25 Beautiful Homes
SPACE TO GROW
By future-proofing their open-plan kitchen, Mairead and Ben Wright have created a stunning space that works well for family life
Mairead and Ben Wright didn’t have far to move when a detached Victorian house came up for sale on their road in Bishop’s Stortford. ‘The house came up by chance and it’s the third one we’ve renovated on our road,’ says Mairead. Initially two houses and then a boarding school for 100 years, it’s now a nine-bedroom family home for the couple and their children, Finn, 12, Isobel, 10, Archie, eight, and Lola, six.
As the house had been split into flats, there were three dated kitchens. The back of the house was opened up and a larger kitchen-diner with seating area was built. ‘We wanted a spaced out design and you can’t really achieve this with an off-the-shelf kitchen,’ says Mairead. ‘A walk-in pantry, for example, or a chimney breast in an awkward place requires a bespoke finish to make it work as efficiently as it can.’
After much research, the couple chose bespoke cabinetry from Herringbone Kitchens (herringbonekitchens.com). Luckily their taste married well with the era of the house, so choosing colour palettes and appliances was more of a joy than a chore.
‘As the space is so large and heavily windowed, the black kitchen units don’t overpower the space, and it contrasts well with the light Dekton worktop,’ says Mairead.
Long bar pulls in a beautiful satin brass finish were matched with complementary door hinges, as well as brass plug sockets and a brass plated Quooker boiling water tap. With its quiet built-in extractor, the striking Bora hob works equally well for family cooking or entertaining friends. A counter-top unit with reeded glass doors and three painted shelves houses the family’s impressive collection of glasses.
As an interior designer who runs a children’s interiors and clothing brand (wildheartswonder.com), Mairead was keen to add some personal touches. ‘We’ve since had tongueand-groove walls put up which look great,’ she says. ‘And the lighting was really important, especially my lovely Parisian hanging street lamps that showcase the high ceilings.’
Despite the discovery of asbestos setting the project back by weeks, the kitchen was completed just before lockdown.
‘By future-proofing the design, the space should work well as the children grow up,’ says Mairead. ‘We’ve added extra appliances to make entertaining and daily life with a large family easier, so we have two dishwashers, two fridges and plenty of storage.’ Her favourite additions, though, are the coffee machine and boiling tap. ‘They’re in constant use,’ she adds. ‘I can’t function without them.’