The Birth of Modern Kitchen Design

In order to design kitchens of the future, it helps to understand kitchen design of the past.  By doing so, we believe we can help clients with large country houses understand how their houses were initially intended to be used, and in doing so, how we can improve how they are used in the future.   The Artichoke team pays particularly close attention to how country houses were originally intended to operate, and how changing socio-economic environments have affected this use over time.  There have been huge cultural changes over the last 150 years.

It was not until the mid 19th century that kitchen design became of interest to house owners.  Prior to that, the owners of large country houses were simply not interested in their kitchens or how they were designed.  The rooms were out of site, often in the basement or away from the main body of the house.   They were therefore out of mind, run by the cook, the servants and the housekeeper, and the closest they got to interior design was choosing the paint colour.

 

The Kitchen at Tyntesfield, North Somerset

In the 1860s, changes in social attitudes began to alter the social hierarchy of the country.  Before this, the Lady of the grander country house would plan her weekly meals with her cook.  With the industrial revolution creating more jobs in factories, and an establishing rail network allowing easier movement, a burgeoning middle class began to appear.  Servants positions became less interesting to the ambitious jobseeker.  This turn of events was very well documented in the BBC’s series Downton Abbey.

The growth of the middle classes (who could afford fewer servants and smaller houses), meant an increasing number of women found themselves in the kitchen.   Originally they made bread and trained their staff, but more increasingly they found themselves working alongside the kitchen staff they employed.  It was inevitable that improvements to cleanliness, comfort and kitchen interior design would soon follow.  This was emphasised by influential cookery writers of the age such as Mrs. Beeton who capitalised on the countries’ new found love for kitchen design and kitchen living.

 

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Shows Artichoke’s design for a Jacobean house in which we have taken inspiration from the kitchen at Tyntesfield Abbey.

The improved kitchen interior was further fuelled by the introduction of mains water, gas and plumbed in sinks and boilers during the 1870s.  The Victorian kitchen was now becoming a more pleasant place to spend the day.

Fast forward to present day, and it is estimated that the British spend over an hour and a half a day cooking which for many represents 3 years over the average life.  It’s small wonder then that we place so much value on good kitchen design.

For more information on our bespoke kitchen design service please click here.  Contact us on 01934 745270 or email newprojects@artichoke.co.uk if you have a design project you would like to discuss.

 

Art Deco Kitchen and Dining Room, Mayfair

If you are a fan of the art deco kitchen or the flamboyant art deco period in general, then it’s quite possible you’d have seen images of the lift doors in the Chrysler Building in New York which have been the inspiration for a bespoke kitchen and dining room commission we have recently completed in Mayfair, Central London.

 

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To set the scene, the Chrysler Building was constructed in the competitive and fast paced world of 1920’s New York.  The economy in America was booming; the social scene was roaring, and the fields of design and architecture were creating their own very specific identities.  The discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 had also unleashed a huge thirst for Egyptian design with the Karnak Temple in particular influencing global design detail of the time.

 

 

The Chrysler Building was funded entirely by Walter P Chrysler who incredibly paid for the building from his own pocket in order that his children and grand-children could benefit from it.  It was therefore he who made many of the bold design decisions alongside the architect William Van Allen.  The eccentric Art Deco crescent-shaped steps of the spire (spire scaffolding) were made of chrome-nickel steel as a stylised sunburst motif, and underneath it steel deco gargoyles, depicting American eagles, stare over the city. Sculptures modelled after Chrysler automobile radiator caps decorate the lower setbacks, along with ornaments of car wheels.   It really was an awe-inspiring folly.

 

 

There were many stunning and original design details included in the architecture of the Chrysler Building, but the one to influence the panelling and doors for our kitchen and dining room commission are the incredible lift doors, of which there are 32 sets within the Chrysler Building and 37 in the kitchen and dining room we are making.

 

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The lift doors in the Chrysler Building, New York.

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Project 149 - View 1 - Open

 

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Our rendered images of the approved design.

