The brief from our client was to create an authentic, historic Victorian kitchen that felt like a piece of the original house.
The kitchen would be a part of a new extension to the Queen Anne house. This extension would also house a dining room, which then led through to the family sitting room.
In the Victorian period, many houses were modernised to take into account advances in kitchen technology at the time. Around the United Kingdom, there are great examples of such buildings, hosting kitchens that were specifically designed to support the needs of a country home.
To enhance the impression that this kitchen was built in the Victorian period, we integrated as much furniture into the interior architecture as possible; such as, offsetting walls to form chimney recesses for the cooking range, with built-in furniture which mimicked joinery made by an estate joiner.
We drew ideas from Lanhydrock House, an excellent example of an older building with a Victorian refurbishment, where the domestic utility rooms were designed and made to exacting standards.
Of course, the coal-fired range at Queen Anne House had been superseded, so we sought an alternative that was aesthetically sympathetic and functionally capable. We found a perfect solution in a range from the Florentine firm, Officine Gullo. Often, we can disguise modern functions with accurate period features: one leg of the preparation table was hollowed out as a conduit for cables and isolation switches were hidden in a recess beside the range.
The floor is of reclaimed French limestone. The pair of dressers are of Siberian larch; the nearest modern equivalent to Deal. The cabinetry glass is hand drawn. The preparation table has two work surfaces – one of Carrara marble, one of tight-grained solid sycamore. All of its timber elements were subject to Artichoke’s specialist finish and their patina is historically accurate.
We went to the lengths of creating timber formers for the mantle frame surrounding the range cooker, which we then had cast by a foundry in the Midlands. Furthermore, the brass pull handles (which we believe to be unique to Lanhydrock) were accurately copied by us in boxwood and cast using the lost wax technique.
An intentional pastiche of Victorian domesticity that disguises the functional necessities of a modern family kitchen. The effect is to add an enduring narrative to the house.
A more in depth editorial feature on this kitchen by Country Life Magazine can be read here.