from balcony

The grand library at Chatsworth.

 

Bookcases in the Library at Hatchlands Park, Surrey.

Bookcases in the Library at Hatchlands Park, Surrey.

 

The Library at Knightshayes Court, Devon. The bookcases are in a Gothic style with linenfold panelling by John Crace.

The Library at Knightshayes Court, Devon

 

View from the Book Room into the Library at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire. The Book Room was created by John Soane in 1806 by annexing part of the orangery.

View from the Book Room into the Library at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire

 

The library steps by Thomas Chippendale the Younger, in the Library at Stourhead, Wiltshire.

The library steps by Thomas Chippendale the Younger, in the Library at Stourhead, Wiltshire

 

The Library, designed by Robert Adam in 1766, at Osterley Park, Middlesex. The room is in a stony white with neo-classical details, the original collection of books would have had colourful bindings and the simplicity of the room was in sympathy with that. In 1885, the original library volumes were sold to pay for the refurbishment of the house.

The Library, designed by Robert Adam in 1766, at Osterley Park, Middlesex.

 

A view from the Hall to the Library at Basildon Park, Berkshire. The Neo-classical plasterwork decoration of the Hall shows the Adam influence on John Carr of York who designed the house in the late eighteenth century. The trophies of arms in panels above the doors are a reminder that entrance halls were used as armouries in earlier times. The Library bookcases are visble through the open door.

A view from the Hall to the Library at Basildon Park, Berkshire

 

The Library at Castle Drogo, Devon. Edwin Lutyens was the architect of Drogo between 1910 and 1930 and he designed the oak bookcases. The lustre dishes above the bookcases are Hispano-Moresque and date from the 1700s.

The Library at Castle Drogo, Devon.

 

The Library at Belton House, Lincolnshire. The room was a dining room in the seventeenth century, changed into a drawing room in 1778, and was converted into a library in 1876.

 

Gilt-brass wirework on one of the bookcases in the Library at Hartwell House, a historic house hotel in Buckinghamshire.

Gilt-brass wirework on one of the bookcases in the Library at Hartwell House, a historic house hotel in Buckinghamshire.

 

Shelves in the Library at Scotney Castle, Kent.

Shelves in the Library at Scotney Castle, Kent.

 

One of the inscribed Gothic hinges on the Library door at Tyntesfield. Only available as a scan.

One of the inscribed Gothic hinges on the Library door at Tyntesfield, North Somerset

 

View of the Library at Nostell Priory: the first room to be remodelled by Robert Adam. The view shows the Chippendale library table, lyre-back chairs (1767-8) and bookcases.

View of the Library at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire

 

The Library at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. The Library was built in 1937-8 by Sidney Parvin to house Lord Fairhaven's collection of books.

The Library at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire.

 

Looking through the Library door toward the Entrance Hall at Castle Drogo, Devon.

Looking through the Library door toward the Entrance Hall at Castle Drogo, Devon.

 

The library at St Giles House near Shatftesbury, recently restored and owned by the Earl of Shaftestbury.

The Regency Cooks Kitchen

Fota House is a magnificent Regency mansion with over 70 rooms (including a stunning cooks kitchen).  It is sited on Fota Island near Cork, Eire and was owned by the Smith Barry family. Following some years of neglect it has been lovingly restored by its current guardians, Irish Heritage Trust.   A direct family connection with its last private owners, Dorothy Bell of the Smith Barry family, recently drew me back, partly out of curiosity, and partly because I had possession of numerous items which were more useful to Fota than us.

 

Fota House, Co Cork, Eire

As with many grand houses of the period, Fota was designed specifically to support the most important element of Regency life; entertaining.  The interior architecture was configured to allow an army to work discreetly in order to support the flambouyant lifestyle of the then owner, John “The Magnificent” Smith Barry.  The architects, William and Richard Morrison designed the house so cleverly that there was little evidence of the dozens of domestic staff employed.

 

The Cooks Kitchen

One of the busiest zones on the house was the kitchen; it would have been an animated hub of activity and filled with noise, clattering, calling and would have been filled with steam and heat. In a well planned house such as Fota, the kitchen was placed as far away as possible from the main house to minimise the risk of accidental fire spreading through the grand rooms.  Extra turns were added to the corridors to reduce the spread of cooking smells, often at the expense of the John “The Magnificent’s” hot food which had to travel a fair distance to the dining room.

This large table was at the heart of Fota’s kitchen and was used solely for food preparation rather than dining.  The crucial ingredient for many of the soups and stews was stock, which were kept in stock pots and kept on the stove in the corner of the room to keep warm.

 

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Fota’s cook had the option of numerous methods of cooking.  At the main fire there is a turnspit for roasting (the preferred method of cooking in 19th century). Meat was secured on the skewers that roasted slowly in front of the fire.  The juices were kept in a tray below in which Yorkshire puddings were made.  The size of the fire could be adjusted to suite the size of the meat, and a spit boy was employed to turn the spit evenly.  Later the spit was rigged up to a system that used the rising hot air in the chimney to turn the wheel that rotated the spit.

