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Kitchen Tour: A Compact Yet Chic Open-Plan Design

Part of an open-plan living space, this flat’s kitchen had to look beautiful and maximise every inch of space

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

Downsizing to a smaller property after the children have flown the nest can be a liberating experience, especially if you can reconfigure the space exactly to your needs as Susan and Brian Moss did when they moved into this two-bedroom flat. Central to the renovations was a new kitchen, so they called on the expertise of Neil Lerner Designs. “When the owners bought the flat, it had not been touched for well over 50 years so you can imagine how dingy and old-fashioned it looked,” says Eve Turner, design director at Neil Lerner Designs. “The whole flat needed to be completely refurbished and modernised.”

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here Susan and Brian Moss and their dog
Location Northwest London
Property A two-bedroom, one-bathroom flat
Kitchen dimensions 3.6m x 3.2m
Designer Eve Turner, design director at Neil Lerner Designs

When Susan and Brian Moss downsized to their new home, they decided to open up the space by knocking down walls and making the kitchen and dining and living rooms one big open-plan space.

“It’s quite a small property, but as their kids are grown up it’s now just them and the dog so it’s the perfect pied-à-terre for them,” explain Turner. “It required several walls to be knocked down and ceilings to be raised to compensate for the poky, cramped and dark feel of the place. Our brief for the kitchen was to maximise storage and create a contemporary area that works well with the rest of the living space.”

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The couple were keen to incorporate some sort of breakfast bar, so Turner turned the peninsula unit into one by putting in an overhanging worktop. She opted for a contrasting silver-grey shade on the cupboard fronts to make it stand out.

“A peninsula is an excellent use of space in a kitchen of this size and facilitates the design and makes it flow well ergonomically,” explains Turner. “It also allowed us to integrate some additional items, such as the wine cooler.”

Undercounter wine cabinet, Caple. Bar stools, Heal’s.

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One of the main challenges was how to include all the appliances Susan and Brian wanted. “This included two multi-function ovens, a full-size fridge-freezer and a wine cooler, but we managed to work them all into the design – without compromise!” says Turner.

Pivotal to this achievement is a bank of tall, floor-to-ceiling units, with a return into the entrance hall that extends into the living room. “Because of the age of the property, we also had to work with a number of non-negotiables, such as the column you can see to the side of the breakfast bar and pipework that had to be hidden rather than removed,” she adds. “We disguised all the relevant areas with cabinetry so that it all matches up and there are no awkward parts to be seen.”

French door fridge with freezer drawer, Fisher & Paykel. Single ovens, Siemens.

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The peninsula seamlessly unites the kitchen and living areas in this open-plan space.

Tough and easy to keep clean, the man-made quartz worktop is 12mm thick with a chamfered edge.

Blanco Zeus Extreme worktop, Silestone.

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The glossy, polar white doors from Neil Lerner Design’s own brand are handle-free with a subtle channel design to enhance the streamlined silhouette. The cupboards are easy-to-clean and help to increase the sense of space in the kitchen area.

“White is always right in a kitchen of this size as it emphasises the space available,” says Turner. “The units are all white, as is the worktop.”

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With an integrated, grooved drainer, the wide and extra-deep undercounter sink maintains the kitchen’s uncluttered look. The dishwasher is also fully integrated to complete the clean lines.

Blanco Claron 700-U sink, Blanco. Oxygen pull-out mixer tap, Gessi.

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A textured, mirrored splashback adds a hint of low-key glamour and allows light to bounce around the kitchen. “It was a special edition project, created using a patterned Pilkington glass called Cotswold,” says Turner.

Splashback, Creo Glass.

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The panels of textured glass shimmer beautifully.

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Maximising storage was a key priority in the open-plan space, so Turner designed banks of wall units and some wide pull-out drawers for the base units.

The skinny 150mm-wide pull-outs and a dedicated corner storage unit ensure that every inch of space is utilised.

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Under-cupboard lighting, fitted by Neil Lerner Designs, casts a shimmering glow across the glass splashbacks.

Integrated ceiling spots are used for everyday lighting.

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A concealed telescopic cooker hood is fitted neatly and invisibly above the induction hob. “We also added several wide drawers under the hob unit, which are used to store pots and pans as well as smaller items,” says Turner.

Induction hob and telescopic hood, Siemens.

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The owners included some interesting pieces of artwork, which add personality and serve to focus the eye away from the column in the middle of the open-plan living space.

“Having downsized from a much larger home with an extended kitchen area, the Moss’s love how convenient it all is to prepare and cook food in this kitchen without moving very far!” says Turner.

What do you think of this open-plan kitchen for two? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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