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Kitchen Tour: Elegant Pale Grey Tones in an Extended Victorian House

Fine lines and luxe materials give this light-filled kitchen-diner a sophisticated mood

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

When Brayer Design director Barry Sawyer was asked to design a kitchen for homeowners Sam and Ryan O’Grady, the request was for a room that was understated but had plenty of wow factor. The new space, with its sleek cabinetry, open layout and sliding doors onto the garden, certainly answers that brief.

“The O’Gradys wanted to create a much better sense of flow through the space, with a lighter, brighter feel,” says Sawyer.

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Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here Sam O’Grady, an interior designer at Oliver Bea Design, her husband, Ryan, plus their 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son
Location Wandsworth, London
Size 5.5m x 9m; part of a Victorian semi-detached house
Kitchen designer Barry Sawyer of Brayer Design

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The original kitchen was in the same location on the ground floor of the house, but the layout was very different. The owners had to walk through the dining room to get to it, as it was in the side-return extension.

“There was a smaller extension that was knocked down and replaced with the new, larger one,” says Sawyer. “We were involved with the architects and the designers, Oliver Bea Design, at the early stages and were able to discuss the interior configuration while the extension was being designed.”

The wall of sliding glass doors allows plenty of light inside, and creates a connection to the garden. Sunken glass panels in the floor flood light into the basement conversion below.

Sliding glass doors, IQ Glass.

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“The design concept was for a functional and minimal but practical kitchen,” says Sawyer. “The main wall of units is symmetrical, providing the perfect backdrop for the island.” The bespoke design features handleless door fronts in a matt lacquered finish.

Lift-up wall units are flanked on either side by tall cabinets – one is a double breakfast cupboard and the other houses appliances. This is neatened off with a frame around the entire wall of units.

Wide planks of smoked oak engineered floorboards run in the same direction as the cabinetry for an uncluttered look. “The palette of colours is very calming and it has a real warmth,” says the designer.

Smoked Oak engineered flooring, Element 7. Units painted in Silver Double, Zoffany.

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The large island unit is a pivotal storage feature in the kitchen and includes a sink, dishwasher, recycling bins, additional storage and a contrasting charcoal oak breakfast bar for casual meals.

“The position and size of the island creates a demarcation between the working kitchen and the living area of the extension,” says Sawyer.

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Some items were a key part of the brief. “One thing the owners definitely wanted was a ‘breakfast cupboard’ with retractable doors,” says Sawyer of the feature visible on the left here. “Their previous kitchen had one, and they loved it.”

The new double breakfast cupboard also works to conceal a large vertical steel support (50cm x 25cm) that was necessary for the new extension. Retractable doors allow worktop appliances, such as the coffee machine and toaster, to be hidden away, yet easily accessible.

Charcoal oak has been used inside the cupboards to echo the look of the breakfast bar.

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Sawyer also concealed the ovens behind a retractable door for a very uncluttered look. “There’s also a tall, integrated fridge-freezer by the side,” says the designer.

All appliances, Gaggenau.

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Three striking pendant lights add texture and interest to the island unit. Each light shade is made up of lots of individual strands of black oxidised chain, which cast a muted glow when lit.

The bar stools are upholstered in a pearly pewter faux leather that’s both practical and good-looking.

Pendant lights, Tigermoth Lighting. Bernard bar stools, Sofa & Chair Company, upholstered in Finesse Icon Pearl Pewter faux leather by Majilite.

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The open-plan kitchen is a huge space, with a more formal dining area at one end. The large table is a bespoke design, with a dark, smoked-oak top and aged bronze metal frame. It can seat up to 10 people.

The still-life painting is by artist Jo Barrett.

Dining table, Decorus. Byron dining chairs, Sofa & Chair Company, upholstered in Factory Acier twill rib fabric by Pierre Frey. Arctic Pear chandelier, Ochre
.

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A built-in cupboard next to the dining table offers a storage area for delicate glassware and cocktail-making equipment.

“We designed and built a drinks cabinet into the recess created by one of the steel supports,” says Sawyer. “It was the perfect location, because it’s near the dining table, and we fitted mirror to the back of the cupboard to make it feel a bit more glam,” he adds.

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The sleek, pure white worktop is manufactured from 20mm thick Compac engineered stone, with a shark fin profiled edge. “It’s a wedge-shaped edge that gives a very minimal, clean appearance,” explains the designer.

It’s offset with two panels of Calacatta Borghini bookmatched marble for the splashback, to create a luxurious and harmonious design.

Invisible extraction above the induction hob is neatly integrated into the overhead cupboards.

Induction hob, Gaggenau. Built-in extractor, Gutmann.

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The flush, barely there theme continues with a 700mm-wide, stainless steel, under-mounted sink.

Contemporary matt chrome taps are joined by a boiling-water tap for added convenience.

The pale, elegant tones of the kitchen contrast with the vibrant jade plants and greenery in the garden.

Sink, Barazza. Taps, Vola. Boiling-water tap, Quooker.

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“The adjoining boot room was originally part of a playroom,” says Sawyer. “It now includes a large sink, shoe storage beneath an upholstered seat, coat hooks, a wine chiller, a tall freezer, a concealed laundry chute (down to the utility room in the basement), plus full-height storage.”

A backdrop of bare bricks, made to look like the original rear exterior of the house, is actually a new wall that was built directly in front of the existing one.

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Sawyer also designed the tall, matt lacquer cabinets in the boot room. The low-level shoe storage is in charcoal oak to match the breakfast bar.

Cabinets painted in SilverDouble, Zoffany. Wine cooler, Caple.

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The simple, classic look inside the house continues into the garden, where large-format porcelain slabs create a backdrop for the comfortable outdoor sofa and armchairs.

The seats combine aluminium frames with braided polyester arms and backs. The aluminium coffee table with a hammered finish top is from the same range.

Bitta garden furniture, Kettal.

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The contemporary extension contrasts beautifully with the classic Victorian architecture.

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