 

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Copper pots and pans were cleaned every evening by the scullery maids before being replaced ready for another day’s use.  The units under the windows acted as a type of indoor barbeque and used for frying, making sauces and cooking vegetables

 

The Regency Cook

In the same way a head Chef runs a restaurant kitchen, the Regency cook would have rulled the roost and would have been considered one of the upper servants.  She had similar powers as the housekeeper and would have been called “Mrs”, regardless of whether she was married or not.  Similar to modern day chefs, Regency cooks would have been considered pretty temperamental and secretive with their recipes; as a consequence, finding a good cook was hard.  The last cook at Fota, Mrs Jones, was one such a lady.  She was vivacious with dark curly hair and very assertive; servants would not dare enter the kitchen unless they’d been told to; she had complete control over who went into the kitchen.  Indeed, it was extremely rare for members of the Smith Barry family to go there either.

The Regency cook was responsible for feeding the family and servants every day and also when they entertained guests during house parties, shoots and dinner parties.  John The Magnificent’s favourite party trick was to ask the servants to bring as much wine to the dining room as possible, after which he would lock himself and his guests in and throw the keys out of the window.  Lunch sometimes went on for days!.

 

The well stocked game larder at Fota.

Hospitality was an important part of life at Fota, as well as at any Regency house of this type, and the reputation of the family was on show. The entertaining started when the raw materials were left at the scullery door.  In a Regency kitchen, each servant had their job and each room had its own purpose.  Produce was sorted, cleaned, prepared and stored in large quantities, and consequently the cook worked closely with the head gardener so she could understand what fruits and vegetables were in season.

Many of the tasks carried out in kitchens today are the same, although carried out in a different way.  In the Fota kitchen, everything was prepared using manual labour – much of the work of grinding, chopping, mixing, beating and mincing was carried out with the help of kitchen maids.  The cook and her assistants used the large table at the centre of the room for preparation, with implements stored in drawers.  Kitchen maids were also in charge of keeping the kitchen clean and a major every day task was to scour the tables, shelves, dressers and ovens with soap and hot water.

The Regency Cooks kitchen was in many ways the precursor to the modern domestic kitchen and it’s certainly been the inspiration for a number of Artichoke design commissions, including Project 813.

 

A bespoke kitchen for a client, with inspiration taken from The Regency kitchen

If you find yourself in Cork, I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Fota House, not just for the house itself, but for the stunning arboretum and gardens.

With thanks to Eileen Cronin, the niece of Patty Butler who is the last surviving servant from Fota House and whose kind permission we have for re-producing these memoirs. Thanks also to Niall Foley and our friends at Irish Heritage Trust, Jennifer McCrea and Laura Murtagh, authors of Aspects of Fota, Stories from the Back Stairs.

To discuss Cooks kitchen design with us, call (0)1934 745270.  For more information on our bespoke kitchen design service please click here.

Read more about Irish Heritage Trust.

 

Bespoke Kitchen Design Tips

Bespoke Kitchen Design Tips - Header image

 

Artichoke’s approach to kitchen design is far more architectural than most, and we are highly experienced in resolving how interior space is organised by furniture.

Before any drawing work is done, it’s important for us to gain a thorough understanding of our clients domestic arrangements.  Gaining this knowledge helps us design spaces that work effortlessly.  It is the key to providing functional solutions for our clients.

 

General Requirements

The key to a successful outcome is to establish a clear brief for the kitchen and surrounding areas of the house.

Who is the client?
Is the person providing us with the brief for the kitchen the person paying for it?  To us it is vital to establish a relationship with all interested parties.

Who will be using the kitchen and how does the household operate?
Sounds like an odd question, but often, the person who will be using the kitchen is not the same person paying for it.  For instance, some clients have housekeepers, so it’s vital to understand their needs within the kitchen also.

How many people does the kitchen need to serve on a daily basis?

What is the largest number of people the kitchen needs to cater for on a semi regular basis?

Does the client have a budget?
It is vital to establish a budget for the kitchen early on.  Setting financial expectations from the outset will help control the kitchen specification.

What are the client priorities for the kitchen: Quality / Cost / Function / Aesthetics / Deliverability?
The prioritisation of these five topics will have an impact on the kitchen design.

What is the time frame for the project?  
The sooner we can identify and consider the risks to the project; the more effective we will be in providing for them.   Quite often for instance, the builder will be screaming for positions of gas, water, extraction and drainage before the design has even been started.

Does the kitchen need to accommodate religious dietary needs such as ‘Kosher’?  
This is important as some religions have very specific food storage needs.

Is the property listed?  What are the listing restrictions and do any apply to the kitchen space, ducting routes etc?

 

Wolf range oven with bespoke aged extraction hood

 

Where is the kitchen located within the house?
Has it been nominated enough space?

Is there a requirement for the kitchen to be supported and serviced by others rooms such a scullery, cold room, dry larder, wines cellar or butler’s pantry?

What is the route in to the house and kitchen for groceries, and what is the route out for waste?  Where is the location of waste for recycling?
Understanding this can have an important influence on the position of fridges, bins and internal doors.

Is there an existing kitchen, and are its contents relevant? 
Quite often there is a real benefit in surveying the clients’ existing contents and existing storage volume as this can have a direct bearing on how the new bespoke kitchen is designed.

What is the floor finish?
We need to first consider the setting out of the floor in relation to the kitchen plinth lines to ensure joins don’t clash or look ill-considered.

