Dark tones give it a strong contemporary feel, but the kitchen in this London home is full of traditional, period touches, too
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Colour was crucial to the design of this kitchen. Essentially a galley configuration with a peninsula at one end, it sits in a contemporary extension at the rear of a Victorian terraced house in southeast London. “The owners were very interested in introducing some colour,” says Emily Rumble of deVOL Kitchens, who designed the space.
Now, cabinets in a super-dark blue that borders on black sit alongside metro tiles, a polished concrete floor and elegant lighting. White walls and tiles combine with marble worktops to keep the look light, despite the bolts of dark colour, while brassware and classic features, such as a Belfast sink, help the space to reference the past while looking beautifully up to date.
Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A young family
Property A Victorian terraced house
Location Southeast London
Size The longest wall is just less than 8m, the wall containing the hob is 4m 30cm, while the width of the kitchen is 3m 45cm
Designer Emily Rumble at deVOL Kitchens
“The cabinets are a simple, minimal design. They’ve been taken in a contemporary direction by adding dark colour, but they still feel quite classic and traditional in style,” designer Emily Rumble says. “This kitchen is a great example of how colour, tiling and appliances can make traditional cabinetry feel really contemporary.”
Classic details are peppered throughout, including brass handles and hinges and a Belfast sink. “The owners didn’t feel the need to go hugely contemporary,” says Rumble. “There are elements of traditional style here, but it’s all made to feel a little bit different and fresh thanks to the styling.”
Real Shaker cabinets, deVOL Kitchens.
Although the units look black, they’re actually painted a deep blue. “In shadow, this colour looks black, but in sunlight or bright artificial light, it looks very blue,” says Rumble. For this reason, she was careful to assess how much natural light the kitchen gets before opting for this shade. “In a very dark space, I’d advise going for light worktops, rather than teaming dark with dark,” she says. “Here, with the roof lights and folding doors, there’s lots of light guaranteed.”
Nevertheless, to keep the space looking fresh, Rumble used a white Carrara marble for the main worktops, with the peninsula in iroko wood.
Cabinets painted in Pantry Blue, deVOL Kitchens.
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Metro tiles with black grout create a sharp, crisp feel. They extend up to the extractor, creating a large splashback. “You need tiling to protect the wall, but taking it right up to the ceiling creates a big feature in a room, which we didn’t want to do here,” says Rumble. “Instead, it made sense to tile up to the extractor and run that along. We then matched the height of the splashback on the opposite side.”
The units have tulipwood fronts with ply carcasses, and the interiors are painted in a pale putty shade. A wall of storage in the dining area beyond was built in by a carpenter employed by the homeowners but deVOL supplied the brassware and paint for continuity.
A peninsula partially separates the kitchen from the dining space which adjoins the garden. “The owners opted for an iroko wood worktop as they were keen to have some warmth here, where you sit,” says Rumble. “Iroko is a great wood as it’s very varied in colour and tone. Its richness complements the dark blue colour of the units really well.”
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The dining space stretches across the rear of the kitchen extension, with sliding doors opening it onto the garden. Black table legs, stools and lighting help to link the two spaces. “Those dark accents bring the two areas together,” says Rumble.
The extractor fan is neatly encased in the same materials as the units: ply and tulipwood. “It has the same simple profiling as the wall cabinets, so that it ties in,” says Rumble. “With extractors, you can either paint the exterior in the same shade as the wall or the units. When you do the latter, it stands out, but also helps to break up the white wall.”
Hob, Smeg. Extractor, Elica.
“The dark grout and window frames pick up on the blue shade on the cabinets really nicely,” says Rumble. The tap has a specialist aged brass finish for a traditional feel.
Sink, Villeroy & Boch. Ionian tap, Perrin & Rowe. Tap covered in an aged brass finish, deVol Kitchens.
A neat little wall cabinet hangs on the kitchen’s short wall. “We positioned the tall, larder-style wall cabinets at the end of the room nearest to the rest of the house,” says Rumble, “so they don’t block off the dining space at the far end.”
This small wall cabinet provides space for glasses and features a glazed door. “This stops it looking too solid or closed off, and brings depth and character to the space,” says Rumble. “A glazed cabinet is a great way to subtly break up a wall.”
The kitchen sits inside a new extension, which was completed in summer 2015. The extension has a very contemporary feel, but such is the kitchen’s successful blend of old and new, it fits in perfectly.
What do you like about this kitchen and its striking dark units? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.