According to the book, New York, 1930, the Art Deco Chrysler Building Lift doors are made of Japanese ash, English gray harewood and Asian walnut. Inside the elevators, the cabs include American walnut, dye-ebonized wood, satinwood, Cuban plum-pudding wood and curly maple.  The cabs are all different inside.  The metal work is chrome-nickel steel to match the exterior of the building.

The project creative idea was originally conceived by our friends at Fletcher Priest Architects, with Artichoke being responsible for taking the conceptual idea of the art deco kitchen and then turning it into reality.

The design detail within the doors includes some fascinating references to Egyptian mythology including references to the Egyptian feather of truth (the feather, because of its Egyptian name, “shut”, was a symbol of Shu).  This may have been a clever attempt at humour by the architect.

 

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A marquetry bespoke Art Deco Kitchen and Dining room

Artichoke was asked to create a panelled bespoke art deco kitchen and dining-room for the project which overlooks Green Park.  The design had similarities to the original doors in the Chrysler Building, albeit with less flamboyant metalwork, pared down Egyptian references and sightly different decorative veneers.

There are many complexities to undertaking a marquetry job of this nature.  Firstly, unlike lift doors, kitchen doors are often different widths because they often house different hardware within them.  How do the designers ensure therefore that the panels are equal in size and mirror each other on either side of the room, a vital puzzle to solve in order to adhere to the classical symmetry and proportions so important in Deco design?

Secondly, from a purely practical point of view, how does one treat the copper sheet that’s embedded within some of the marquetry panels?  Research shows that copper contains a repellant which actually breaks down most rubber based glues, and other glues have varying degrees of success.  Copper also expands rapidly when heated, so a cautious approach is needed when sanding the veneers, otherwise the copper is likely to heat up with friction, expand and ping off.  Then, once the correct glue is found to successfully adhere copper, testing is needed to see how it reacts with the exotic wood veneers either side of it.  Any reaction, and it’s back to square one!

In addition to that, copper also dis-colours when being cut by laser, so specialist laser equipment with weaker strength beams were sourced specifically to cut the individual copper elements.

Grain direction is another big discussion point, as is trying to ensure that the flitches of veneers used in the doors match each other in both tone and scale as closely as possible.

 

A successful sample; an initial experiment gluing up copper and decorative veneers

There are six primary doors and thirty one secondary doors throughout the dining room and bespoke kitchen, including an automated moving partition wall that divides the rooms when entertaining.

 

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The initial layout of the marquetry doors with their materials listed.



How the marquetry is cut.

 

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Initial client sample showing veneers and copper inlay for the primary doors on the right hand side and secondary on the left.

The client approved the sample for the art deco kitchen’s secondary doors, but it was felt a more intricate pattern for the primary doors was needed.   The latest design is on the right hand side, showing a much more intricate pattern for the copper veneers on the primary doors.  You may notice that the Egyptian feather has been re-introduced to the design on the right.

 

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This more detailed elevation shows the intricate copper detailing on the primary marquetry panelled doors.

 

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All of Artichoke’s bespoke kitchen projects are first made digitally using engineering software. This ensures that all of the cabinet-making issues can be ironed out before real production starts.

 

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Detail of the copper in-situ.

 

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One of the 37 doors ready to be wrapped and taken to site.

 

The completed bespoke Art Deco kitchen and dining room

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art deco kitchen panels

 

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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.

 

Bespoke Kitchen Design Tips

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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

 

Curved Kitchen for a Round House

Round houses were once all the rage (think mud huts, yurts and teepees).  Houses were built in the round because they offered strength against earthquakes, strong winds and heavy snow, and because they were quick to heat and simple to roof.

These days, modern building materials and fixings offer enough strength and stability to not have to deploy round exteriors for strength, and it is unusual to see one.  Not because the shape is unappealing aesthetically, but largely because the machinery that makes and shapes building materials such as steel, brick, glass, timber and stone is designed to produce it flat, square and straight.  Flat, square and straight is the default setting for most building material manufacturers, so it should be of no great surprise that design and manufacture of curved furniture takes longer and ultimately costs more.

Even the glass backsplash is curved.