What is the structure of the flooring proposed?
The weight of the kitchen furniture and kitchen appliances are significant as they will deflect the sub floor and compress the floor coverings if they are not correctly engineered.

What are the window furnishings?
Do they need to be accommodated into the design?

What are the heating requirements for the kitchen and how is the space to be heated?
If the kitchen is under floor heated, BTU calculations should be made by excluding the kitchen furniture foot print, otherwise too much heating might be installed into the room.  Heating underneath fine furniture is also likely to cause timber movement and potentially structural damage.

What are the general ergonomics of the client?
Are they exceptionally tall, and what is the height of their partner?  Do they have any disabilities to consider?

 

Bespoke Kitchen Design Tips - Knives and storage

 

Appliances and Kitchen Equipment

What fuel type is available?
Often in rural locations, natural gas is not available which means LPG needs to be considered as an alternative.  If the LPG route needs to me taken, checks need to be made to ensure that chosen gas appliances can be converted to LPG.

What is the oven capacity needed and how many hobs are required?

Does the client prefer a range oven or ovens in column?
Understanding the age of the client is an an import factor when choosing positions of ovens in a kitchen, flooring types, access, waste routes and so on.

What type of cooking does the user of the kitchen do?
Knowing this will effect the choice of appliances.  Oven types can vary from conventional, fan assisted, grilling, baking, steaming, microwave and multi-functional options whereas hobs now come in a dizzying variety, including ceramic, induction, gas, wok, grille, steam, fryer, Teppanyaki, domino.

What are the kitchen extraction requirements?
Where is extractor motor located?  Ideally in-line or externally as this will be quieter. Does the client fry a great deal on a Teppanyaki type hob?  Knowing the size of the room in cubic metres will effect the size of the extractor motor.

What type of lighting is integrated into the extractor system?
Does this co-ordinate with the task lighting throughout the rest of the kitchen?

 

Additional cold storage in the pantry of a 19th century London house

 

Refrigeration

What volume of refrigeration and freezer is required?

Is there remote cold storage available?
There is little point in taking up critical space in the main kitchen with long term storage.

What wine storage and cold drink storage is needed? 

Is cold water and ice making required?

 

This recessed cupboard conceals a fridge. The other hides a microwave and pot storage.

 

Water, Sinks, Dishwashing and Waste

Is there enough drop?
It’s important to consider waste water routes when siting sinks to ensure enough drop is available to deliver grey water into the drainage.

Thought should be given towards the material of the sink.
Consider the suitability of the kitchen sink materials from a functional and aesthetic perspective.  Options include ceramic / cast iron enameled / stainless steel / wooden / corian / synthetic / stone.  If there is crystal being hand washed in the scullery sink then wood is more appropriate than cast iron.

Consider the different uses of a sink.
Preparation of food, drainage for cooking liquids, and scullery. In larger kitchens that serve large volumes, it helps to separate these functions. In smaller compact spaces it may be necessary to combine all these function into one sink.

Thick worktops
When specifying thick kitchen worktops, consider the fixing of taps; it may be necessary to undercut the worktop to accommodate the thread length of the tap.

Solid Stone Sinks
When specifying stone sinks it is well worth understanding their weight, depth, support and how to integrate ‘over flows’.

Matching metal finishes.
When specifying taps and sprays it is important to consider the metal finishes available.  Is it possible for the taps to match the wastes in the sink?  Will they have to be custom finished?

Dishwashers
Dishwashers have a minimum height beyond which they cannot be compressed. With integrated models it is important to ensure the height of the plinth and length of the integrated door is considered so the geometry of opening door works. Particular care should be taken with ‘in frame’ doors.  If the kitchen caters for large parties, are two dishwashers needed?

Bin Drawer Doors
Dishwashers and bin drawers are the most frequently used moving parts of a kitchen, and therefore need to be robust. Does the adjoining furniture need to be protected from steam and water? The design of a bin drawer needs to facilitate easy cleaning and sorting of waste for recycling.

Waste Disposal
Is kitchen waste disposal needed?  Switched or continuous feed?

Consider the storage of waste. If possible, do not store waste within the kitchen but look to a transitory location for larger volumes between ‘bin days’.  Dealing with waste is an essential process within a household and a holistic strategy needs to be developed that works.

 

Designing a bespoke, luxury kitchen - Quarta option

 

Kitchen Equipment and Gadgets

There are a never ending list of kitchen gadgets and equipment for food preparation.  It is worthwhile finding out which ones need to be stored in and around the kitchen; here is a check list:

  • Integrated and worktop coffee machines.
  • Sous-vide.
  • Multifunctional taps (and affiliated reservoirs).
  • Bar top bottle coolers.
  • Ice cream makers.
  • Bread makers.
  • Fish kettles.
  • Rice steamers.
  • Food processor.
  • Mixers.
  • Juicers.
  • Coffee grinders.
  • Sandwich toaster.

 

For further information, call Bruce or Andrew on 01934 745 270 or email newprojects@artichoke-ltd.com

 

What Stone and Marble for Luxury Bespoke Kitchens?

During the design process of any bespoke kitchen, discussions will inevitably reach the marble or granite worktops question.  Choosing the right stone for kitchen worktops is not straight forward. Each have their pros and cons, and there is no right or wrong answer.

Hopefully this blog post will act as a useful guide for each material, but feel free to contact us if you’d like to discuss your options.

