Homes & Gardens
DREAM KITCHEN Vintage accessories echo the owners’ bohemian style
THE OWNERS OF THIS COOK SPACE WANTED IT TO EXCITE – CHARACTERFUL CUSTOM FINISHES AND VINTAGE PIECES DELIVER JUST THAT
DESIGNERS Jack Trench, director of Jack Trench, and interior designer Rachel Chudley.
THE PROPERTY A five-bedroom, Victorian villa in north London.
DESIGN BRIEF Home to a young creative family who cook and entertain with equal enthusiasm, the focus of this kitchen was on connecting joyful colours and finishes that uplift and excite.
DIMENSIONS 4.2x3.5m (excluding dining)
A crucial element of the layout was the room’s south-facing aspect. ‘As you enter from the lobby you are greeted with an unimpeded view of the garden through Crittall doors,’ says Jack. ‘The positioning of the island was slightly offset to bring a glimpse of exotic marble into that vista, without obstructing the flow.’ With the length of the room dedicated to a long banquet-ready dining table, the kitchen required meticulous spatial planning. ‘The two pantry cupboards, side-by-side, play a vital role by taking care of small appliances, spice racks and food storage behind the scenes,’ says Jack.
Blocks of deep blue-black colour were provided by Richlite, a sustainable solid paper composite. ‘The owners wanted materials that would patina and become more characterful over time and with use,’ says Jack. ‘Richlite is incredibly durable – it was first developed for the industrial tooling industry more than 70 years ago – but it also develops a deep natural patina and signature mottled surface as it ages.’ The remaining cabinetry is made of rare European Brown Oak, which is normal oak infected by a fungus that imparts distinct, warm tones. ‘We never artificially stain our woods, as we prefer to finish with clear oils that enhance the natural colouring,’ says Jack.
For the same reason he avoids wood stain, Jack prefers to leave brass in its natural hues. Raw unlacquered brass makes a dynamic feature on handles and splashback. ‘You can’t beat the colours of nature,’ he says, adding that unlacquered brass can always be polished back to a brilliant shine. ‘Whereas if a lacquered finish on brass is damaged there is little that can be done to repair it,’ he adds.
The island was clad on three sides in Fior Di Pesco, a beautiful grey-to-lilac marble quarried in Italy. Chosen to complement the blue Richlite and pink elements in artwork and soft furnishings, it took eight months to source the ideal slabs. Book-matching down the sides was an early design decision to achieve a glamorous focal point at the entrance to the room. ‘Marble selection is very often a labour of love. It takes time to track down the exact colour, size and suitability for book-matching. Patience is key,’ says Jack.
The geometric flooring was an idea by Rachel to inject personality and meaning into the kitchen. Crisp shapes were created using brass inlaid on patinated concrete. ‘We approached the floor like a huge, abstract work of art, with shapes taken from a map of America’s Catskill Mountains, which the owners love to visit,’ she says. Alongside carefully chosen artwork, vintage lighting and custom textiles, the flooring beautifully echoes the owners’ bohemian sense of style.