Artichoke was introduced to this early Georgian inspired new-build project by ADAM Architecture who required specialist joinery design work in a series of rooms, including the main family kitchen. In many ways the architecture of the room we were asked to design into dictated our approach.
The kitchen is in a large high-ceilinged orangery inspired wing of the house with full length doors on all elevations. While this ensured the room was flooded with natural light throughout the day, it provided very little wall space for kitchen furniture. There was only one wall for kitchen furniture to design on to.
Artichoke’s solution was to create an impressive four metre long island of two parts – a taller part on the front face presenting as a fine oak Edwardian retail display cabinet, and a lower run on its rear working side. This approach provides an attractive and original aesthetic for people sitting at the table whilst also hiding the work surfaces and sink area from view.
To create interest on the back wall, a long bell-shaped bespoke extractor hood was commissioned from Officine Gullo to sit above the La Cornue range and to match the length of the island. Combining a striking and elegant feature with efficient extraction, the hood offers also provides task lighting and storage for pots and pans within its underside.
The hand finished aged oak cabinetry displays more like a repurposed antique than a normal kitchen island and is used for the display of porcelain. Lit from within, the cabinets also present a dramatic evening scene, defining the space and providing an extra atmosphere. All the cabinets, including the painted elements in the kitchen, are made from rift cut European oak. The process of steam bending was used to ensure the island’s front plinth appeared as a single unjointed piece of timber. To ensure the grain of the oak grinned through the painted surfaces, Artichoke used lacquer as the undercoat instead of a primer to stop the oak grain being filled. The satin nickel knobs are from Belgium. The knives, a gift to the client from us, were made from English steel with apple wood handles picked from the Burrow Hill Cider orchards in Somerset.
The lack of wall space for storage in the kitchen necessitated the architect to create a separate pantry for the storage of dry goods, cold drinks and wine, with a scullery opposite for crockery and glass storage and washing up.
To evoke an earlier era, the glass in the glazing of the pantry is hand drawn and the oak is hand finished to a deeper, richer colour than the island.
The unique design approach taken for this kitchen complements the architecture and delivers a striking kitchen unlike any other. The colour scheme was chosen by the client and the interior designers, Todhunter Earle, to compliment the garden outside during the day. The introduction of lighting into the island by John Cullen Lighting adds a further dimension to the space at night.
It is our commitment to detailing that contributes to the feeling of luxury in this kitchen and is an expression of our belief in useful beauty. Note how the marble shelves in the scullery line up precisely with the timber glazing bars. Carrara marble forms not only the pantry shelves but also lines the pantry walls and the backs of the glazed cupboards in the scullery. This is not only a beautiful feature but a practical one (Carrara marble was the marble of choice in Georgian and Edwardian houses and our study on its use in English country houses can be read here).