 

 

Marble

In our view, marble is the most beautiful kitchen worktop material. Generally the patterns, hues and colours available in marbles are softer and more elegant than granite, so we prefer them aesthetically and we feel its beauty outweighs its flaws.

Marble types vary in density, porosity and mineral content, and they will all stain if acids (such as red wine and lemon juice) are left on them for hours unchecked. However, if your marble surface is sealed and the offending material is removed quickly, you should be fine.  Marble is also softer than granites so it will etch and antique with wear.  It is similar to timber in this respect and it will create its own beautiful patina over time.  We see this wear as an attractive quality.  We discuss Marble in greater depth here.

 

close up of drawers
Combining timber with Carrara marble often works well
Granite

Granite worktops are the most robust of all natural kitchen worksurface stones. It is dense, scratch resistant and does not stain. It is an excellent material for use in a busy kitchen.

With reasonable care, granite worktops will stay looking new for many years. In our experience, because granites are the post popular kitchen stone worksurface, they also tend to be more susceptible to trend, meaning that they can also quickly go out of trend. Certainly a few years ago, polished black granite was a popular choice. Now it tends to be less so, and whenever we install it now we tend to hone it to remove the polished surface, or flame it, a process which textures and antiques the surface.

Because of the way granite if formed geologically (it is volcanic as opposed to marble which is formed from sea bed activity), its patterns are, in our view, less exciting. They are typically more aggressive, bolder, harsher and less refined, and we tend to opt for using them in a scullery or pantry environment where the worksurfaces are likely to get more wear and looks are less important.

 

Flamed Granite 1
A flamed surface will give worktop surfaces a texture which softens or antiques the stone, making it more interesting. It also diffuses reflections from light sources within the room.
Wood

Wooden kitchen work surfaces wear quickly in comparison to stone.  It is less suitable for use as a kitchen work-surface, particularly around wet areas, but it can look spectacular in a period country house environment.  Our blog on kitchens in period country houses has some great images of period kitchens with wooden worktops.

Oak is the most commonly used solid timber kitchen worksurface in Britain.  It is warm to the touch and looks great, but it needs to be heavily protected with modern lacquers before it is fitted. Over time (in under ten years), these lacquers will wear, particularly in heavy use areas around the sink.  Once the lacquer is worn and water can access the oak, it will start to go black (particularly around the sink taps), and ultimately may the surface may need to be replaced.

If you are going to use oak, we would suggest not using it near sinks or wet areas. The island in the bespoke Edwardian cook’s kitchen we designed for a client uses both Italian black basalt and oak, with the basalt being used for the wet areas and the oak for the preparation areas.  This is a good compromise.

 

Basalt

Basalt is a good alternative to Granite worktops (they are both silicates).  It is hard, wears well and looks great, but mainly comes in dark colours (greys, blacks and blues) owing to the iron and magnesium that contaminates it during its formation.

 

Italian basalt
Artichoke used Italian basalt for this kitchen near Haslemere in Surrey.

Artichoke are fans of basalt, which is warm to the touch and softer to the feel than granite.  Some people think it looks a little like concrete.

 

Slate

Slate is formed from heavily compressed clay at low heat and is very finely grained. Most slate (Welsh slate in particular) is not suitable for kitchen work surfaces. It stains easily with acid (wine, lemon juice etc) and it can chip.

Artichoke does occasionally use slate from Cumbrian quarries for bespoke kitchens. These Cumbrian slates are extremely hard, extremely beautiful and do perform like granite (although can scratch a little easier).  They have beautiful graining and are soft to the touch.  A disadvantage is that most slates do not come in slabs longer than 1,800mm long, which is around 1,000mm shorter than the lengths available in granite.

Artichoke typically use slates in pantries.

 

(Top Left) Bursting Stone, (Top Right) Bayclift Lord, Bottom Left (Kirkstone Silver Green), (Bottom Right) Kirkstone Brathay Blue
Corian

Corian is an entirely man-made material formed primarily from an acrylic polymer.  It is non-porous, stain resistant, heat resistant and repairable.  It can be jointed seamlessly and is also flexible when heated, which allows it to be moulded into limitless forms.

It burns at 212 Fahrenheit / 100 centigrade, so it will not take very hot pans like granite will, but it can be seamlessly repaired should burn damage occur.

It also comes in a wide variety of colours, and because it can be bonded seamlessly to other Corian products, a worktop can mould seamlessly into a sink without any visible join, making it excellent for hygenic use.  Artichoke often designs Corian into pantry environments.

Being man-made, there are no natural fissures or graining, making it a great choice for contemporary kitchens in particular.

In this Artichoke project, the work-surface and the backsplash were seamlessly jointed and curved at the join, meaning there are no angled corners for dirt to collect. The sinks are also seamlessly jointed to the work surfaces.

 

Bespoke_contemporary_kitchen_nottinghill_3
The Corian work-surface in this kitchen runs seamlessly into the backs plash with no visible joins.

250315 - Utility Sink

For this scullery in a circular house, Artichoke used Corian for the walls aswell as the sink.  To see more details of this project, visit this page.

 

Quartz

Quartz worksurfaces such as Okite are made from three ingredients; quartz, polyester resin and colouring.  Around 90% of the material is made from quartz, and it is highly resistant to staining, heat and scratches, five times stronger than granite and non-porous.

