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Kitchen Tour: A Large Island is Key to this Kitchen Extension

Natural materials and pleasing curves enhance the multi-functional island unit in this busy family cookspace

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

As someone who runs a successful catering business, the owner of this large family home knew precisely what she wanted from her new extended kitchen. “The old kitchen was extremely dated, small and tired, so the owner wanted an updated space that would work for them all as a family,” explains Peter Humphrey, design director and founder of bespoke kitchen specialist Humphrey Munson, who took on the job. “So they extended the kitchen and added a conservatory, which is where the dining table is now located.”

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Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here A busy working mum with two teenage boys
Location Hadley Wood, London
Property A new-build detached home
Size 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
Designer Peter Humphrey of Humphrey Munson

When the owner of this family home wanted a new kitchen, it made perfect sense to extend to the rear of the property and create a fantastic, open-plan space for all the family to enjoy.

Designer Peter Humphrey was brought on board and created this elegant, classic and functional design with a sizeable island unit at its centre.

“The versatility of this kitchen lends itself perfectly to modern family living,” he says. “There’s seating at the island – a perfect spot for a midweek meal or catching up with a friend over coffee – and the open-plan format leads into the dining area, which is housed in a light and airy conservatory garden room.”

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The large kitchen island, stretching almost 3m in length, is the star of the show. “It has a main prep area and a separate breakfast spot, defined by mixing a Silestone surface with a round smoked oak worktop at one end,” the designer explains. “As well as a visual divider, the natural character of the Westminster smoked oak really adds a lot of warmth to the kitchen.”

Tigris Sand worktop, Silestone.

Take a look at these kitchen islands with built-in tech

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Leading seamlessly into the conservatory dining room, the kitchen is flooded with natural light.

The wooden breakfast bar acts as a bridge between the dining and kitchen areas – it’s one of the owner’s favourite elements of the design.

“She loves this space and now uses it more than the dining area,” says Humphrey.

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The bespoke kitchen is from the Nickleby range, a crisp version of traditional English cabinetry, with clean lines and simplicity at its heart. It’s all handmade by Humphrey Munson’s team of cabinet-makers using traditional joinery techniques.

“The painted cabinetry is made from tulipwood, a type of North American poplar tree, which is the perfect material for painted furniture,” explains the designer. “The accent wood in the kitchen is the Westminster smoked oak, which is a bespoke stained timber.”

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Open shelving built into the island unit directly opposite the range cooker allows for easy access to large pans and dishes.

Find more great storage solutions on Houzz

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The neutral, earthy colours paired with the natural smoked oak is one of the many things the owner loves about the kitchen.

“The island is painted in Humphrey Munson’s own paint colour, Cobbles, while the perimeter cabinetry is in a paler shade called Linen,” Humphrey explains.

Mia glass pendant lights, Jim Lawrence.

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The large, under-mounted sink is positioned in the main prep area, with the dishwasher and pull-out bins conveniently hidden below to ensure maximum functionality.

“The kitchen needed to look and feel spacious, with the appliances all concealed behind doors,” Humphrey says. “And the owner absolutely loves the Quooker boiling-water tap. Having never had one before, she thought it would be useful, but now can’t imagine a domestic kitchen without one – for making coffees and teas, but also filling pans quickly, making cooking really easy.”

Deerfield under-mounted sink, Kohler. Callisto crosshead mixer tap, Perrin & Rowe. Classic boiling-water tap in polished nickel, Quooker. Dishwasher, Miele.

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There are no traditional wall cupboards in this kitchen – a firm design request by the owner – so Humphrey utilised other types of cabinetry design to ensure sufficient storage.

“Incorporating worktop cupboards either side of the false chimney allows the space to be very much ‘function first’, with useful appliances to hand when you need them,” explains Humphrey. “When you don’t, the doors can simply be closed to create that calm, uncluttered look.”

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The space-saving bifold doors on the worktop cupboards are made from smoked oak to echo the circular breakfast bar.

All breakfast foods and kit are housed neatly inside, keeping everything conveniently in one place. Small appliances, such as the coffee machine and toaster, have their own plug sockets inside.

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The chimney is a new feature, designed and made by Humphrey Munson to house the extractor and provide a focal point for the stainless-steel range cooker.

Saulieu stainless steel range cooker with nickel trim, Lacanche. Cache 1100mm-wide twin motor extractor, Westin.

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Luxurious, understated materials (such as the limestone flooring) and a touch of low-key glamour create a timeless kitchen with personality.

“The owner’s favourite feature is the antique mirror splashback – she loves the way it bounces the light back across the kitchen,” Humphrey says. “It also means that when she’s cooking, she can still chat to family and friends who are in the kitchen behind her.”

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At the other end of the kitchen, tall, handsome curved units in smoked oak offer a visual flow to the kitchen and link in with the other smoked oak pieces throughout the design.

“A key element of the success of this project is the flow between the separate spaces – for food prep, cooking, eating and drinking, and then clearing away,” Humphrey explains. “We needed to ensure the space would work well for the owner and her family, both when it’s just them at home, and when they have groups of family or friends over.”

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The tall, ceiling-height cupboards incorporate two column refrigerators and a curvaceous double-door corner pantry.

“We really don’t like to overload our kitchens, so when the owner asked for no wall cupboards it was very straightforward for us,” says Humphrey. “The result is a light, airy space that has a quiet sense of purpose to it.”

Is this the most desirable kitchen feature right now?

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Curvaceous, solid oak doors are pleasingly tactile and open up to reveal masses of storage space for dried foods.

What do you think of this elegant family kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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