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Kitchen Tour: Cool Shaker Style With a Modern Banquette Diner

A contemporary extension creates room for a spacious open-plan kitchen with a neat built-in dining hub

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

Victorian terraced properties can be notoriously dark, so when it came to planning their new kitchen, Nicky and Michael Crowther wanted to create as much space and light as possible. The solution was a modern extension at the rear of their family home fitted with a long, narrow skylight and furnished with contemporary Shaker-style kitchen cabinets in a soothing grey palette.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here Nicky and Michael Crowther with their young son and new baby
Location Putney, southwest London
Size 15.7 sq m
Property A Victorian terraced house
Designer Tim Higham of Higham Furniture
Photography Rowland Roques-O’Neil

The new kitchen at the back of the Crowthers’ Victorian property has a clever galley-style layout with a peninsula attached to the wall.

“Nicky wanted to create an open-plan kitchen/dining/living area where the family could be together and she could keep an eye on the children as she cooked,” explains designer Tim Higham of Higham Furniture. “She called us to enquire about visiting our workshop in Hampshire and getting a quote, as she really loved our handleless style.”

“In such a large room, most people would choose to have an island with a separate dining table near the bifold doors,” adds Higham. “Connecting banquette seating to the back of the peninsula is a great way to integrate the kitchen and dining areas, and saves space so there’s more room for a living area.”

The banquette seating was designed by the architect and made by the owners’ contractors. The seats lift up for extra storage and are upholstered in a soft suede material.

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The handleless Shaker kitchen offers a simple, understated and classic look that effortlessly blends old and new.

“It’s a contemporary twist on a traditional style and a good mix of the two,” says Higham. “It’s becoming increasingly popular with many of our clients, who are looking for a modern feel that still ties in with old Victorian homes.”

Keeping the tall cabinets to the left-hand side of the kitchen, and not including any wall units either side of the extractor makes the room feel even more spacious.

The units are painted in a soft grey and offset with white on the peninsula to create a subtle contrast. “We felt a lighter peninsula would work best,” says Higham.

Units painted in Pavilion Gray; peninsula painted in Strong White, both Farrow & Ball.

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The handleless doors are made from maple with tulipwood frames that open with a routed groove, or finger pull, at the top part of the Shaker panel. The lack of handles creates a sleek, modern feel.

“We don’t really like push-touch mechanisms,” explains Higham. “The drawers are soft close while the doors have magnetic catches.”

The wide bespoke seven-drawer unit below the hob is ideal for storing cutlery, cooking utensils and pots and pans. The toughened glass splashback blends in perfectly and was sourced by the owners.

KM6366-1 ceramic hob, Miele. FHDCT900WH/N 900mm wide, white and nickel chimney hood, Falcon.

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The long slim skylight is a creative architectural feature that brings in masses of natural light.

“You wouldn’t be able to achieve so much natural light in a typical London home,” explains Higham. “Nicky and Michael’s property shares walls with the neighbours, so it’s difficult to gain this amount of natural light with just patio doors.”

The kitchen/dining snug is at the back of the house which is accessed via the middle living room.

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Higham placed the tall units on the wall with the hob and extractor next to it, so they could easily vent out.

“Then it made sense for the peninsula to house the sink, dishwasher and preparation area,” he explains.

Long planks of oak flooring, finished with a grey wash, lead the eye to the garden outside.

Flooring, The Natural Wood Floor Company

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A neat grid of appliances and storage was designed to take up one side of the kitchen. It includes a two-door larder for storing the vacuum cleaner and American-style fridge-freezer with a double wall cabinet above and a tall unit housing the ovens.

“Opposite the fridge, there’s an alcove where we’ve installed a double-door larder to store dry food,” adds Higham.

Single oven and warming drawer, Miele. Fridge-freezer, AEG.

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The Corian worktop cascades down the edge of the kitchen cabinetry towards the garden, creating a low-level sideboard that’s ideal for storing the children’s toys. Higham chose to install a continuous flow of units, rather than leaving any sort of gap, to enhance the length of the room and to create more storage space.

“The owners wanted a sleek, clean look and we felt that Corian would continue the contemporary feel,” says Higham. “It’s a very smooth and practical solid surface, and I also like the way its slender shape accentuates the linear design of the units. We chose a 50mm-thick worktop to give the kitchen a robust feel.”

Glacier White worktops, Corian.

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The peninsula is cleverly designed to include storage space, integrated pull-out bins, a built-in dishwasher, plus a sink unit on one one side and banquette seating on the other.

“By attaching the peninsula to the wall, it provides more practical worktop space and an ideal area behind for seating,” explains Higham.

The dining room and snug can also be accessed directly from the hallway via the door in the corner.

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The sophisticated lighting system was designed by the architect. It’s offset by a trio of classic, gloss-painted steel ceiling shades with bright red coloured cables for a striking accent.

The sinks are also made from Corian for a one-piece, seamless look and are paired with a standard faucet and a contemporary steaming hot water tap.

The elegant dining table and chairs are from Selfridge’s vintage furniture department.

Giant 1227 pendant, Anglepoise. HC3300 steaming hot and cold water tap, Insinkerator. Concetto mixer tap, Grohe.

What do you think of this modern, handleless Shaker kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

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