It can also be “grained” and made to look like marbles and natural stone.  This process is well refined now and manufacturers have it down to a fine art.  It is a realistic alternative to marble but the graining can be a little formulaic.

 

Concrete

Concrete is a great kitchen worksurface, particularly if you are after a modernist / industrial look.  Contrete typically comes with a smooth surface or with an aggregate surface and it can be pigmented to colour it.   Depending on the shape and size of the piece, it can be cast on site or bought in pre-cast.

Concrete is porous and it will mark.  If you place a coffee mug onto the surface, it will mark.  The same applies to oil and other liquids such as wine, and if you are fastidious about perfect unblemished surfaces, then this is not the surface for you.  If you are prepared to relax and let daily life create it’s own patina however, it will look amazing in five years.

 

Stone Sealants

A recent online discussion with Russel Taylor Architects reminded me that I had missed out an important element; caring for stone.  Their comments, which I quote here word for word, are worth reading.  “To be on the safe side, our suggestion would be to use a stone sealant. Some of the stone sealants now available on the market are very good and absolutely invisible: they are not shiny and don’t change the colour or texture of the stone in any way, but make it completely resilient to water and oil penetration. We have used successfully on stone work tops VULCASEAL V201 and Lithofin STAINSTOP, Lithofin MN Stain-Stop ECO, Lithofin Nano-TOP.

Always, always, A-L-W-A-Y-S produce a sample of whatever treatment you decide to use and let it dry properly before applying it to the whole surface.”

Thank you Russel Taylor Architects!

And in addition to that, Artichoke often provides sealed stone samples to clients to then pour wine on, leave lemon juice on and generally treat badly; this is a good way to gain confidence in what you are are buying.

 

 

The Domestic End of the English Country House

At Artichoke, we spend a great deal of time resolving and detailing the domestic layouts of our client’s homes. We never even consider what a country house kitchen will look like aesthetically until we understand completely how a space works practically.

 

 

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the domestic back-end of an English country house was largely managed by a team of servants who had set zones of work to operate from.  For example, the scullery maid worked in the scullery, the cook reigned supreme in the kitchen and the butler had his pantry.  The upper servants were butler, housekeeper, cook, valet, ladies maid and governess, and below them socially were footmen, housemaids, kitchen, scullery, laundry and dairy maids. Anyone who has watched Downton Abbey will have a understanding of the structure. All the domestic tasks and staff to run the house were hidden behind the green baize door, the single item of joinery that marked the divide between master and servant.

Such extravagance on staff is rare these days; we tend to cook for ourselves, use machines to wash our dishes and we generally tend to run our own lives.  This can present issues when designing new bespoke kitchens for large country houses that were once run by numerous servants.  For a start, typically the kitchen would have originally been at the back end of the house, away from the reception rooms of the house. This would minimise the risk of fire spreading to the front-end of the house, and also reduce cooking smells.  These days our clients often want their kitchens to be at the heart of their homes. This results in us often having to design the kitchen into what would once have been a ballroom or a drawing room, presenting issues such as how to get services into the room, and how to get extraction out.

 

 

When Artichoke designs it’s bespoke kitchens, we will often refer back to the ways the domestic back ends of English country houses worked, and we often separate our kitchens into the same zones originally used in great country houses; Storage, Food Preparation, Cooking, Butler’s Pantry and Scullery.  We are not advocates of the kitchen triangle which presents far too much rigidity for bespoke kitchen design and does not represent how most of our clients live.

 

Storage

On large estates, the acquisition of food had to be a well planned affair, and having a level of self sufficiency was also an advantage (although it required an army of outdoor staff to grow fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs). The meats were often the produce of sport, and caught or shot by the hands of the gentry and their friends.

It was the housekeepers job to manage the storage of these goods.  Advantage was taken of the abundance of food in the Summer, with any overage being preserved in the Still Room, a mini kitchen with two ranges on which jams, preserves, pickles, cakes and confectionery were made for afternoon teas.

 

Bespoke Somerset willow baskets with a catering standard tap in the scullery area.

 

The game larder was usually positioned on a North-East facing position to minimise heat from the sun; in many houses the walls were often hexagonal in shape to maximise wall surface to the cold air outside.  The roof often had special ventilation to minimise smells from the hanging meat, and screens on the windows keep the vermin away.  Lead lined tanks around the room would be used for meat to be wet or dry salted, allowing the game to be stored for several months.

Of course, storage of food is significantly less laborious these days, with sophisticated appliances such as Sub Zero fridges with dual compressors taking the place of air cooled storage.  At Artichoke, we will often dedicate a separate zone in the kitchen to dry larder storage, often referred to as the Pantry.

 

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The pantry above was designed into a Queen Anne house in Gloucestershire by Artichoke. We will often employ simple “estate joinery” techniques for secondary spaces like this. Click here to see more information on this project.
Food Preparation

The early domestic kitchen would have been an animated and noisy hub of the domestic back end of the house. The modern kitchen is often similar, albeit with less staff and more gadgets (and often more children!).  In large English country houses, the large kitchen table would have been the focal point and main preparation zone.  Many of the functions carried out then were the same as today; grinding chopping, mixing, beating, mincing and rolling were all undertaken by staff. These days we use islands to prepare food on and often buy in ingredients ready minced and prepared.  We also have gadgets to do the chopping and grinding for us and we also tend to entertain far less formally than we used to.

