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Kitchen Tour: Retro Cool Meets Clean Lines in a Wood and White Kitchen

Iroko wood doors with bespoke retro handles create a distinctive old-school vibe in this light and airy kitchen extension

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

When the owners of this London Victorian terrace were planning their new kitchen, there was no room for deliberation, because they knew exactly what style and palette of materials they wanted from the outset.

“They had an image from a magazine of an iroko kitchen that they’d fallen in love with,” says Helen Munro of kitchen company Finch London. “They like the retro 1950s/1960s/1970s look, so that was the clear goal from the outset and it’s reflected throughout the house.”

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A professional couple with two children
Location Tufnell Park, north London
Kitchen dimensions 4.65m x 3.3m (9.2m x 5.5m including the utility room and living area); part of a Victorian end-of-terrace house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
Designer Helen Munro of Finch London

The light and airy open-plan kitchen is the hub of this Victorian terraced home. Originally, the house had a standard half-width extension at the back and was subdivided into smaller rooms, but the owners removed the divisions and built out full width to create one big kitchen and living space.

“The clients’ main desire was to create a big, bright, multi-functional space where the family could be together doing different things at the same time,” explains designer Helen Munro.

The kitchen centres on a large island unit, kitted out with storage and appliances, with bold orange glass pendant lights overhead.

The large area to the right is now furnished with a sofa and dining table and has full-length glazed doors leading directly to the garden.

Fridge-freezer, LG. Dishwasher, Bosch. Ridged-glass pendant lights, John Lewis.

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The original kitchen was located in the back part of the living room in a very dark and enclosed space. It was in need of total modernisation, with most of the fixtures dating back to the 1970s.

The owners decided on flat-fronted, honey-coloured timber doors offset with a 20mm-thick, pale engineered stone worktop.

“They always wanted a slightly retro look without going too kitsch,” says Munro. “The cupboard designs are slightly nostalgic, but with a clean, modern feel. The doors are made from an iroko veneer finished with a matt lacquer, with solid iroko handles, which are much darker.”

Blanco City worktop, Silestone.

Discover the best worktop material for your kitchen style

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To the left of the fridge-freezer is a larder with internal drawers and a handy spice rack on the door.

“The whole interior of the kitchen is made from an MFC [melamine-faced chipboard] called Natural Plum,” explains Munro. “The colour is darker than the wooden doors.”

MFC in Natural Plum, Egger.

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Circular handle pulls made from solid iroko create a personalised look. “I love the bespoke handles,” says Munro. “I designed and commissioned a wood turner near our workshop to craft these. I think they really make the kitchen.”

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The neat, tailor-made wall and base units make the best use of space. Munro worked around original structural features, such as the old chimney breast, by designing deeper-than-usual cabinets.

Range cooker and extractor fan, Britannia.

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The main run of units features masses of storage, including two double-door wall cabinets for mugs and glassware and big sets of drawers for stashing pots and pans.

Large, neutral floor tiles are cosied up with underfloor heating.

Terra floor tiles by Casa Dolce Casa, World’s End Tiles.

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The clean-lined retro look is enhanced by the simple white metro tiles (with a grey grout for definition) and the owners’ collection of vintage green glassware and Fat Lava ceramics, mainly sourced from eBay and vintage stores.

Tiles, Fired Earth.

How retro is your style? Find out here

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The focus of the kitchen design is the large island unit, which is topped with a matching Silestone work surface and double farmhouse sink.

“On the cooking side, the island has a single-door base cabinet, a fully integrated dishwasher, a double sink cabinet and two pull-out bins,” says Munro. “There are then two double-door, shallow-depth cabinets on the back.

“We went for an L-shaped overhang as this creates a more sociable seating arrangement than the usual ‘in a row’ format.”

Sink, Shaws of Darwen. Chrome tap, Gessi.

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Spacious drawers provide ample storage for crockery, pots and pans.

Do you like the retro vibe of this open-plan kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
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