A glo­ri­ous evo­lu­tion

Nep­tune’s solid-oak Hen­ley kitchen has been trans­formed, tak­ing the best of the old and the most ex­cit­ing of the new

Country Life Every Week - - My Favourite Painting John Burningham -

This spring, Bri­tish in­te­ri­ors brand Nep­tune un­veiled its muchan­tic­i­pated hen­ley kitchen col­lec­tion. Those who know Nep­tune and its time­less de­signs will be aware that hen­ley has been one of its long­est stand­ing, most re­gal col­lec­tions, crafted from solid oak. As a kitchen, it dis­played a grand kind of el­e­gance, it worked won­der­fully in coun­try-style homes and it was, with­out a doubt, a clas­sic.

The same is very much true for the ‘new look’ hen­ley, but Nep­tune’s de­sign team has broad­ened its hori­zons by quite a stretch. Those who aren’t fa­mil­iar with Nep­tune, and in­deed hen­ley, couldn’t wish for a bet­ter in­tro­duc­tion to the Wilt­shire-based com­pany.

On the sur­face, hen­ley has evolved into some­thing bold and dar­ing. it has an edge to it that feels of the now, but not so con­tem­po­rary that it feels with­out her­itage. Nep­tune is al­ways very clever at push­ing the de­sign bound­aries to in­no­vate and to re­main cur­rent (or in­deed to be fu­ture gaz­ers) in a way that still feels like Nep­tune.

The solid-oak cab­i­netry is still a huge part of its char­ac­ter, but by in­tro­duc­ing painted op­tions (the stan­dard colour for hen­ley is snow) in tulip­wood, the whole aes­thetic changes pace. it be­comes much more dy­namic. Black-bronze han­dles, knobs, hinges and catches pair per­fectly with Nep­tune’s lat­est ad­di­tion to its range of work­tops; the Dek­ton sur­face is a new-gen­er­a­tion ma­te­rial in a sul­try matte black shade that’s in­cred­i­bly ro­bust. The new hen­ley, it seems, thrives on con­trast.

But what about be­hind the scenes? hen­ley has un­der­gone more than 1,000 up­dates to bring it to where it is now. some are re­con­fig­u­ra­tions and im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing cab­i­netry. John sims-hilditch, co-founder of Nep­tune, ex­plains: ‘hen­ley was the se­cond kitchen that we ever de­signed. We’ve learnt a lot since then and wanted to use that knowl­edge and ap­ply all of those life lessons to it, so we re­built it, en­tirely.’

Run­ning through some of the most no­table up­dates, he adds: ‘Take the pan draw­ers, for ex­am­ple, one of the most-loved cab­i­nets in the col­lec­tion. We’ve cre­ated an or­gan­i­sa­tional in­ner drawer that op­er­ates us­ing a pushto-open mech­a­nism and, in­side, it has re­mov­able Black-bronze di­vid­ing prisms to help keep ev­ery­thing in or­der. The base drawer has also been up­graded to in­clude Black-bronze rods to stop any pans from scuff­ing the tim­ber. They look re­ally smart, too.’

some of the changes are en­tirely new con­cepts that have only re­cently been brought to life. There are a to­tal of 12, from the broom cup­board to never-be­fore-seen larder cab­i­nets. hen­ley hasn’t just been

‘Nep­tune is al­ways very clever at push­ing the de­sign bound­aries

re-en­gi­neered—it’s been re­de­fined and re-en­er­gised.

The new hen­ley is in place in al­most all of Nep­tune's stores, in­clud­ing the new ar­rivals in Wim­ble­don and hove. The evo­lu­tion is im­mense. As John sims-hilditch puts it, quite sim­ply: ‘it’s hen­ley, ex­cept, it isn’t.’

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