Despite the differences in equipment, the cooking process starts when raw materials are deposited at the scullery door (the Sub Zero fridge being today’s equivalent).   Regardless whether there are servants or not, food is still cleaned, stored, prepared and presented to guests.

Depending on layout, the island is now the main preparation zone in most kitchens. The key difference is that preparation tables used to be standard table height (around 760mm), while modern islands are usually around 910mm

 

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A large central preparation island sits at the help if this Artichoke kitchen. The furniture was detailed with classical Doric Greek mouldings, designed as a scaled copy of the facade of the new addition to this John Soane country house.
Cooking

Large country houses had a plethora of cooking options available to them.  In the 19th Century, roasting meats on an open fire was the preferred method of cooking.  Meat was secured on skewers that rotated slowly in-front of the fire with the juices being collected in the tray below (in which they later made Yorkshire pudding).

There was also usually a large boiler where puddings were boiled, a warming oven to keep meals hot, a stove for stockpots and a smaller hotter oven for pastry cooking.  There was also often a charcoal stove, used as a type of indoor barbeque, a task adequately replaced by the Grill (such as the one found on the Wolf Dual Fuel range below).

As a nod to the kitchens of the past, Artichoke has recently designed a large open fireplace with a spit into the kitchen of a large country estate house in Tuscany. Cooking meats on an open fire is a fantastic method of cooking if you have the available equipment.

 

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Villa Guglielmesca - room 1311 - Fireplace

 

Butler’s Pantry

The Butler’s Pantry came into fashion in the English country house in the mid to late 1800’s.  They because a staple of great English houses and were typically situated between the dining room and the kitchen.  They were used for storing china and crockery and for serving and plating up food.

The example below, designed by Artichoke for a country house, shows both sides of the room, a short passageway between the kitchen and the main dining room.

 

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Scullery

The scullery that supported large country estates was usually at the back of the house, often nearest the well or water source.  They would usually have stone floors and heavy drainage, and often the scullery floor was 150mm lower than the rooms adjacent to it to minimise risk of flooding to other rooms in the house.

The scullery maid would usually stand on slatted mats to stop their feet getting too wet, and there were usually two sinks, one for hot water and one for cold.

Sculleries were not simply for washing.  They were also used as early preparation zones, such as for cleaning mud off vegetables bought in off the estate or preparing game and fish.   They were also used for laundry.

When designing the domestic ends of English country houses, the scullery and utility rooms will often be separate.  Artichoke’s sculleries will usually be for washing up plates and kitchen pots and pans, while utility rooms will be for linen washing and storage.

 

Scullery 1(1)

 

Scullery 2
This scullery, designed by Artichoke for an Edwin Lutyens house, is used for butchery of game, washing up and crockery storage. As the house is often used to entertain many guests, stainless steel was introduced to the washing up part of the scullery zone.

 

 

 

 

Articles About Artichoke

 

Country Life

“A stunning country kitchen, which draws inspiration from the late Victorian kitchen at Lanhydrock, Cornwall”
https://www.countrylife.co.uk/interiors/stunning-country-kitchen-draws-inspiration-late-victorian-kitchen-lanhydrock-cornwall-187969#JdtBDk3V3wS4ByPJ.99

 

Architectural Digest

“People are obsessed with that kitchen”, says Michael Smith, the interior designer on our recent Kensington project.
http://www.architecturaldigest.com/decor/2014-09/natalie-massenet-michael-smith-london-mansion-article

 

My Design Chic

“We all know the kitchen is heart of the home. And we think few designers know how to get that heart in shape like Artichoke.”
http://www.mydesignchic.com/2013/09/in-good-taste-artichoke-ltd/

 

Dear Designer Blog

“As bespoke kitchens go, this one is pretty damn close to perfection for me.”
http://deardesigner.co.uk/a-modern-rustic-kitchen-by-artichoke/

 

Derring Hall

“The UK based kitchen specialists at Artichoke have just revealed another fantastic bespoke kitchen.”
https://deringhall.com/daily-features/contributors/dpages/past-meets-present-in-a-timeless-tuscan-kitchen

 

House and Garden

“This is a kitchen of two halves.  One side traditional, the other side modern.”
http://www.houseandgarden.co.uk/interiors/bespoke-kitchens/view/interiors/furnishings/artichoke-bespoke-kitchens

 

Houzz

“…one of the best kitchens we have seen for a long time. We particularly love the shelf brackets.   Some of us are now wishing others hadn’t seen this photo!”
http://www.houzz.co.uk/ideabooks/34469496/list/kitchen-of-the-week-historic-influences-in-a-luxurious-bespoke-kitchen

 

Derring Hall

“Peek inside 11 designer’s stylish London projects”
https://deringhall.com/daily-features/contributors/dering-hall/peek-inside-11-designers-stylish-london-projects

 

Elle Decoration

“Want curved kitchen cupboards or Art Deco finishes on your cabinets? No challenge is too great for this Somerset-based practice, which can help to make even the most ambitious plan a reality.”
http://www.elledecoration.co.uk/directory-2/handmade-kitchens/

 

The London Magazine

“Foreign homeowners want craftsmanship and authenticity…”
http://www.thelondonmagazine.co.uk/interiors-gardens/celebrity-homes/oligarch-chic.html

