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Kitchen Tour: A Clever Layout Maximises Space in a Small Kitchen

Small really can be beautiful, as this kitchen that meets the demands of an at-home cooking business proves

Houzz UK contributor. Freelance interiors journalist with over 20 years’ experience… More

Functional, good-looking kitchens don’t need to take up acres of space to be efficient, as this design demonstrates. Not only does this cookspace need to work on a day-to-day basis for the owners of this converted, traditional hayloft, it has to meet the demands of their homespun jam and pickle business, too.

“The kitchen is in a small space, but bespoke solutions, such as the folding larder door and multi-functional butcher’s block, mean every millimetre is maximised,” says Jasper Middleton, design director of Sussex-based cabinet-maker Middleton Bespoke.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A couple with their dog and cat. The husband works in London and his wife runs jam and pickle company The Loft Pickles & Jams
Location West Sussex
Kitchen dimensions 2.5m x 3m; part of a converted stone-built hayloft with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
Designer Jasper Middleton, design director of Middleton Bespoke

The kitchen has always been located at the back of the converted hayloft, but the original design was busy, with an unimaginative use of space.

“The new design needed to be in keeping with the style, location and period of the property. It also had to be a clever, multi-functioning space with targeted storage for everything required in the couple’s jam-making business,” explains Jasper Middleton.

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Taking up just 2.5m x 3m, the entire kitchen is completely bespoke and handmade. “Each unit is made as a solid piece of traditional furniture, and designed to fit seamlessly without joins, fillers or plinths,” Middleton explains.

The cabinets are made from solid hardwood (tulipwood frames and an oak veneered centre panel) using traditional techniques and painted in a warm, contemporary grey. This is brought to life with raspberry on the patterned blinds and in the accessories.

The wall-hung plate rack and open shelving unit were sourced by the owners from an antiques market.

Dishwasher drawers, Fisher & Paykel. Cabinets painted in Elephant’s Breath, Farrow & Ball.

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Every last inch of room is used for maximum performance in this compact kitchen, including the slim but highly practical island unit, which measures just 1050mm x 490mm.

“The owners are professional chefs, specialising in jams and pickles. They wanted a dedicated workstation with all the necessary equipment, such as knives and pans, to be readily available when at the cooker,” Middleton says. “They also wanted a durable, honed black granite worktop here instead of oak.”

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As well as open shelving and racks for bowls and kitchen kit, the island incorporates three end drawers to stash cutlery, napkins and placemats. These are perfectly positioned for when the couple are setting up to eat in the adjacent dining room.

Old English pewter knobs and handles offset the Shaker-style doors.

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Original beams and a collection of pretty, vintage-style crockery add masses of character to this country-style kitchen. Solid English oak worktops and a traditional Belfast sink enhance the traditional ambience.

Sink, Villeroy & Boch. Tap, Perrin & Rowe.

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The cabinets are a traditional Shaker style, with bead and butt end panels, for a smart country look.

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Fitting neatly into the corner, a tall larder cupboard offers masses of storage space for dried ingredients.

“The Rangemaster oven was an existing appliance left by the previous owner when the house was sold,” says Middleton.

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The larder cupboard has bifolding doors, which don’t take up as much space as standard, outward-opening ones, helping the cabinet to tuck tidily into this corner.

“Due to the compact floor space, and in order to meet storage demands while allowing good access, we decided to hinge the right door off the left one, so the owners don’t have to step around it,” explains the designer.

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Storage is boosted by the condiment racks inside the doors.

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The quirky, colourful kitchen retains all the character of the traditional hayloft, with a combination of new and original features, including travertine floor tiles.

“The laundry appliances are located in an adjacent studio barn, which the owners use as a daytime retreat,” says Middleton. “We installed a oak floor and doors in this area, plus a laundry cabinet that houses their washing machine and dryer and further storage for their jam-making.”

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The compact kitchen is open-plan to the entrance hall and dining room at the front of the house.

“The aspect from the kitchen into the dining area is my favourite part of the scheme, as it flows and blends perfectly with the space,” says Middleton.

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A fresco-style tiled splashback behind the range cooker creates a homespun look that echoes the couple’s business ethos.

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At the other end of the kitchen, a built-in row of floor-to-ceiling cupboards creates generous storage space for glassware and china.

“When used in conjunction with the larder cupboard, the owners’ storage needs were completely satisfied,” says Middleton. “This arrangement for crockery and glasses works really well.”

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The cupboard doors open up to reveal rows of stacked plates, jugs, cups and glasses, stashed in a neat and orderly fashion – just what’s needed in a busy, working kitchen.

What do you think of this compact kitchen in a traditional, stone-built hayloft? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
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