In a large purpose built extension at the back of a beautiful 1930s ‘Arts & Crafts Revival’ (for want of a better description) house in a quiet London suburb. As designers working in real homes, in the real world (rather than glossy magazines), we like it when customers have definite ideas about what they want – even if it involves us in extra design work.
The family that own this house had really thought about their kitchen and its relationship to the room. From the outset it was decided that tops of cupboards were to be used for display and storage, drawing the eye into the complex open roof space with its abundance of light and air. Normally cornice is applied to the tops of wall cabinets but this restricts their use as shelving. So our standard pattern of wall cabinet was adapted so that a simple square section cornice could be fitted to the front.
One cupboard does reach up to the ceiling. We call the top section with its flap door a sweetie cupboard. Given the uniform level of the other wall cabinets it could seem a bit quirky but its presence is based on painstaking assessment of how much space the new kitchen needed in comparison with the old kitchen.
Below the sweetie cupboard there’s a double larder cupboard. We’re not keen on big wirework larder pull-outs – too heavy and too liable to break down (we’ve removed lots of them whilst stripping out old kitchens before fitting ours). Internal drawers with solid beech boxes, oak fronts and soft-close Blum runners work better and look better.
Often people are not keen on open shelves in kitchens – they’re anxious about clutter. But clutter in itself can be beautiful. Books, bowls, teapots – these things are not intrinsically ugly, far from it – so let’s see them. This special ‘double density’ shelf cabinet, with half depth dividers, allows two layers of storage or display. Notice the pale birch with its swirls of grain and the darker shelf edges, lipped with solid oak.