 

Pufik Homes

“Quality and exquisite style has become the hallmark of the company”. Russian Luxury Interiors website Pufik Homes seem to love our work.  http://www.pufikhomes.com/2013/11/artichoke-zamechatelnyie-kuhni-ot-angliyskih-dizaynerov/

 

Houzz

Kitchen of the Week:  “Designed to feel much like a galley on a boat, this modern yet soft-lined kitchen features warm woods and elegant details.”
http://www.houzz.co.uk/ideabooks/46592347/list/kitchen-of-the-week-a-warm-and-contemporary-kitchen-on-the-river-dart

 

Archello

“Used by the cognescenti, Artichoke is well known for it’s understated and elegant approach to design.”
http://www.archello.com/en/product/project-820
http://www.archello.com/en/product/project-1086
http://www.archello.com/en/product/project-1120

 

LUX Worldwide

“For a truly classical country-style kitchen, there are few designers that can match Artichoke”
http://www.luxworldwide.com/magazine/lifestyle/kitchens-heart-of-the-home/

 

Houzz

“Modern twists on the classics…”
http://www.houzz.co.uk/ideabooks/45593036/list/lifestyle-design-lessons-my-mother-taught-me

 

Stylejuicer

“Artichoke are masters in their field…”  Thanks Annie at the wonderful Stylejuicer!
http://stylejuicer.com/home-and-interior/bespoke-kitchen-british-craftsmen-artichoke/

 

Trendir

“…kitchen glamor at it’s best”
http://www.trendir.com/beautiful-edwardian-style-kitchen-by-artichoke/

 

Agrell Carving

Great blog about a baroque library project we’re working on with Agrell Carving.
http://www.agrellcarving.co.uk/blog/2011-03-02/taking-influence-strahov-monastery-hand-carve-beautiful-baroque-library

 

DPAGES

D is a blog site committed to sharing all that’s cool and beautiful in the world of art, architecture, and design.  Thanks for including us in that!
http://blog.thedpages.com/kitchens-small-details-to-the-big-picture/

 

Home and Stone

Thanks to these bloggers for including our work in their “What’s Hot”  item.
http://blog.homeandstone.com/2014/01/whats-hot-in-the-kitchen-trends-to-watch-for-in-2014/

 

Lonny.com

“The kitchen is a perfect match for the home itself: grand yet livable, historic yet contemporary, and above all impeccably proportioned.”
http://www.lonny.com/Steal+This+Look+Classic+Meets+Contemporary+Kitchen

 

Desire to Inspire

“Artichoke is a group of designers of the highest quality bespoke kitchens, architectural interiors and furniture in the UK. This is what I would like to call kitchen porn folks. KITCHENS KITCHENS KITCHENS. And they are FAB.U.LOUS.”
http://www.desiretoinspire.net/blog/2013/9/18/artichoke.html

 

Domaine Home

“Go bold and select a copper-clad stove like the one seen in this stunning kitchen….”
http://www.mydomaine.com/new-kitchen-trends/

 

Dreambook Design

Thanks Adri and Jeremy for including us on your Design Inspiration Monday!
http://dreambookdesign.com/2013/07/design-inspiration-monday-23/

 

DKY 360

We’ve made it all the way to Germany!
http://www.dyk360-kuechen.de/blog/

 

To see more of the stunning work we have completed please click here.

Lutyens’ Architectural Joinery

We consider ourselves fortunate to have designed furniture and architectural joinery into some of Britain’s finest period and listed houses, including two homes designed by the great English Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Lutyens was a master of his craft.   He is one of the few architects revered for both the quality of his English country house interiors as much as the quality of his exteriors.  He was as much of a furniture designer as as he was an architect.

At Artichoke we place as much importance on creative design as we do on making; a great kitchen or library designed poorly is a total waste of money, no matter how well it is made.  To us, everything starts with great design.

Research forms a key part of our design process; we hold a large database of Lutyens mouldings and we have an extensive library of period architectural detail to refer back to, including a back catalogue from the archives of Country Life Magazine.  The magazine has been kind enough to provide us with images from some of our favourite Lutyens architectural joinery and furniture designs for this study into his work.

 

Folly Farm, Berkshire

The original 17th century house was enlarged by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1906 and again in 1912-16.  Artichoke designed the kitchen for the house in 2009 and our kitchen design was influenced partly by elements of the detail in the cabinet below, in particular the mitred joins on the cabinet doors.

 

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A built in cabinet at Folly Farm
View of the interior at Folly Farm. The original 17th century house was enlarged by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1906 and again in 1912-16. Not Used 04/02/1922
An interior panelled passage – note the door handles
The Viceroy’s House, Delhi, India

Sir Edwin Lutyens joined the Delhi Planning Commission in 1912 and was responsible for designing the Viceroy’s House. The new capital of British India, New Delhi was officially opened in 1931.

 

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A fireplace at the Viceroy’s House
Castle Drogo, Devon

Castle Drogo was designed by Lutyens between 1910 and 1932 and was the last castle to have been built in England.  The kitchen, with the circular beechwood table, was designed by Lutyens.

