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Kitchen Tour: A Devon Warehouse Brought Back to Life

Rich walnut warms up the industrial-style kitchen in this converted warehouse home

Houzz UK Contributor. I have been an interiors journalist since 1995, writing several… More

Situated close to the River Exe in Topsham, Devon, this apartment sits within a 17th century warehouse. Although rocking a softly industrial look now, when owner Jose Cortizo bought the property, it had a mud floor, stone walls and not much else! Adding internal walls carved out a two-bedroom home, then it was time to create a kitchen that would slot unobtrusively into the small, open-plan living area.

“The design had to be minimalist and not appear to be a kitchen at all,” says Cortizo, who wanted a New York loft feel and all mod cons incorporated into this relatively compact space. So Mark Newbery of Sapphire Spaces created a design that was functional and minimal to suit the small space, but with lots of warm wood to prevent the cabinets and island looking stark against the industrial backdrop.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here Jose Cortizo, director of Devon Stone; he uses this as a second home for himself, his two children and their cat, Murray, and it’s also available for friends and family to enjoy
Location Topsham, Devon
Kitchen dimensions The kitchen sits within an open-plan space that measures 6.7m x 4.5m; part of a ground-floor apartment in a converted 17th century warehouse, with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom
Designer Mark Newbery of Sapphire Spaces; interview with director Alex Newbery

Photos by Nicholas Yarsley

Cabinets finished with walnut veneer add warmth to the kitchen and contrast against the whitewashed stone walls, softening the industrial look of this space. “Light cabinets against those walls could look a bit stark,” says Alex Newbery. “These bring in some warmth.”

b2 and b3 kitchen cabinets, bulthaup. Flooring, Devon Stone.
Cowhide CH07 Shell chair by Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son, Sapphire Spaces.

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Compact and largely freestanding, the kitchen cabinets can be neatly shut up to give the space a serene, tidy appearance. “It’s an open-plan space,” says Newbery, “so to hide things away, we decided to have the appliances in one cupboard, as well as all the usual plates, mugs and cutlery in another.”

Newbery and his team adapted a bulthaup b2 double cabinet to house the appliances, with a matching single larder cabinet nearby. “You shut the doors and it’s all gone, so you don’t feel as if you’re sitting in a kitchen,” she says.

Bertoia barstools by Harry Bertoia for Knoll, available at Utility.

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A large fridge-freezer is housed within a walnut veneer cabinet, while the matching larder unit to its right holds utensils, glasses and china. It’s also made from walnut veneer, but with beech shelves.

Fridge-freezer, Siemens.

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A generous island provides space for food prep. “It’s finished in natural aluminium for a nice contrast with the wooden cabinets, but the raised bar top is in walnut to tie in with them,” says Newbery. “It also screens the main kitchen prep area without acting as a divide in the room, so all your ingredients, messy plates and bottles of tomato sauce or whatever are hidden from people sitting in the living room.”

The island is the main dining area in this space, but the owner’s children also use it for homework. “It’s a nice place to perch with a glass of wine and nibbles when friends come over,” adds Newbery.

b3 island finished in natural aluminium with a quartz worktop and walnut veneer bar top, bulthaup.

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The island measures 257cm x 100cm and includes a sink, a flush induction hob and, to avoid worktop clutter, a Quooker boiling-water tap. There are also sectioned bin compartments, a dishwasher, and drawers to house cutlery, utensils, crockery, cookware and bakeware. The quartz work surface is an ultra-thin 10mm.

The owner sourced the pendant lights. They were salvaged from commercial ships in operation during the 1950s and 1960s.

Lots of internal glazing ensures the rooms within this warehouse apartment feel light. There’s even an indoor garage, visible from the living space, which allows light to communicate and prevents the apartment’s configuration from feeling boxy.

Induction hob, V-Zug. Sofa, Ligne Roset.

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Aside from the island, the kitchen cabinets are freestanding. “They look like pieces of furniture, so when you’re relaxing on the sofa, you never feel as if you’re sitting in a kitchen,” says Newbery. The freestanding designs are not only beautiful, but practical, too. “The walls are not straight, so building in a fitted kitchen would have involved a lot of work,” she says. “Here, nothing is attached to the walls.”

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The larder is based on the classic design of a tool storage cupboard in a carpenter’s workshop and can be completely closed up. It measures a neat 658mm wide.

It was designed by bulthaup in collaboration with furniture and product designers Eoos, after extensive global research into how people use kitchens. “The designers drew up a definitive list of all the essentials that everyone around the world uses and needs,” says Newbery. They then designed a cupboard that can hold it all. “Obviously, if you have kids, you often have drawers full of crayons, but if you’re quite minimal, structured and organised, essentially everything you need would go in here.”

What do you think of the warm, industrial look of this warehouse kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
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