 


This particular house is round because it has been inspired by the circular garage carousel upon which it sits, created to store the clients car collection.

Design Challenges – Designing A Kitchen in a Round House
The project has been designed in collaboration with Mark Gillette and for it to be authentic and a design success, it was first vital that all of the curved elements of the bespoke kitchen doors were actually curved, and not faceted.

This challenge is further compounded by the fact that the curve becomes tighter the nearer to the center of the roundhouse the furniture is positioned.  This means that the radius of the furniture doors in the scullery at the back of the kitchen is different (shallower) to the radius of the doors on the outside of the island (tighter).

Radius dimensions are 16.16 metres for the scullery, 15.32 for the glass splashback, 14.62 for the main kitchen furniture, 13.49 for the inside of the island and 12.09 for the outside of the island.

In addition to the varying radius dimensions, other challenges present themselves. Dishwashers and fridges have flat doors, raising the question of how you fix a curved furniture door to the face of a flat metal door?  Does the hinge on the appliance throw the curved door out far enough so that it doesn’t meet adjacent doors?  Hardly any of the joints meet at 90 degrees.  How do you clamp these items together at an angle?  Are the floor tilers using the same radius as you and will their floor radius match your plinth radius?  The glass backsplash needs to be specially curved. How do you set out the kitchen at the installation stage?


Artichoke’s creative design images of the desk area with doors open and closed. The right hand side of these images show the strength of the curved doors.

Materials
The primary material chosen for this kitchen is fumed Eucalyptus, typically found in Australia, New Zealand and Spain. The material is a light brown/golden yellow in its natural state, and it is made to go a deep chocolate brown colour by fuming it (a process using ammonia that causes a reaction with the tannins in the timber).

As you can see, the timber has a wonderful ripple running through it and great care and considerable time was chosen to source a pack of veneer that was even in colour throughout and maintained its ripple across the width of the kitchen.  As is often the case, we took the client to our veneer suppliers to advise and discuss the choice.

The Fumed Eucalyptus in Artichoke’s workshops before it is worked.

This video shows an Artichoke cabinet-maker bonding veneer onto one of the curved substrates using a vacuum bag-press. 

Production Engineering
At Artichoke, because our kitchens are so highly bespoke, we put every completed design through a process called Production Engineering.  This essentially means we are making the kitchen digitally into an accurately surveyed wire-frame model of the room.  This allows us to iron out every issue on computer first before any materials are purchased.

Images show the kitchen being digitally cabinet-made into the wire frame model of the room.   Once this process is complete and we are happy the kitchen works, we can use this software to produce making drawings for the cabinet-makers.

Cabinet Making
For quality control reasons, every bespoke kitchen we design is assembled at Artichoke’s workshops to ensure any issues are ironed out before we come to the installation phase.  This also gives us the opportunity to ensure that all of the appliances fit perfectly and that all of the door gaps are perfect.  Only then is the kitchen dis-assembled and finished in Artichoke’s high tech, air filtered finishing booths. 


Individually, the curve on each door is surprisingly slight, but when compounded it becomes more pronounced.

Installation Phase
Artichoke’s workshop environment is specifically set to domestic heat and humidity levels, so moving completed furniture into a non domestic environment is a potential danger.

The installation phase is often the most risky, and we take great care to ensure that our furniture is introduced to the building at the correct stage of the build.  We are particularly focussed on ensuring the relative humidity is appropriate (between 40 and 60%).  If humidity levels are under, it can cause the timber in the kitchen to shrink, causing cracking, gapping and surface checking.  If the humidity levels are above (which can be as a result of plasterers still working on the site), then it can encourage mould growth and buckling.    Solid timber is particularly vulnerable.


The house nearing completion.

The main sink elevation.


The double doors lead to the scullery.  The glass was also curved, as was the stone profile.  The stone has a textured surface.

 

Completed Project

If you are interested in curved kitchen design and would like to discuss a project with us, please contact Andrew or Bruce on +(0)1934 745270.