 

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All the light in the room comes from the circular lantern window above the table

The butler's pantry at Castle Drogo. The castle was begun in 1911 and completed in 1930 to designs by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Julius Drewe. Not Used CL 10/08/1945

 

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A doorway at Drogo with Jacobean style panelling
The latch on the entrance door at Castle Drogo. The castle was begun in 1911 and completed in 1930 to designs by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Julius Drewe. Not Used CL 10/08/1945
The latch on the entrance door. Every detail was considered
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A stunning door at Drogo. Note the book-matched pair of central panels at the base if the door. The door is hinged on a pivot
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Carved pilasters on either side of a door at Castle Drogo
Marsh Court, Hampshire

Marsh Court was the last of the houses that Lutyens built in the tudor style.  It was
from local materials that Lutyens revived a 17th Century practice and built the house from ‘clunch’ chalk blocks with occasional inlays of flint.

 

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The frieze panel was carved in local chalk
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A door in the dining room. Of particular note is the stepped door reveal lined in Walnut and the quartered veneer door panels
Screen shot 2015-05-29 at 11_00_14
The log store. Lutyens invested as much effort in back of house as he did on front of house rooms
Les Boit des Moutiers, France

The staircase and first floor landing at Le Boit des Moutiers. The house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Guillaume Mallet in 1898 and was one of the few built on mainland Europe.

 

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Medieval styling is in abundance here, in particular the portcullis detail below the banister rail
Heathcote House, West Yorkshire

Heathcote house was designed in the Baroque style by Lutyens in 1906.  Lutyens came to call this style “Wrenaissance” after Christopher Wren.

 

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The glazed cabinet at the back (and in the one below) has inspired many Artichoke designs
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The fireplace at Heathcote. Note the ball feet below the furniture in the recesses, the clever desk and the bevelled mirror glass
Middleton Park, Oxfordshire

The kitchen at Middleton Park.  The house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and his son Robert Lutyens in 1938 for the 9th Earl of Jersey.

 

The butler's pantry at Middleton Park. The house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and his son Robert Lutyens in 1938 for the 9th Earl of Jersey. Pub Orig CL 12/07/1946
The fantastic and beautifully proportioned Butler’s pantry
In this later example of kitchen design by Lutyens, the appliances are more sophisticated. Note the raised table island and zinc worktop
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A pedimented door. Note the inset mould in the architrave
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Fitted dressing room
A panelled room at Middleton Park. The house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and his son Robert Lutyens in 1938 for the 9th Earl of Jersey. Not Used CL 12/07/1946
Fitted dressing room
Sullingstead, Surry

The kitchen at Sullingstead. The house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1896-97 for Charles Arthur Cook.

 

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Particularly striking is the oak Doric column supporting the joinery
Crooksbury, Surry

The house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1890 for Arthur Chapman.

 

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This fantastic crockery display cabinet was designed by Lutyens
Deanery Garden, Berkshire

Deanery Garden was built in 1901 for Edward Hudson, the creator of Country Life, to designs by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The garden was designed in collaboration with Gertrude Jekyll.

 

The dining room at Deanery Garden. The house was built in 1901 for Edward Hudson, the creator of Country Life, to designs by Sir Edwin Lutyens and the garden was designed in collaboration with Gertrude Jekyll. Not Used CL 09/05/1903
The dining room at Deanery Garden

 

 

The Artichoke Workshop

Factory (68 of 91)

With such focus being directed towards designing beautifully detailed kitchens and fitted furniture, we have always felt it vital to maintain full control over all aspects of each project, and this includes its manufacture.  Great design made poorly is a waste.

Artichoke’s purpose built 14,000 square foot joinery workshops were opened in 2015 following three years of detailed planning and architectural design. We designed them ourselves specifically to manufacture domestic kitchens and furniture to an incredibly high quality level.

By investing our resources in a cabinet-making workshop of this standard (as opposed to the rental of expensive central London showrooms or kitchen salesmen on commission), we are able to produce work of unmatched quality for our clients at the best possible value.

 

Factory (84 of 91)

 

We are fiercely proud of our workshop, which includes:

  • An insulation, heating and humidity system designed specifically to mimic a domestic environment.  This allows the hardwoods we use to stabilise during storage and making, meaning minimum movement when it arrives on site as a kitchen or library.
  • An industrial grade high quality lighting system that automatically reacts with the ambient light outside, ensuring an even and constant light within the workshop throughout the day. This helps finishing teams and cabinet makers really view their work closely and it ensures that even the slightest embellishments don’t go un-noticed.
  • Industrial grade downdraft sanding benches which ensure minimal dust build up during sanding.  This facilitates a perfectly even and smooth surface on which to apply finishes such as lacquers, French polishes and paints.
  • Clean-room grade finishing booths which ensure a dust free environment when applying lacquers and polishes to finished furniture. These rooms are also environmentally controlled to ensure the best possible environment for applying and curing fine finishes.

We encourage our clients to visit us as it is really the best way for them to understand what we’re able to achieve for them.

 

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State of the art clean-air finishing booths ensure finishes are of the highest quality

 

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Great care is taken when choosing hardwood timber for each project.

 

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Stitching veneers for a library project

 

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John, our Production Manager, checking the fit for a rail on a mahogany door

 

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Sanding well presents a perfect surface on which to apply stunning finishes.

 

Factory (45 of 91)

 

 

To arrange a visit please give us a call on 01934 745270

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