Bespoke cabinetry, rich colour accents and classic panelling all add up to an elegant, open-plan family kitchen-diner
Houzz UK contributor. Freelance interiors journalist with over 20 years’ experience… More
When the owners of this Georgian country house were in the planning stages of their dream kitchen, they had a list of things they definitely wanted to incorporate. “This included removing the internal utility room walls to open up the space for the snug,” says Richard Davonport of bespoke kitchen specialist Davonport. “The previous kitchen had the sink positioned in front of a window, which the owners liked and wanted to retain, and they also wanted an island to create an informal dining area. Though it was to be a family space, it still had to look chic and beautiful.”
Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A married couple and their young son
Location A hamlet in Essex
Size The kitchen is 5m x 8m; the snug is 3.5m x 4m; part of a Georgian country house with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
Designer Richard Davonport of Davonport
Photos by Darren Chung
The kitchen is in a Georgian house that’s been sympathetically extended over the years. “It’s in a previously built extension,” says Richard Davonport. “The old kitchen was in the same space, but it didn’t integrate the snug area and the island was much smaller.”
The new layout was designed to be practical and family-friendly. With a young son, the focus was to create a room that could be enjoyed by the whole family while also functioning flawlessly as a cooking space and an area for entertaining guests.
To add a more contemporary feel to the space and ready access to the garden, three sets of French windows along the back wall were removed and replaced with bifold doors stretching the entire length of the room.
The island is a key feature, painted in dark blue to introduce a contemporary colour palette and complement the bifold doors.
“The island was designed to be multi-functional,” Davonport says. “The food preparation area is positioned on the side closest to the hob and includes plenty of clear workspace, as well as a prep sink complete with a boiling-water tap.
“At the far end of the island is the concave banquette seating, which we designed to integrate the dining table the owners had already purchased for their new kitchen.”
Island painted in Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball. Boiling-water tap, Zip.
On the opposite side of the island, the breakfast bar creates an informal space for guests to perch with a coffee or glass of wine close enough to the cook to continue conversation.
“The wine cooler is positioned between the breakfast bar and the dining table – it’s easy to access without interfering with the cooking zone,” says Davonport.
“Rather than design around the pillar, we just encased it in the island. This is something we do quite a lot in projects.”
The cupboard doors are made from American poplar, hand-painted in a soft grey.
“The Bianco Massa quartz worktops are the right colour and tone for the project, and the material is hard-wearing enough for use in a family kitchen,” the designer says.
Tumbled limestone floor tiles (cosied up with underfloor heating) create a neutral backdrop to the open-plan space.
Cabinets painted in Pavilion Gray, Farrow & Ball.
The concave banquette seating at the end of the island is upholstered in blue leather to echo the deep blue shade of the island doors.
Discover how to make your kitchen a sociable space
The island is a sophisticated mix of navy blue paintwork, polished nickel knobs and creamy quartz worktops.
The bespoke kitchen is a contemporary take on classic Shaker-style cabinetry.
“It’s a celebration of English cabinetry and craftsmanship, with standout features such as the mantel and pantry,” explains the designer.
The antique bronze mirror splashback behind the hob was chosen to add a modern touch to the classic mantel.
Induction hob, Miele.
Small cupboards either side of the mantel open up to reveal two drawers for keeping cooking essentials, such as oils, herbs and spices, to hand.
The owners were keen to position the sink in front of a window.
Bifold doors pull back to reveal a neat coffee cupboard to one side of the sink area.
“Many of our clients choose integrated coffee machines, but on this project the owners wanted storage for their existing Nespresso machine,” says Davonport. “We designed the coffee cupboard with a fully extendable shelf, making it easy to use and removing the potential heat issues from within the cupboard.”
The shelves above are used to store coffee cups and coffee capsules so everything is stashed in one place.
An integrated stainless-steel sink and elegant swan-neck spout tap enhance the classic vibe the owners wanted.
Sink, Kohler. Tap, Perrin & Rowe.
After visiting Davonport’s Colchester showroom, the owners fell in love with the Tillingham pantry.
“This affected the planned layout of the room,” says the designer. “We suggested blocking one of the doors into the kitchen in order to place the pantry in its most ergonomic position – close to the dining table and snug area.”
The pantry opens up to reveal walnut drawers and vegetable crates, hand carved to the owners’ specified wording, including ‘fruit & veg’ and ‘treats’ for their son.
A glamorous mirrored back panel and marble shelf to keep produce cool complete the look.
Check out more pantry photos
The snug was created by extending the kitchen into what was originally a utility room.
“The snug is such a beautiful and welcoming space,” says Davonport. “The wood-burner really adds to the atmosphere, especially when the days are getting colder. It functions really well alongside the kitchen as a place where the family can gather with easy access to the cooking area.”
Davonport designed and made the bespoke wall panelling and cabinetry in the snug to complement the kitchen furniture. It’s painted in the same colour as the kitchen.
“The wall panelling was the most challenging part of the project, but also the most rewarding,” says Davonport. “It’s a bespoke design that echoes the door style of the kitchen cabinetry to help with the flow between the spaces.”
Panelling painted in Pavilion Gray, Farrow & Ball.
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