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Kitchen Tour: Open-plan Living in a Converted Scottish Farmhouse

Hi-tech features and a rustic backdrop come together in this characterful kitchen

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

Designing a kitchen for a professional chef perhaps presents more of a daunting task than usual, particularly when the space to kit out is an ancient barn that needs to be gutted and rebuilt virtually from scratch. “The owners were renovating the old barn and incorporating it into the farmhouse to give them a bigger and more functional kitchen,” explains Paul O’Brien of Kitchens International, who had previously worked with the chef on demo and professional kitchens. The finished space is truly amazing.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A professional chef, his wife and their two young children
Location Stirlingshire, Scotland
Property Farmhouse with renovated barn
Size 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
Kitchen dimensions 6.5m x 5m
Designer Paul O’Brien of Kitchens International

When the owners of this Scottish farmhouse decided they needed space for a bigger kitchen, the obvious solution was to convert the adjoining ‘byre’ or cowshed. The kitchen needed to be hardworking to meet the demands of a professional chef, but also a comfortable space for all the family to congregate. “The owners wanted to be able to cook while the children do homework,” explains O’Brien, “and they also wanted to be able to socialise around the farmhouse table.”

First, though, the cowshed conversion needed to be dealt with. As well as skylights, floor-to-ceiling doors on both sides of the new kitchen space were installed to maximise views and allow natural light to pour through into the old shed.

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Julian Hopper of Moho Building & Design worked on the conversion of the cowshed/barn. And when it came to the actual kitchen, Hopper and O’Brien had to ensure the kitchen blueprint worked harmoniously with the barn’s original features, carefully combining the original oak beams with new RSJs and other modern structural requirements. The result is a fabulous blend of old and new, with a natural oak floor running throughout for a cohesive feel.

“The owners very much wanted to retain the character of the barn and, as there isn’t a straight line in the kitchen, they couldn’t choose a straight-lined, off-the-shelf kitchen,” says O’Brien. Instead, the owners opted for a bespoke design from Callerton.

The cupboards at the mezzanine level (a snug TV area), which are only accessible from the mezzanine, provide extra storage in the kitchen-cum-living space.

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Central to this kitchen is a black enamelled workhorse of a range cooker with an induction hob on top – one of the many chef-orientated requests that came from the owners. “The Falcon range cooker is very functional and induction is the only type of hob the owner would choose!” says O’Brien.

Range cooker and extractor hood (see in previous picture), Falcon.

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O’Brien quickly realised that using a dark grey for all the cabinets would make the kitchen overly dark, so the owners agreed to opt for units in a champagne colour on the opposite side of the room to brighten and balance the design.

A mid-height, wood-burning stove is an unusual design decision, but it fits perfectly in the original stone inglenook fireplace and allows the glow of the flames to be viewed from every spot in the kitchen.

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As this is a chef’s cookspace, as well as a family kitchen, the owners were keen to have a butcher’s block rather than an island as it’s much more versatile and can be moved around when cooking.

Discover more movable islands and butcher’s blocks for your kitchen

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Glossy cream bevelled metro tiles have both a contemporary and rustic look, which is just what was needed for this modern barn conversion.

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The chef in the house originally requested stainless-steel worktops, but the material didn’t marry well with the rustic feel of the kitchen. Instead, O’Brien persuaded him to go with Dekton, a practical composite material. Stainless steel was then used for the range cooker’s splashback.

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Having two sinks (one on each side of the kitchen) was also a must for the chef. “He wanted one for food preparation and one for washing,” says O’Brien. “There is also a tall swan neck tap for filling big pans and a Quooker 3-in-1 boiling water tap so no need for a kettle.”

Blanco Andano undermount stainless-steel sink, Blanco. 3-in-1 boiling water tap, Quooker.

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The old cowshed/barn links to the main house through the entrance pictured here. The sympathetic design of the cabinetry and the location of the main appliances creates a kitchen that looks like it was always meant to be there. The kitchen also manages to incorporate all the hi-tech features required for a modern-day professional chef.

“With its old shell, there has been lots of upcycling and recycling to get the look,” explains O’Brien. “The door up high came from one of the farm’s haylofts.”

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Another recycled door, this time from the original cowshed, creates a characterful storage cupboard. Cubbyholes are piled high with logs to fuel the wood-burning stove that helps to heat the kitchen.

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Original beams have successfully been incorporated into the renovated barn/cowshed. This part of the kitchen leads to a corridor that leads to a utility room, accessed through the glass door at the far end.

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The corridor off the kitchen is fitted with bespoke storage, created using the same Callerton cabinetry as the kitchen. “Each member of the family has a cupboard for their things and opposite is a study area,” says O’Brien.

What do you think of this old renovated barn or ‘byre’? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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