Villa Guglielmesca, Tuscany, Italy

Villa Guglielmesca is situated near the town of Cortona, in the province of Arezzo in Tuscany. While the prevailing character of Cortona’s architecture is medieval Renaissance, the villa itself dates back to the beginning of the 1900’s.  Originally a private house, it was transformed into a hotel with 12 bedrooms in the 1950’s before being purchased by the current owner.

 

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Villa Guglielmesca, Cortona, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy (in 2011 before work started)
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The View from the Villa

In 2010, Artichoke was commissioned directly by the owner to reconfigure the Villa and make it function again as a private residence.  This has involved extensive interior architectural design work by Artichoke’s creative team and includes designing the architecture and furniture for the entrance hall, master bedrooms, bespoke kitchen, dining room, butler’s pantry, boot-room, guest and master bathrooms, ballroom, interior architectural joinery, doors, skirting and floors.

 

Front Entrance Door

The front entrace door was designed taking inspiration from the architecture of local vernacular. Our initial design below proposed the door as European Walnut, althoughthe door is now more likely to be hand painted.  The exterior elevation on the left shows the stone architrave which will be in Pietra Serena to match the the Tuscan columns we designed for the interior.  Pietra Serena is a beautiful grey Tuscan sandstone which was used by Michelangelo in the Medici Chapel Romeare.

 

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The splayed reveal August 2014, ready for plastering
Entrance Hall Design

Below is the Entrance Hall as it existed while Villa Guglielmesca was a hotel.   As you can see, the existing interior architecture of the Villa required significant design work.  Our initial focus was to research and gain a thorough understanding of local vernacular to create an appropriate space for family living.

 

The Villa’s entrance hall when it was a hotel

The images below show the approved Artichoke re-design of the entrance hall with twinned Etruscan columns supporting the vaulted ceiling and hiding the re-enforced concrete columns. The stone we are using fo the columns are made from Pietra Serena.

 

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Artichoke’s re-design of the entrance hall

 

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Plans show Artichoke’s architectural plans for the main hall

 

Bespoke Kitchen Interior Design

Artichoke’s design team also introduced the groin vaulted ceiling detail used in the entrance hall to the principal bespoke kitchen as both a device to architecturally tie the two ends of the vast space together and to frame the large open fireplace (also designed by us).

 

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The Villa’s kitchen space taken back to brick

Inspiration for the bespoke kitchen design in Villa Guglielmesca was taken from typical Tuscan agricultural furniture design.  The primary timber being used for the kitchen is French oak. The oak on the island will be bleached and the oak for the pan-shelves will be fumed to age them. The bread board island tops will be made from wild-grain European Walnut which we will source in Italy. The arched doors on the end of the island, which is plastered, are made from solid oak, and roughly hand planed across the grain with a curved plane blade to create an aged effect. The glazed dresser doors close on traditional espagnoletes.

 

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Image shows the two brick islands finished in rough finish lime render
Boot room Design

Artichoke’s design teams have designed numerous bespoke bootrooms for country properties and apart from plenty of storage, a key aspect to most successful bootroom designs is combining practicality with simplicity.  Bootrooms get a lot of wear. They get dirty and are more loved for their practicality than their looks, mainly because most of the fitted furniture becomes draped in coats, hats and scarves, and eventually much of it become invisible. Artichoke designed the Villa’s boot-room with drainage at the centre of the room to allow mud to be washed and brushed away.

 

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Artichoke’s design for the Villa’s bootroom
Kitchen Fireplace

Artichoke designed the fireplace and surround as a multi-functional space, and it is far from simply decorative.  A chargrill has been designed on the right hand side, with the left reserved for open fires and spit-roasting meats.  The stone for the surround is Pietra Serena.

