Cup­board love

Han­dles are the se­cret to a kitchen with pulling power

Country Life Every Week - - Interiors | The Inside Track - Giles Kime

THE great­est chal­lenge in choos­ing a kitchen is not just the upheaval, but also the agony of in­de­ci­sion it can cre­ate. Con­tem­po­rary or clas­sic? Is­land or penin­sula? Gran­ite or wood? Painted or un­painted? And, if it’s the lat­ter, which of the 132 colours on the chart?

The most im­pres­sive kitchens are those that ex­ude a con­fi­dent air that sug­gests there was never a flicker of in­de­ci­sion in the en­tire de­sign process. For the de­signer, this is a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment; Richard Rogers and Nor­man Foster might have been gar­landed for their ex­haus­tive ex­plo­ration of the pos­si­bil­i­ties of steel and glass, but al­most as im­pres­sive is the trans­for­ma­tion of an awk­ward 300sqft space into a dream kitchen for an anx­ious, in­de­ci­sive cou­ple.

In­creas­ingly, the em­pha­sis of the swankier brands is less on the in­tegrity of a de­sign (which is a given at such dizzy heights) and more on de­tails that dis­tin­guish them from the rest: book-matched mar­ble that’s been cut to cre­ate per­fect sym­me­try be­tween ad­join­ing pieces, splash­backs made from tiles that wouldn’t be out of place in the V&A, cooker hoods fash­ioned from copper or nickel.

A sign of the grow­ing im­por­tance that me­tal­work plays in kitchens is the fact that Devol, the Le­ices­ter­shire kitchen man­u­fac­turer, has taken on a full-time met­al­smith, Stephanie O’leary, who boasts a First Class hon­ours de­gree in Jewellery and Accessories from Mid­dle­sex Univer­sity.

To cre­ate Devol’s new col­lec­tion of han­dles, she ex­per­i­mented with copper and brass al­loys and a va­ri­ety of tech­niques to cre­ate a new range of han­dles in a choice of seven fin­ishes that are sand­cast in the com­pany’s metal work­shops. Metal han­dles (and cooker hoods) are one of the fea­tures of Christo­pher Pea­cock’s beau­ti­ful kitchens. Per­haps the most dis­tinc­tive are latch-style han­dles rem­i­nis­cent of the large, tac­tile de­signs that were a fea­ture of 1950s re­frig­er­a­tors. If you al­ready have a kitchen, there’s still an op­por­tu­nity to up­grade: along with new work sur­faces and a coat of paint, han­dles also of­fer an op­por­tu­nity to give a nip and tuck to ex­ist­ing kitchens. Two great sources are Turn­style de­signs (020–3489 1040, www.turn­styledesigns.com) and Haute Déco (020–7736 7171).

Above and left: Devol’s han­dles (01509 261000, www.de­volk­itchens. co.uk) and Christo­pher Pea­cock’s latch-style han­dles (020–7100 4423, pea­cock home.com)

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