What con­sti­tutes the per­fect

Real Homes - - Home Life -

en­ter­tain­ing space? For us, it’s an in­stant men­tal check­list: large ta­ble, kitchen is­land, in­door-out­door link, plenty of room. Es­sen­tially, it’s Tam­sin and James Gor­don’s gor­geous in­dus­trial kitchen. As a chef, Tam­sin wanted some­where to pre­pare, cook and serve food to her friends and fam­ily – some­thing her small ex­ist­ing kitchen couldn’t of­fer. To­gether with a trusted ar­chi­tect, she and James cre­ated a dream space that would play host to long din­ner par­ties and mem­o­rable Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions, as well as in­spire her to start her own cater­ing busi­ness. Here, she talks us through how she cre­ated her ideal kitchen.

1 The vi­sion

‘Our Vic­to­rian ter­race orig­i­nally had a hor­ri­ble, con­ser­va­tory-style ex­ten­sion that had been tacked on to the back of the house,’ Tam­sin says. ‘It was nar­row and com­pletely in­ef­fi­cient. Be­cause it was made en­tirely out of glass, it was too hot in the sum­mer and too cold in the win­ter – so cold that our olive oil kept turn­ing solid!

‘I’d al­ways wanted a beau­ti­ful kitchen. As a pro­fes­sional chef, I love food and try­ing out new recipes. I wanted a room with plenty of prep space and stor­age as well as an is­land, which works so well for en­ter­tain­ing. We de­cided to ex­tend into the side re­turn to make the most of the space and to cre­ate a func­tional, bright and airy kitchen-diner that would al­low me to work from home.’

2 Find­ing an ar­chi­tect

‘We worked with a lo­cal Peck­ham ar­chi­tect, David Hingamp, who had al­ready in­stalled a bath­room for us. We in­stantly hit it off – we def­i­nitely share a vi­sion. While work was still on­go­ing on our bath­room, we de­cided to bite the bul­let and do the kitchen ex­ten­sion as well.

‘We came up with plans and dis­cussed ev­ery­thing over large quan­ti­ties of wine, sit­ting around our ta­ble and pour­ing over a mood­board James and I had cre­ated. David got so ex­cited about the ideas that we ended up talk­ing well into the evening. We knew he wouldn’t force us into any­thing and he was flex­i­ble about our re­quire­ments – like our de­ci­sion to in­cor­po­rate an ex­posed brick wall into the de­sign, for ex­am­ple.’

3 The build

‘We ap­plied for plan­ning per­mis­sion, but it was ini­tially re­fused be­cause the ex­ten­sion went up to the bound­ary on both sides of the plot. We ap­pealed and won, but the process set us back six months and cost money – we had to pay for so­lic­i­tors and sur­vey­ors.

‘For our bud­get, we had no con­tin­gency, so we had to make sac­ri­fices and com­pro­mises when nec­es­sary. In­stead of the higher-grade ovens we wanted, we opted for John Lewis mod­els. We loved the idea of a poured con­crete floor, but it was too ex­pen­sive. In­stead, David sug­gested seal­ing a self-lev­el­ling com­pound to cre­ate a sim­i­lar ef­fect. We weren’t sure it would be durable enough, but it’s ac­tu­ally very hard­wear­ing and it’s still go­ing strong to­day.’

4 De­sign de­tails

‘We had white Ikea units cut and fit­ted by our builders, and we in­cor­po­rated Co­rian sur­faces into the de­sign. We wove our dream ma­te­rial, con­crete, into the de­sign through the is­land work­top. The rest of the is­land is Ikea units, which we cov­ered with raw steel from a metal dealer and then sprayed with a salt water so­lu­tion to help them rust. We im­me­di­ately thought, “What have we done?” but as it’s aged, it’s de­vel­oped a lovely patina.

‘We were keen on hav­ing slim­framed slid­ing doors so we could en­joy the view of the gar­den. We wanted to use as much of what we al­ready had as pos­si­ble. I re­fused to throw out the fridge we’d just bought, so the builders built be­spoke curved cab­i­nets around it that are a beau­ti­ful vis­ual fea­ture.’

5 Liv­ing in the space

‘We love en­ter­tain­ing here – it’s a great party space. We fill the whole of the is­land with ice buck­ets, lots of wine and food. It’s re­ally well set up for en­ter­tain­ing as a chef, too – I can squir­rel away the things I’m work­ing on at the back of the kitchen, where the white units and work­top are, while the guests stand on the other side of the is­land so they’re not un­der­foot.

‘For our first Christ­mas with the new kitchen, we had our friends round, along with all of our par­ents, and ex­tended the ta­ble out for a to­tal feast. An­other time, we had our friends over from Aus­tralia and set up a bar­be­cue in the gar­den with the doors wide open. I’ll never for­get the sight of the men bar­be­cu­ing prawns in the freez­ing cold.’

Chairs, Ikea. Sheep­skincov­ers, John Lewis.Pen­dant lights, Jim Lawrence. Red cab­i­net,Ge­of­frey Dray­ton. For a sim­i­lar ta­ble, try Oak Fur­ni­ture­land. For sim­i­larslid­ing doors, try Velfac The din­ing ta­ble is the cou­ple’s main en­ter­tain­ing space. Ex­tended, it can seat more than 10 peo­ple – per­fect for a Christ­mas din­ner party.

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