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Kitchen Tour: A Compact and Colourful Kitchen for a Narrow House

Tall cabinets and a unit that’s a utility space and larder in one solved the space problems in this vibrant room

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Reworking the ground floor of a house frequently involves taking down walls, but the owners of this terraced town house actually put one in when they refurbished their home in order to create a distinct kitchen area. “It’s a narrow building, so it was difficult to make the kitchen feel separate,” says Nicky Spear, director at Sustainable Kitchens, the specialists the owners called on for a new kitchen. Other challenges faced? Fitting in enough storage when the washing machine and dryer had to be accommodated in the compact area, and making the kitchen both functional and funky.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A family of four
Location Southeast London
Property Terraced town house
Size 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a cloakroom
Kitchen dimensions 3.9m x 2.8m
Designer Jess Couceiro of Sustainable Kitchens

Photos by Charlie O’Beirne

A ground floor with different functional areas was a layout with which the owners were familiar. “It was orginally all open plan,” says Spear. “But they built a wall as you walk in to make the kitchen more of its own area.”

As for the look, the kitchen needed to continue the aesthetic established by interior designer Lindsey Roberts at Forrester Roberts for the house.

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The kitchen cabinetry is a modern twist on Shaker style. “They wanted something contemporary, but without losing the relevance to the building,” says Spear. “They also put in shutters, which are in keeping.”

Tall wall cabinets take advantage of the height of the ceilings and help fulfil the brief to maximise storage.

Walls painted in Slipper Satin and cabinets painted in Ammonite, both Farrow & Ball. Retro Metro wall tiles in Green Park, Fired Earth. Victorian floor tiles, Original Style.

Take a look at more contemporary Shaker kitchens

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With the playful palette for the house already settled, the kitchen needed to echo its tones. “The cabinetry is muted, then there are pops of colour,” says Spear. The tiled splashback matches a feature wall in the living area, while the floor tiles team blue with the cabinetry colour.

Alongside the oven, neat slots were created for chopping boards and trays for easy access in a well-used kitchen.

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The extractor is concealed in a cabinet. “Hidden appliances have a sleek and contemporary look, and to provide more storage this one is very thin, leaving quite a lot of space in the top cabinet,” says Spear.

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Hexagonal floor tiles and metro-style wall tiles introduce graphic pattern that distinguishes the kitchen from the rest of the ground floor.

Find more ideas for using patterned tiles in a kitchen

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Blackboard paint was used on a section of wall beside the breakfast bar to make a place for doodles and shopping lists.

Interior designer Roberts chose the pendant lights to tie in with rest of the open-plan space.

Hex pendant lights in Orange, Mullan.

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The owners sourced the engineered quartz work surface themselves. It’s hard-wearing and a practical choice for a family kitchen.

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The breakfast bar is finished in oak. “The owners always wanted a wood element,” says Spear. On the side away from the wall, the work surface is continued to the floor where it meets the living area’s oak flooring (see first picture). “It’s like a waterfall,” says Spear, “and makes a transition between different spaces.”

A wooden box for growing herbs was made for the other end of the breakfast bar.

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A spray tap and deep sink that easily fits big pots and pans add to the practical elements of the kitchen.

Pendle sink, Shaws of Darwen

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The breakfast bar makes a clear division between the kitchen and living area, and is higher than the work surface, concealing anything in the sink from the living and dining side of the ground floor.

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A retro-style fridge-freezer was on the owners’ wish list. A bookshelf was constructed above to create the feel of a unit and keep cookbooks accessible.

Fridge-freezer, Smeg

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To fit laundry appliances in an unobtrusive way, a special unit was built. “The bottom of the cabinet houses the washing machine and dryer, with a work surface on top,” says Spear. Above is a larder. “It’s a very high cupboard so the top has space for things you use once a year at Christmas,” she says.

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The larder has space for dry ingredients and incorporates a wine rack. There’s even room for the microwave in here so it’s easy to use but isn’t on show.

Found a clever way to stash all you need in your kitchen? Share in the Comments section.
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