In­te­rior de­sign

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Join Giles Kime to find out what lead­ing fig­ures in the de­sign world have learnt from their he­roes

There’s some­thing unashamedly whole­some and re­as­sur­ingly solid about the work that goes into a Plain english kitchen. Words such as ‘honed’, ‘jointed’, ‘waxed’ and ‘ham­mered’ are used to de­scribe the labour­ing that takes place by hand at the com­pany’s home at stowu­p­land hall, a Grade Iilisted Ge­or­gian house set deep in the suf­folk coun­try­side.

The com­pany was es­tab­lished in 1992 by Katie Fon­tana when she couldn’t find a plain enough cup­board fin­ish for her own kitchen. With an eye on the sim­plic­ity of early-ge­or­gian join­ery, she and her busi­ness part­ner, Tony Ni­block, pro­duced their first de­sign, ‘the long-house kitchen’. Twen­ty­five years later, the found­ing tenets re­main strong: noth­ing pro­duced is off-the-shelf and ev­ery piece is cus­tom made with the prom­ise that all the cab­i­netry will fit the space per­fectly.

This kitchen is in a Dorset farm­house that dates back to the 18th cen­tury. The own­ers have cho­sen the spi­tal­fields de­sign with Fol­gate doors—evoca­tive names from an area of Lon­don close to Katie’s heart.

Cen­tre stage is the Ge­or­gian pre­cur­sor to the kitchen is­land: a prepa­ra­tion ta­ble topped with wide-plank Pippy Oak and painted in Lit­tle Greene’s French Grey Pale 161. Fun­da­men­tal to this tra­di­tional de­sign, with its con­tem­po­rary and un­clut­tered fin­ish, is the wall of full-height num­bered cup­boards that dis­guise all man­ner of goods, ma­chin­ery and es­sen­tial stor­age, painted in Paint and Pa­per Li­brary’s Blue Blood, which con­trasts strongly with the rest of the cab­i­netry, which is in Lit­tle Greene’s French Grey 113.

One of the com­pany’s sig­na­ture ad­di­tions is the painted lad­der set on a run­ner—crit­i­cal for reach­ing the top row of stor­age cup­boards. Ara­bella Youens (www.plainenglishde­sign.co.uk; 01449 774028)

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