Country Homes & Interiors - - MODERN COUNTRY -

Chic cab­i­netry, co­pi­ous food stor­age and a so­cia­ble bar – this is a kitchen to die for

Fit­ting a kitchen in a pre­vi­ous house gave Nicci a clear vi­sion of what she wanted in her new home – and it was a long way from the dark, shiny, mas­cu­line de­sign the de­vel­oper had in­stalled. ‘It was a qual­ity kitchen but not my style and the lay­out didn’t work,’ she says.

Nicci worked with de­signer Andy Mur­phie of Fold4 and con­trac­tor Owain Davies of Joyner & Ma­son to re­model parts of the house, which in­cluded low­er­ing the ceil­ing in the kitchen area of the open-plan room to make the space feel cosier. For the cab­i­netry she chose Mark Wilkin­son Fur­ni­ture and her first chal­lenge for the com­pany’s de­signer Si­mon Ho­sein was re­quest­ing that the Aga be set into the is­land so she could face the room when cook­ing. ‘It’s not usu­ally done,’ says Nicci, ‘so I went to a show­room to see a room-vent Aga at work. One of the is­sues is cook­ing smells but stan­dard ovens vent into the room and, any­way, a lit­tle bit of cook­ing smell is nice.’

The new low­ered ceil­ing also made it pos­si­ble to have a flush-fit­ting ceil­ing ex­trac­tor di­rectly above the Aga, and Nicci and Si­mon spent nearly a year fi­nal­is­ing the cab­i­netry. The new lay­out has a com­pact U-shaped work­ing area with the Aga, fridge and sink set in a clas­sic work tri­an­gle. The strik­ing fo­cal point of the room is an oak ar­moire-style cup­board that houses the fridge and freezer – in­spired by a piece of fur­ni­ture

Nicci had in a pre­vi­ous home in France. She feels that ev­ery drawer and cup­board in her new kitchen is in the per­fect place and tai­lor-made for its con­tents. ‘I hon­estly think I have four times the us­able space now,’ she says.

Colour proved to be a dilemma. ‘I had al­ways wanted pale green but we tried at least 12 shades and not one of them worked with the light in this room,’ says Nicci. The so­lu­tion was to colour-match to an ex­ist­ing piece of fur­ni­ture, re­sult­ing in a soft stone shade. The paint­ing was done in situ, al­low­ing for a late change to the is­land colour, with a stand-out brick red be­com­ing a sub­tle grey.

‘I had never re­alised be­fore how im­por­tant the feel of the ma­te­ri­als and the en­ergy of a space would be to me,’ says Nicci. ‘This kitchen is ev­ery­thing I wanted: it’s nat­u­ral, it’s tac­tile and it’s warm.’

The joy of be­spoke is in the de­tail, such as the long, nar­row shelf along the back wall cre­ated to dis­play the cou­ple’s collection of minia­ture porce­lain Dutch houses.

A large is­land with seat­ing on one side and a cook’s work sta­tion on the other is key to the lay­out.

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