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Kitchen Tour: A Masterclass in How to Combine Old and New

Visit a foodie’s kitchen with modern style that achieves the feat of complementing its Georgian surroundings

Houzz Contributor. I’m a freelance journalist and editor writing for nationals, magazines… More

When it comes to designing a new kitchen, the lofty ceilings and generous dimensions of a period home are great gifts, but they present challenges nonetheless. How to make new cabinetry fit in with architectural features? How to create accessible storage? How to work around listed elements that can’t be altered?

It was these issues that designer Charlie Flemons of Sustainable Kitchens was called on to solve – all the while ensuring the workspace was a real cook’s kitchen with all the functionality that entails.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here Paula and Steven Foulser and their three daughters
Location Bath
Property A Georgian townhouse with five bedrooms and five bathrooms
Kitchen dimensions 4.1 x 3m
Designer Charlie Flemons of Sustainable Kitchens

Photos by Charlie O’Beirne of Lukonic

Paula Foulser hosts supper clubs as well as cooking for her family, so practicality and good looks were on the wishlist for the kitchen in her Georgian townhouse. “She was looking for something contemporary, but that tied in with the style of the property as well,” Flemons says.

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The room is for cooking only, with a linked dining area the other side of the peninsula (seen in the next photo), but perfecting the design in the period home still wasn’t straightforward. The window takes up a lot of space and the room has multiple doors and openings. “We went through quite a few design iterations to get it right,” Flemons says.

The owner had fallen for freestanding kitchens she’d seen online, but the possibility of crumbs getting into hard-to-clean areas concerned her. Flemons’s solution? A kitchen that’s fitted but looks freestanding. The units are supported by a plinth, but it’s mirrored and gives the illusion of space underneath. Metal legs either side of the oven contribute to the freestanding effect. “They’re just for aesthetic purposes,” Flemons says.

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The cabinetry has a stainless-steel finish that matches the oven and fridge. “It’s a contrast to the painted furniture and easy to clean,” Flemons says. The eclectic combination also helps the kitchen feel as if it’s composed of individual pieces of furniture rather than being a fitted design.

A peninsula boosts worktop space, and sockets were positioned in the end for plugging in small appliances such as blenders, which get frequent use in a keen foodie’s kitchen.

The wood flooring was already in place, but was cleaned up.

Walls painted in Wevet, Farrow & Ball.

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One of the room’s biggest design challenges was the area behind the sink. The nook here is actually a doorway that couldn’t be blocked up because the house is listed (it still looks like a door from the hall on the other side).

Flemons turned it into a display area painted in a darker shade than the wall, with shelves positioned to accommodate glassware.

Nook painted in Cornforth White, Farrow & Ball.

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A tall, painted dresser makes the most of the wall space on the opposite side of the room to the run of cabinets. It’s for storage and display, and fitted with glass doors to keep the contents dust-free. “We added glass shelves because there’s an LED light in the top,” says Flemons.

Dresser painted in Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball.

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The homeowner wanted a dresser with height, despite the fact that the top shelves aren’t accessible without something to stand on. She suggested the ladder and sourced it herself, while Flemons designed the brass bar and hooks so it can be stored on the side of the unit.

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The lower section of the dresser holds tableware that’s in daily use, while the high shelves are reserved for special-occasion items.

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The inside of the dresser is painted in a contrasting shade for drama. Just like in a library, the ladder hooks onto a brass bar for use.

Dresser interior painted in Railings, Farrow & Ball.

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To create sufficient worktop space, a butcher’s block was included in the scheme. It’s on wheels that have brakes, so it can be moved to where it’s required and secured in place. The top is oiled oak and it contains a storage drawer.

Butcher’s block painted in Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball.

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A shelf on the butcher’s block creates a home for the owner’s copper pans. “She really wanted them on display, and it’s easy to grab what she needs and bring it to the cooker,” says Flemons.

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Simple handles were selected for the cabinetry. “They’re not fussy or chunky and go well with the handle on the fridge-freezer,” says Flemons. “The focal point is the cabinet, not the handle.”

Fridge-freezer, Siemens.

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The interior of the cabinet where the cutlery’s kept (beside the fridge-freezer) is made from oak. It’s a visually pleasing and tactile material for an area that’s in daily use.

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A brushed-brass tap and brass sockets add a warming gleam to the kitchen – and repeat the detail of the dresser ladder arrangement. “Brass is traditional and, in the Georgian house, it ties old and new together,” says Flemons.

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The brass highlights also pick up the yellow veining in the marble – a type of Calacatta – used for the worktop, splashback and shelf. “They all had to be made from one piece of stone so the veining lines up,” Flemons says.

The choice of stones was therefore confined to those available in jumbo slabs – and there was a further requirement. “Although the room has big windows, the couple wanted to create light, so were keen on something quite pale with a polished finish,” she adds.

There’s an LED strip below the shelf for extra task lighting. “It’s normally provided by an extractor, but there isn’t one here, as the owner wanted a clean look,” she says. The room does have a trickle vent and an opening window.

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A gas hob was set into the marble worktop, with an oven below that’s wide but that leaves space either side for cabinetry.

The sink is undermounted. “It’s medium-sized,” says Flemons. “It didn’t need to be massive, because there’s a dishwasher, and there’s not a lot of worktop space. It’s in stainless steel, which ties in with the cabinets.”

Hob; oven, both Gaggenau.

Tell us…
What do you think of this almost freestanding look? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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