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Kitchen Tour: A Large and Light Open-Plan Kitchen-diner in Dublin

Soft tones, traditional cabinetry and a simple layout make for a warm, sociable family space

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

With kitchens now the heart of most homes, more of us crave big, open-plan spaces where family and friends can congregate while food is being prepared. Louise Arthur and her husband were no different, and when it came to planning their wraparound extension, they set out a clear brief for a light-filled space where the couple and their three teenage sons could gather.

“The concept was for an open-plan space flooded with light and with views of the garden,” says Deirdre Hardiman, a Dublin-based interior designer and director of Hepburn Designs. “The style of the house is clean traditional and this was carried through into the kitchen to maintain the flow of the house.”

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Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here Louise Arthur, her husband and their three teenage sons
Location South of Dublin
Property 1930s detached house, built by renowned builder George Crampton
Size 10m x 6m
Designer Deirdre Hardiman of Hepburn Designs
Photography Peter Clayton

Having lived in the house for 13 years, the Arthurs decided they needed more space and light in their 1930s detached property.

The kitchen was part of a wraparound extension, with a utility room, bathroom and study to the front of the house and the kitchen at the back. Large sliding doors lead directly into the garden.

“The existing kitchen was a small, square design [2.1m x 2.1m], also at the back of the house,” says designer Deirdre Hardiman. “The range cooker was where the wood-burning stove is now. The kitchen appliances were in the original coal house and outside loo, while the fridge was in the old garage, all of which were knocked down for the new extension.”

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The Arthurs were clear what they wanted from their kitchen: space for the family to gather, a range cooker, and an American-style fridge-freezer.

“Louise wanted a large island for preparing food and an eating and relaxing area where family and friends could gather,” says the designer.

The kitchen is an off-the-shelf design using MDF doors sprayed in ivory. The budget was spent on the building work, plus a granite worktop and smart handles to add a designer touch.

As well as the island unit with bar stools, there’s a rustic dining table and chairs in waxed beech for bigger get-togethers.

American-style fridge-freezer, LG.

10 decisions to make when planning your kitchen island

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Numerous, well-positioned skylights flood the entire room with masses of natural light. They are enhanced by an artificial lighting scheme installed on separate circuits, with dimmer switches for added flexibility.

“I always do a lighting plan with my designs – it’s one of the most important aspects,” says Hardiman.

The lowered part of the ceiling that runs across the island and near the wood-burner is a T supporting beam.

“This eliminated the need to have a pole to support the roof. Also, it does lend itself to the design, helping to demarcate the spaces,” she adds

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The island unit was a key requirement for the clients. It features large drawers for storing plates, bowls and cutlery, and three cupboards on the table side for electrical equipment, such as a food processor, and their best cutlery and china.

“With three boys around, the patterned, porcelain floor tiles were chosen so as not to show the dirt and are easy to keep clean,” says Hardiman. “The different-sized tiles have a traditional look, in keeping with the original house, and are warmed up with underfloor heating.”

Cassia Bianco floor tiles by Leonardo Ceramica, House of Tiles.

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The chimney breast is a newly built feature to house the glossy black range cooker.

“The overmantel was an important design feature for the client,” adds the designer. “I felt the range cooker in black was strong enough on its own, so we went with subtle tiles for the splashback.”

Elan 110 dual fuel range cooker, Rangemaster. Clock, Appletons.

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The actual kitchen area takes up 4m x 6m of the space. At one end there is a large, freestanding, painted dresser for displaying family photos and stashing cookery books.

“It’s also used as a place for the post and the phone – a sort of mini office,” says Hardiman.

Dresser, Strawbridge.

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All of the walls are painted in a very pale creamy white, apart from the feature walls, which are a warm sage.

The cast-iron wood-burner adds a cosy touch to the huge room. “There was a chimney breast here where the original range was located,” adds the designer.

The antique bench is a family heirloom.

Feature walls painted in Bayberry Wax (archived colourway), Colourtrend. Anvil multi-fuel stove, Blacksmith Stoves.

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The Giallo Imperial granite worktop is a light-hued stone flecked with quartz crystals, red garnet speckles and black granite accents on a beige background. It harmonises well with the warm, neutral palette used throughout.

A comfortable seating area at the back of the room is furnished with custom-made checked sofas and pine occasional furniture.

Granite worktop, Marble & Granite Centre.

Discover everything you need to know about choosing a worktop

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A mix of brass cup handles and Italian porcelain crackle glaze knobs adds a luxury look to the off-the-peg kitchen cabinetry.

Door handles, Knobs & Knockers.

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