44 Civic glory

Don’t ne­glect the most im­por­tant room in the house–nep­tune can make it beau­ti­ful

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

By stages through the 18th and 19th cen­turies, Liver­pool brought into be­ing its town hall, per­haps the great­est Ge­or­gian civic build­ing in Bri­tain, as Steven Brindle ex­plains

THE best kitchens don't just loo k beau­ti­ful, they be­have beau­ti­fully, too. They un­der­stand ex­actly what we need fromthem­tomake o ur days eas­ier. So much more than a place to cook, our kitchens are a place to sto re things sen­si­bly, tod ine with fam­ily and friends and to lov­ingly dec­o­rate with the things that bring us jo y ev­ery sin­gle day.

Cook, but clev­erly

If yo u have a kitchen is­land, make the ab­so­lute most o f t.i Of­ten, we spend just as much time pre­par­ing food as we do coo king it, so coax your­self away from the stove and chop in the heart of your kitchen. The same can be said fo r clear­ing up. Opt­ing fo r a pow­er­ful hand-rinse tap makes no n-dish­washer safe crock­ery quicker to clean. This wo rks even bet­ter when yo u build the sink into yo ur is­land, but o nthe side that’s clos­est to your cooker to min­imise move­ment. It means that when yo u’re en­ter­tain­ing o r have chil­dren sit­ting at the tabledo in­ghome­work, youcom­mu­ni­cate face to face, rather than with your back to them. It’s a perfect ex­am­ple o f‘ kitchen zon­ing’— a prac­tice that gives yo ur kitchen rigour, but in a way that feels like seco nd na­ture.

Thought­fully made cab­i­netry

Be­fore we con­tem­plate types, the first bit of ad­vice is to al­ways choose cab­i­nets that are ex­pertly crafted us­ing the high­est-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als—your kitchen will thank you for it. Not only is it built to last, but well-made cab­i­netry tends to have been well-thought out too. You’ll find much more choice, with many a secret trick, such as a lit­tle drawer within a bin cabi­net for stor­ing lin­ers, racks in­side cup­board doors that are de­signed to fit the tallest of bot­tles, and ad­justable shelv­ing that fits in with you, not the other way around (check out Nep­tune's zigzag shelv­ing).

On the sub­ject of cab­i­netry, try to not be blinded by cup­boards; tiered draw­ers are perfect for pans, slim slots can be built in for bread­boards, break­fast trays and tea tow­els, and shelv­ing is a lovely al­ter­na­tive for ar­rang­ing glass­ware. So mix things up and in­clude a lit­tle of ev­ery­thing—you’ll find your kitchen a mil­lion times eas­ier to live in.

Store wisely

A kitchen is the room that, quite pos­si­bly, of­fers us the most at­trac­tive of stor­age op­tions. The dresser and the larder, for

ex­am­ple, hark back to times gone by. Novel no­tions aside, they also put on the most su­perb per­for­mance. Dressers are a home to cut­lery, crock­ery and ta­ble linen, be it dayto-day essen­tials or oc­ca­sional pieces, and are al­most pieces of art in them­selves. Larders are calm­ingly quiet realms where ev­ery­thing has its proper place, help­ing to curb the habit of the oc­ca­sional tin or spice pot roam­ing into the wrong cup­board.

Never un­der­es­ti­mate shelv­ing. You could even leave an en­tire run of cup­boards open-faced as an un­con­ven­tional take on the dresser. Like­wise, a rail of peg hooks are ideal for hang­ing mugs and uten­sils, with the shelf space above used for cook­books or fresh herbs.

A place to perch

A kitchen with­out some­where to sit and eat is a kitchen that hasn't reached its full po­ten­tial. The din­ing room still has a def­i­nite place in our homes, but it’s the kitchen ta­ble that gets the most use. The ideal is an ex­tend­able ta­ble that waits in the wings for week­day break­fasts and fam­ily sup­pers, but springs to­life when a large group of friends de­scend for the week­end.

If space is lim­ited, a cou­ple of bar stools at a kitchen is­land pro­vide a perch to en­joy re­laxed meals or tea and bis­cuits. We al­ways sug­gest po­si­tion­ing the dish­washer close to your eat­ing area, too, to make your jour­neys to it shorter and less fre­quent.

Start styling

With all this in place, your kitchen will al­ready be a plea­sure to look at, but re­mem­ber to treat it as any other room when it comes to dec­o­ra­tive touches. Art­work is fab­u­lous in a kitchen, as are lamps, plants, vases and can­dles. A wicker bas­ket, what­ever its shape and size, will add in­ter­est and beau­ti­ful crock­ery some­how al­ways takes a meal from de­li­cious to de­lec­ta­ble.

Dis­cover Nep­tune’s crafts­man-made kitchens at nep­tune.co­mand, for a lim­ited time only, re­ceive a free sink base cabi­net when you spend more than £8,00 0 on any of its four kitchen fam­i­lies. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact us at nep­tune.com

Nep­tunewill shape any kitchen to its fam­ily’s needs, with hand-crafted and be­spoke cab­i­netry that brings a roomto life. Suf­folk kitchen, from£10,000

Above: Nep­tune’s Chich­ester kitchen, from £8,000. Left: Suf­folk chop­ping block, from £895. Be­low left: Ashcroft tray, from £38, and Bowsley table­ware, from £8. Be­low right: Har­ro­gate din­ing ta­ble, from £895, and Har­ro­gate chairs, from £220. Above right: Chich­ester 5ft open-rack dresser, from £2,165

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