 

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Shows the Artichoke designed fireplace being prepared in tandem with the groined ceiling, also designed by us
Interior Architecture

There are nearly 100 individual features designed by Artichoke inside Villa Guglielmesca, including coffered ceilings, fireplaces, windows, columns, doors and stone architraves.   A few examples can be seen below:

 

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Construction in progress of the groined ceiling in the Villa’s Limonaria

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Pietra Serena stone architrave being set into the Villa walls
One of the Artichoke designed Pietra Serena window surrounds

 

Installation Phase
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Artichoke’s European walnut vanity unit with walnut mirrors. The marble to be added will be Carrara
The Villa’s exterior showing the Pietra Serena windows and door frames designed by Artichoke. The shutters were make locally

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Walnut skirting was designed for the dining room
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Artichoke designed this simple linen store. Note the detail in the clay tiles at the threshold of the door

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Completed Project

A small selection of images from the completed project are below.

Kitchen

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Scullery

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Bootroom

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Guest WC

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Hallway Doors

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Selected Architectural Joinery

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Designing a Country House Kitchen Island

The kitchen island has humble origins.  In the days when large houses were supported by busy kitchens teaming with staff, the oak table was the workhorse of the room.

 

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. Not Used CL 12/07/1946
The central island in the main kitchen at Middleton Park was simply a domestic table raised off the ground on blocks

Today, most domestic kitchens are used by the home-owner and not by staff. We prepare our own food, and as a result, kitchen islands tend to look less utilitarian.

Many of Artichoke’s kitchen design commissions are for large country houses where history has played its part in shaping how the house looks and runs.  Often these design commissions are from the new owners who are often responsible for replacing years of lost period character.  As bespoke kitchen designers, it is often our responsibility to balance their wishes for period authenticity with the practical needs of a modern home.

This case-study shows how one such kitchen island has evolved from a series of simple sketches to the finished article in Artichoke’s workshop.

The brief was to design a kitchen with a period feel that met the needs of a modern family.  The house is a captivating Grade II listed house set in National Trust parkland near Alderley Edge in Cheshire, with owners keen to re-introduce some high quality period detail back into the house.

 

Initial hand sketch

Each kitchen design project evolves in different ways, but in this case, initial ideas were roughed out on paper to gauge the feasibility and to help give the client an understanding for what can be achieved.

 

Island 1

 

Island 4

 

2D Drawings

Once the concept is proven, the general intent drawings are prepared showing turning detail, period moulding detail and interior layouts of the drawers.  At this stage we are drawing to scale.

 

Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 10_25_12

 

Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 10_23_02

 

3D Renders

Artichoke’s design team often deploys CGI (Computer Generated Images) to explore how kitchen furniture works with the rest of the room and the architecture. The studies below show the oak kitchen island at the centre alongside other decorative items.  CGI can be extremely useful in helping clients understand how design impacts their space.

 

Blackhurst - View 4

 

Blackhurst - View 7

 

Production Engineering

Once the kitchen island  design is approved by the client, our cabinet makers will make the piece in digital form first using a software package that will also calculate bills of materials, quantities of components* weight of parts etc.  We make every piece virtually in this way.  It ensures all potential problems are ironed out before we purchase materials, and it improves efficiency for the client.

 

Island b

 

Island d
there are 141 individual hand made component parts in this island. Each is bespoke made from the original raw materials (European Oak)
Production

Artichoke makes the finest quality kitchens that are robust enough to last for many years.  To make kitchens of this quality requires the component parts to be jointed traditionally using craft base skills that have stood the test of time.

In the case of this kitchen island, the rail is jointed to the turned legs using dovetail joints and mortice and tenons.  These traditional joints take time to make and will be unseen by the client, so some would argue that they are uneccessary.  However, we know that these methods are a mark of quality and will far outlast a mechaniocal fixings.  We know that it will never fail.

 

Screen shot 2015-07-06 at 14_03_20
Dovetail joint
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Mortice and tenon joints
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A specially designed jig with leather protective padding clamps the rail to the leg
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Dovetailed drawers
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Artichoke cabinet maker Craig putting final adjustments to one of the island drawers
Finishing

The final phase is the finishing, and in this case the finish required is mid to late 19th century.  Our head of finishing, Rob, used to be a well known antique restorer and has incredible skill for turning new oak into old.  Like most professionals, Rob keeps his recipies a closely guarded secret.

 

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24 February 2016: Project being installed.

 

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