This Regency country house is a typical example of how a grand house evolves over time, presenting a challenge to adapt it to suit a modern family’s way of life without compromising its original charm and beauty. We were invited by Henriette Von Stockhausen from VSP Interiors to consider work to the kitchen, with the vision of a classic English kitchen design that met the demands of modern life.
However, it soon became clear the entire back of house area, a ribbon of small rooms that were remnants of earlier buildings, had lost their way and needed repurposing for modern life.
We completed a full audit of the domestic requirements of the household – questioning the brief thoroughly to get a real feel for the space. The house was to suit private family life as comfortably as life with house parties of guests – the kitchen therefore needed to be flexible. It should accommodate professional cooks preparing large quantities of fresh food for entertaining as well as being a comfortable weekend space for the family.
The main kitchen was to be housed in a newly built orangery, leaving only limited wall space for equipment and cabinetry. The client was keen to avoid having one big island that might interfere with the flow of traffic through the room. Our solution was to create three islands, each with its own purpose, laid out to channel people through the room and allowing plenty of space for several cooks to be working at the same time.
We created a calm, timeless, classic English kitchen design that is sensitive to the style of the house and the needs of the household – a scheme that is as functional as it is beautiful. The ambience, with its two-tone paintwork, emphasises the depth and relief in the panelling. High tech equipment is integrated beautifully into stunning furniture.
The details and the junctions between marble, brass, wood and glass are carefully planned to create lasting perfection. The result is an exceptional room for living and working in.
The lack of walls made storage a problem which was addressed by breaking up the space with specific areas for different functions – a scullery, a pantry and a cold storage room all running off a long corridor that also provided ample storage.
A scullery was introduced as a separate space – enabling staff to clear dishes without being in the same space as the family. The pantry, along with the cold storage room, was to function almost like an internal shop – with capacity to store provisions to cope with a large household over Christmas and other family occasions. The family’s preference for fresh food, prepared in advance, plated up and ready to serve, led to the design of a bespoke cold storage cupboard easily accessed from the corridor using moulded Corian to ensure it could be kept spotlessly clean.
The chain of glazed rooms along the corridor feels almost Dickensian, providing atmosphere to the space but also borrowing light from the main kitchen. Restoration glass was used – float glass – to give the impression of the rooms being an original feature from an earlier era.
At the client’s request, there is no range cooker. Instead they wanted the convenience of easy to access, eye level modern ovens and an induction hob that is easy to wipe down and clean. We therefore inserted cabinetry into the original chimney breast – reflecting an evolution of a country house.