Last year I designed a Kitchen. Found a carpenter and made it. Designing furniture is in our family my Uncle being one of the most clever men in reproduction antique furniture you could hope to meet. I remember helping out at his workshop when I was a kid (Sweeping the floor and goggling at all the naked lady pictures his cabinet makers dressed the walls above their work benches with. My picture of Madonna – Like a Virgin was still hanging there long after I left! – This one here). So armed with an Arts and Crafts ethos of no detail is too small, some advice from Uncle on wood choices I sat down with pen and paper and started to draw. (This after an intense period of web based research).
I live in a flat and I’d lived with how traditional kitchens just don’t work in smaller spaces. They cramp and overpower their surroundings with their high cupboards and block colours. The kitchens themselves become the personality of the room rather than having more symbiotic relationship with the home environment. I don’t like the feel of a kitchen as a sterile white environment I wanted it to feel more like a part of our family, an extension of our bonded personality. In essence the kitchen had to look good when empty but had to come alive and look fantastic when it was in use. A hell of a lot of WANTS and a lot to ask of a kitchen perhaps…..
Practically because of the nature of the space I also needed to create a kitchen that would serve us well for our everyday life. We entertain a hell of a lot I it needed to be versatile enough to transit from family life to dinners with friends to larger parties.
After many scrunched up papers I decided I needed to create four pieces of furniture:
1. A Main Run consisting of dry food storage, everyday use kitchen paraphernalia, hob and sink.
2. Utilities Cupboard for the Oven, Steamer, Toaster and Washers and oven paraphernalia storage
3. Dry food larder
4. Island with Dinner service storage, veg drawer and little what-not drawers
The Island is key to the kitchens flexibility. For parties it moves to the side where the table is and becomes a bar. The table moves to the garden and the hanging lights are hooked up so we can boogie on the the stripped floor. It hosts the main food prep area with a dedicated organic waste bin and also acts as the chat around unit when we have dinner guests.
The utilities cupboard holds the oven and has pull out trays with steamer and toaster. Underneath is the space for the dishwasher and a washing machine.
The main run is half Barraza custom stainless steel sink and hob and half secondary food prep area. Large drawers hold dishes, pots and pans as well as everyday dry foods. Pastas, rices, beans and breakfast cereals. The custom stainless steel run has three integrated hobs and a sink with a sliding cover to provide more workspace when needed. (Or to cover up dirty pots when unexpected guests arrive!)
Because of the furniture nature of the kitchen installation was only a day.
I learn’t a few lessons along the way namely:
1. Tell your carpenter to buy in the drawers backs rather than making them from solid wood. (They are far too heavy) Making the fronts is enough!
2. Research clever door hinges. The right hinge can create more internal space
3. Stainless steel may look warped but when glued down to wood will be fine
4. Make sure you use heat proof glue when creating splashbacks out of laminated
5. Painting matt finish kitchen doors with matt finish clear FLOOR varnish makes them wipe clean and virtually unmark-able!
Simons Kitchen – Suppliers Index:
Main Run Custom Stainless Steel Hob and SInk and Flamec Extractor all supplied by the brilliant guys at Euroline
Stools – By german designer Konstantin Grcic manfactured by Magis
Magis Table – Purchased from Geoffry Drayton
B&B Italia Luta Dining Chairs by Antonio Citterio
Historic Lighting Company – Drop lights, fabric cord, gunmetal factory shades
ADRS from North London did my carpentry – (I drafted the full spec)
Custom handles and Island Inset by Sams Fabrications
Franke Kettle Tap – Franke