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Kitchen Tour: Relaxed Shaker Style with a Clever Under-stairs Larder

A perfectly placed Shaker kitchen that makes brilliant use of the space

Houzz UK Editorial Staff. I’m a freelance journalist with more than 13 years’ experience… More

This elegant kitchen forms part of an open-plan barn conversion and provides a subtle backdrop to an eclectic family home. Jane Denton of Sustainable Kitchens was brought in to construct a functional cooking area that centres on an attractive island. The kitchen’s location next to the stairs could have posed a problem, but instead Denton has used the area effectively to create a comfortable and practical space.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A professional couple with two young children
Location A village just outside Bristol
Property A converted barn
Size 4.2m x 3.8m
Designer Jane Denton of Sustainable Kitchens
Photography Charlie O’Beirne

“This was a lovely project to work on,” Jane Denton says. “The clients knew what they wanted and were very clear from the start. That made it easy for us to design their ideal kitchen.”

This simple Shaker cook space is part of an open-plan living area on the ground floor of a converted barn. “It had only just been done, so we had a blank canvas,” says Denton. “Our brief was to design a Shaker kitchen with an island, and make use of the under-stairs area to build as big a larder as possible.”

The central island is the focal point of the room, and comprises a Belfast sink that sits above a drawer that can be pulled out for easy access to the bins. On the left are three drawers, and to the right is an integrated dishwasher.

Bianco Puro engineered quartz worktop, Arena Stone. Double Belfast sink, Shaws.

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On the other side of the island is a cupboard next to a breakfast bar. The oak panelling underneath contrasts well with the painted grey exterior. “As it’s the main hub of the room, we usually encourage clients to choose a richer colour for the island,” says Denton. The warm blue allows the furniture piece to stand out from the neutral perimeter walls and units.

The floor appears to be wooden, but is in fact made of porcelain tiles. “They’re designed to look like wood, but they’re more hard-wearing and don’t have the moisture problems that wood presents,” says the designer.

Island painted in Down Pipe; wall units painted in Pavilion Gray; cornicing painted in Dimpse, all Farrow & Ball.

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The builders constructed a faux chimney above the range cooker to give a traditional finish, and Denton completed the look by adding some cornicing.

The designer brought the cooker out slightly from the wall to give more room to the cupboards either side. The units are flush with the front of the oven, but are slimmer than average. However, with a 400mm depth, they still provide ample storage.

SYD4110i range cooker with induction hob, Smeg

Check out these things to consider before investing in a range cooker

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“The larder was the biggest challenge,” says Denton. “We had to get the gradient exact for it to work, so all our measurements and templates had to be accurate.”

It’s constructed like the rest of the kitchen units, with an oak frame and internal carcass. However, unlike the company’s usual cabinets, not all the shelves are adjustable. “The top three shelves are fixed in place to give the larder plenty of support,” explains Denton. “Then the bottom two are adjustable.”

The rear is oak panelling, made like the rest of the unit from American white oak, which doesn’t need to be treated.

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Next to the larder cupboard is an integrated fridge-freezer (not seen here), which has been built to fit neatly in line with the adjacent unit.

ICUS 3314 fridge-freezer, Liebherr.

Discover how to make more of your staircase

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“The simple kitchen has been designed to complement the other elements in the large space, rather than to be the focal point,” Denton explains. It provides an elegant backdrop to the cosy, eclectic living area.

A beautiful wooden dining table is tied in to the kitchen area with the addition of blue chairs. The cool hues in the kitchen and dining space help to zone the area and separate it from the warmer tones of the living room.

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The floorplan shows the kitchen in relation to the rest of the open-plan room.

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The positioning of the island was key to making the kitchen work well. “We moved it around a lot, just by millimetres,” says Denton. “We needed to get the right amount of space between the cooker and the sink without condensing the other side.”

The staircase protrudes into the room, so the island’s positioning also had to avoid a pinch point there. The final location is 1m from the range cooker, which left 1.1m between the larder and island.

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The bottom drawer on the island is larger than the others to provide enough room for pots and pans.

Satin mushroom knobs and satin pulls, Armac Martin.

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