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An Elegant Dark Blue Shaker Kitchen in a Victorian House

A style sympathetic to the period of the house and a more open feel were the key requests for this kitchen revamp

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A stone floor with bits of tile missing and units that could be called functional, but not much else, left the owners of this East Sussex home uninspired. However, transforming the kitchen of their Victorian semi-detached house had to wait, as work needed to be completed on the floors above.

Once the other revamps were done, though, it was finally time to give the kitchen a look that lived up to the property’s architecture.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A couple and their three young children
Location Hove, East Sussex
Property A semi-detached Victorian house with four bedrooms and three bathrooms
Kitchen dimensions 6 x 3.5m
Designer Michael Rogers at Design Interiors, with furniture from Davonport

Photos by Darren Chung

The Victorian house had been extended previously, so designer Michael Rogers had space to create the new kitchen within the updated open layout. The challenge was to design a room sympathetic to the architecture of the house, yet with a contemporary, uncluttered feel.

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The open-plan cooking-dining-relaxing space used to open to the garden via bifold doors. “The owners never liked them and they didn’t have the right look for the house,” Michael says. He replaced them with more in-keeping French windows and sidelights with walls beneath.

The room’s width and the couple’s desire for an island dictated the layout. “Because the kitchen is open to the dining room and there’s a door from the hall at the other end, we decided not to put any units on the inner wall,” Michael says. “We had to get everything into the single run of wall space.”

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Working together, the designer and homeowners decided on a classic door style in a dark blue finish teamed with a light worksurface. Underfoot, limestone tiles were chosen for their attractive colouring and pleasing texture that help give the room warmth.

Michael had used metro tiles in his design for the couple’s bathroom, and they liked the brick pattern, so the style was repeated in the kitchen with a lighter grout than upstairs. To keep the room feeling open, there are no wall units, so there wasn’t a natural finishing point for the tiles. Instead, they’re used right up to ceiling height. “By tiling the whole wall, it became a feature, with the kitchen’s remaining walls kept plain,” Michael says.

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A butler sink was a worthy complement to the look of the cabinetry, and the tap has an antique brass finish that adds to the room’s menu of traditional ingredients. Handles and hinges throughout the kitchen are in similar warm metallic tones.

Sink, Villeroy & Boch.

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The worktop is a composite stone. “It has a nice vein pattern running through it and makes a colour contrast with the units,” Michael says.

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Michael added a shelf above the sink so the wall wasn’t left empty. A bold print and a few coloured glasses on display brighten the otherwise restrained palette of the room, and give it an unmistakably 21st century touch.

Pendant lights were hung above the island. They have an industrial aesthetic that works with the metro tiles and metal accents in the scheme.

Bar stools, The Conran Shop.

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A large range cooker is a standout feature of the kitchen. Above is a standard canopy extractor. “We made a housing for it that’s in keeping with the kitchen’s style,” Michael says.

Lacanche range cooker, Design Interiors.

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With young children using the kitchen, the couple wanted the boiling-water tap to be out of their way, so it was sited at the end of the worktop run.

Boiling-water tap, Quooker.

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Without wall cupboards in the room, it was necessary to create sufficient storage in other ways, and the couple liked the idea of a dresser. “It makes a connection between the kitchen and dining room areas,” Michael says. Positioned right by the dining table, it means all that’s needed for setting the table is immediately to hand.

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Internal lighting and glass shelves make the dresser a display space as well as a functional addition to the room. Behind the shelves, the back of the dresser is made from tongue-and-groove panelling that continues the room’s traditional elements. It’s used on the end of the run of units and beneath the breakfast bar, too.

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The kitchen-diner leads into a seating area, with furniture upholstered in tones that complement the kitchen cabinetry. Here, Michael constructed a false chimney breast to house the TV and a log store for the wood-burning stove that’s just to the right of the new feature (not seen).

Opposite the dresser is a larder cupboard built into the corner of the room. To its left is a door to the utility room. “It was a normal hinged door before, but the owners wanted it to disappear, so we put in a sliding pocket door,” Michael says.

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The larder cupboard combines shelves, drawers and door-hung racks to pack in generous storage for dried goods.

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The utility room behind the sliding door repeats the style of cabinetry, handles, sink and taps used in the main room. Only the worksurface is different, at the couple’s request. Here, English oak was used, continuing the period-inspired scheme.

Tell us…
What do you think of this combination of period and contemporary style? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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