A ram­bling farm­house now » boasts a dream kitchen

Country Homes & Interiors - - THE HOME OF MODERN COUNTRY -

For a ram­bling farm­house with five bed­rooms, the orig­i­nal kitchen in Carmel and Gra­ham Botwright’s home was sur­pris­ingly pokey. ‘We bought the house for its tra­di­tional coun­try char­ac­ter and its large, bright rooms, a com­bi­na­tion that doesn’t of­ten go hand in hand,’ says Carmel. ‘The tiny, dark kitchen, how­ever, let the house down. To get round that, we de­cided to build an ex­ten­sion and turn the old kitchen into a bar area and util­ity room.’

Vale Gar­den Houses cre­ated the gen­er­ous rec­tan­gu­lar ex­ten­sion, with glazed roof apex and a tra­di­tional brick ex­te­rior to com­ple­ment the orig­i­nal farm­house. For the kitchen, Carmel wanted a sim­i­larly sym­pa­thetic de­sign in a clas­sic style that would still look fresh in 20 years’ time. Af­ter speak­ing with sev­eral com­pa­nies, she de­cided to go with Martin Moore for its top-qual­ity tra­di­tional cab­i­netry that wasn’t too for­mal in feel. ‘Be­sides the com­pany’s kitchen lay­outs, I also ap­pre­ci­ated its de­signer Toby Patch’s spa­tial de­sign ad­vice. He came up with some great ideas, such as moving the back door, which helped us to achieve a much bet­ter kitchen space,’ says Carmel. South African-born Carmel de­scribes her­self as a ‘bit of a light junky’, so her main pri­or­ity was to es­tab­lish a pale colour scheme that would work with the heav­ily glazed room to cre­ate a sun-filled liv­ing space. ‘I didn’t go for pure white, which can be too ster­ile, but every­thing ex­cept the outer gran­ite work­tops is in of­fwhites and palest greens,’ says Carmel. The cou­ple also had a sub­stan­tial Wolf range cooker and Sub-zero fridge­freezer on their wish­list. Both were ap­pli­ances they had learned to ap­pre­ci­ate while liv­ing in New York. ‘Of the two of us, Gra­ham is the bet­ter chef, although I try to keep up,’ Carmel says. ‘He tends to do the im­pres­sive en­ter­tain­ing, so he wanted all the gad­gets.’

Carmel’s vi­sion for the kitchen is­land was to achieve a large, clean sur­face, where she could re­ally spread out when bak­ing with­out sinks or hobs get­ting in the way. With seat­ing on two sides, per­fect for guests, the is­land is also a highly so­cia­ble fea­ture. ‘We en­joy chat­ting to friends while we cook and we usu­ally end up eat­ing at the is­land, too,’ says Carmel. ‘In fact, I of­ten joke that we live in the kitchen now. If we just had a ham­mock to sleep in, we could rent out the rest of the house!’

Carmel and Gra­ham were in­vited to visit the work­top sup­plier with de­signer Toby and chose the stone slab that was then carved for the is­land unit.

An­cient oak beams frame the link between the old and new kitchens. The book­case is in the for­mer door­way to the gar­den.

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