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Clever Kitchen Storage Ideas in a Victorian House

Thoughtfully designed units keep everything from wine and laundry to coats and iPads out of sight yet easy to find

Here’s a challenge: how do you create a kitchen that accommodates everything a busy family needs, yet still feels light and airy? “I wanted everything hidden away, especially all the utility stuff,” says Lou Edwards, who lives here with her husband and three young children.

Step forward Hannah Morris of Ian Dunn Woodwork & Design, who took on the challenge. Here, they both share the thinking behind the kitchen-diner’s design.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here Lou Edwards with her husband and three young children
Location East Dulwich, south London
Property A Victorian terrace with five bedrooms and two bathrooms
Kitchen dimensions Around 4.5 x 4.8m at the widest points
Designer Hannah Morris of Ian Dunn Woodwork & Design

The extension on Lou’s Victorian home is an unusual shape – the back wall is stepped, so both sides align with the neighbours’ extensions. It could have made the layout awkward, but in fact it helped designer Hannah Morris to neatly divide the kitchen into zones.

The sink and appliances run along the left, a bank of cupboards on the right takes care of storage, and the space by the sliding doors forms a dining area.

Lou decided against creating a lounging spot near the garden. “I was very clear I wanted this space to be for eating and dining. It’s become the most well-used area,” she says.

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Because Lou approached Ian Dunn before the architect’s extension plans were finalised, they could work together to make the most of the space.

The architect had originally planned a range cooker in the island, but because there’s a steel in the ceiling above it, it would have been tricky to fit an extractor fan. “It meant there was an awkward positioning of where the range cooker could be,” Hannah says.

The solution was to forgo the range and opt instead for two neat ovens – a single oven and a combi steam one – with a warming drawer beneath, and an induction hob with an integrated extractor.

Ovens, Miele. Upholstered stool, Rye & Moor.

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The discreet hob extractor pulls in cooking fumes, which are then ducted under the floor to the outside. It keeps the view across the room clear for a spacious feel.

Bora Basic flexzone integrated induction hob/extractor, Bora.
Units painted in Squid Ink, Paint & Paper Library. Worktop, Silestone.

Before Photo

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This ‘before’ photo of the kitchen shows how next door’s extension made the sink area dark and the view less than lovely.

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Blocking up the window has made the space along this wall much more usable. Oak shelves above the sink give an open feel and introduce colour in the form of cookery books and crockery.

“We did originally play around with having wall cabinets above the sink, but it was just going to make it too blocky,” Hannah says.

There’s a dishwasher to the right of the sink and a bin to the left.

Olympus SilkSteel tap, Franke.

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A little seat at the end of the run of units creates a spot to stop and take in the garden through the floor-to-ceiling window. “We do use it,” Lou says. “Someone can perch here while you’re working away. It’s nice.”

A drawer underneath makes it multi-purpose. “It’s one of those catch-all drawers,” Lou adds. “I purposely planned it not to be ongoing storage, but somewhere to tuck bits left on the table when I need to clear up quickly.”

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A huge fridge-freezer was a must-have for the family. The slim cupboard to its left serves a purpose beyond food storage.

“It’s quite useful to have it there, because the way those really big fridges are hinged, you need quite a lot of space,” Hannah explains. “If the fridge had been butted up to the wall, it wouldn’t have opened properly.”

Fridge-freezer, Fisher & Paykel.

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The units on the left hide masses of storage. “We really wanted the utility stuff to be hidden away, so this run of cupboards is the piece I love most about the kitchen,” Lou says. “I have a lot of space behind closed doors.”

She worked closely with Hannah’s team, who came up with numerous storage ideas.

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The pantry unit, which mirrors the fridge-freezer on the opposite wall, has a drinks station, meaning anyone can grab a coffee without disturbing the cook. As with all the cupboards and drawers, it’s lined in solid American white oak.

The unit is open more often than not, as Lou is “in and out of those shelves all the time”, so the hideaway doors are a godsend. “We suggested pocket doors on here so they could be stored neatly out of the way,” Hannah says. “Hinged doors would have really encroached on the walkway.”

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The slim cupboard to the right contains food storage drawers. “Because you can pull them out individually, they hold a lot of weight,” Hannah explains. “Pull-out larders where the whole rack is attached to the door can sometimes be cumbersome to open.” The drawers have glass fronts, so it’s easy to see the contents.

The shelves above are perfect for wine. “We did considered a sunken wine cellar,” Lou says, “but we have plenty of space and I tend to find the wine doesn’t stay in there long enough to warrant having a separate cellar!”

Space Tower, Blum.

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The tumble dryer and washing machine are stacked neatly behind one of the doors. “The section between them pulls out, so when you’re taking clothes out of the dryer, you can rest them on there,” Hannah says.

Within the run, there’s also a slot for an ironing board and a drying rack, plus lots of hooks for hanging things up, so all the laundry can be dealt with in one area.

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This run of units had to serve the hall, too, so the first cupboard has space for coats and general outerwear, plus a drawer each for Lou and her husband’s shoes.

“The kids have a basket each in the hall for their shoes, but because our stuff isn’t in there anymore, it’s really freed up the space, which is lovely,” Lou says.

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There’s also a “charging zone” in the coat cupboard to keep all wires and devices neatly out of sight. “The team created some handy holders that keep our laptops and phones upright, so it’s a really good use of space,” Lou says.

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The family have had the table and benches in the dining area for years. The table extends to accommodate plenty of guests. “We do entertain a lot,” Lou says. “Most weekends we have friends over, another reason we didn’t want a lounging area here. Being able to open the doors so everyone can go out onto the terrace is really nice.”

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Lou painted the bench legs. It was initially an experiment, but she likes the result and is aiming to do the table legs at some point, too.

The flooring is oak, with underfloor heating for cooler weather.

The room at the back of the kitchen is a playroom with a TV and sofa, so the children can be nearby when Lou and her husband are cooking.

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The clever yet unfussy design means this kitchen accommodates a lot of stuff in the most efficient way. “The whole space works really well,” Lou says, “and I’m not about to run out of storage space anytime soon.”

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The floorplan shows how the end of the run of storage units (at the bottom) aligns neatly with the end of the appliance unit opposite, and the fridge-freezer mirrors the larder.

Tell us…
What do you think of this storage-packed kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

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