Hemington House: A new kitchen that looks old!

charlotte pigeon portrait circle

We love the variety of our kitchen design projects and this was no exception. Our brief was to “design a kitchen that looks like it has been there forever”!

This was just one of a handful of unusual requirements to turn an unconventional kitchen area into a space of elegance and function.

The Brief

Our clients wanted a traditional style, based on how a Georgian kitchen might have been, to reflect the Georgian property. They also wanted all mod-cons included.

One of our biggest challenges was where to put the fridge freezer? They wanted an all-singing, all dancing American-style fridge-freezer, but hidden from view.

Charlotte spent lots of time coming up with different ideas to find the right balance of form and function.

In the end, the creative solution was to repurpose an existing walk-in pantry that had enough space to house the fridge-freezer.  We changed it from a single to a double door to improve access and created shelving for other larder items.

fridgefreezer nook hidden appliance
Cunningly hiding an American-style fridge-freezer in a walk-in pantry.

This freed up the rest of kitchen to be centred around the existing Aga – the focal point of the room.

Kitchen storage

We chose nice big drawers and cupboards on the same wall as the sink and hid the bin and dishwasher in the cupboards.

The kitchen cabinets were much deeper than normal to match the scale of the room which had nearly 3 metre high ceilings. Instead of the usual 60cm deep worktops we went to 80cm giving a huge amount of workspace and storage.

sink and cupboards
All cupboards and appliances were fitted onto one wall.

Our brief was very different to most of our projects – a kitchen design that doesn’t look to be too “kitchen”, but rather a room with built-in furniture.

The client didn’t want any wall cupboards, so we crafted a simple, single shelf for them to display their antiques and collectables. This gives an open, minimal and uncluttered look, and enhanced the elegant unfussy design.

The work surfaces and splashbacks were marble and imported from Italy, but there are pros and cons of using marble in the kitchen.

On the one hand, it looks really traditional and is great for pastry and other baking.

On the other hand, it is hard to keep clean as it stains very easily. Any acid –  such as red wine, vinegar or lemon juice –  eats into it instantly.

Our client wanted something that would age, though. Something that will add history to the house rather than stay perfect and let the kitchen start to tell its own story.

Marble work surfaces.

With that in mind, we used taps with a living brass finish which means they are not lacquered. Over time the taps, like the marble, will get age spots and tarnish as they are used.

While the kitchen looks new and shiny now, in a few years it will get a more worn-in and weathered look which was the absolute aim of the design.

Similar to when you use natural wood, the ageing process of the materials is part of the evolution of the kitchen.

The wall opposite the sink remained empty to make space for a large dining table. The client wanted the kitchen to become a space to gather for occasions without feeling too much like a kitchen.

We designed wood panelling on this wall to help balance the space and give it some texture so it didn’t seem neglected and wasn’t too busy. We carried the panelling into other areas of the house, like the hallways, to create a flow throughout the ground floor of the property.

bespoke kitchen handmade units

Beyond the Kitchen

The kitchen had been opened up to the adjoining room and another challenge for us was to make the archway seem more purposeful and connect the two spaces. It had a massive 40cm thick Georgian wall meaning there wasn’t much space for extra storage.

Our solution was to line the walls and archway with shallow storage cupboards. Most people ask for large cupboards, however, shallow ones are perfect for storing glassware, plates, food and display items as everything is visible and easily accessible.

The last space we looked at was a rather awkward pantry. It was very long and thin with the boiler and other utilities – much like a corridor. We couldn’t remove the wall and knock it through into the kitchen as the wall was structural.

Instead, we panelled and shelved one wall and boxed in the boilers at the end to create a new walk-in pantry and utility space.

Colour drenching the kitchen

Once we had figured out all the woodwork we turned out attention to colour schemes.

We spent a long time working out colours, understanding that it was crucial to the space to get it right.

In the end, we went for a colour drenching approach. This has become popular in recent years with everything in the room using a different hue of the same colour. We went a step further and painted everything the same colour: walls, cupboards, shelves, panelling and doors.

Colour drenching was the perfect finish to give a sense of calm and make the floor and fixtures pop out.

Both traditional and modern, this colour drenching approach really highlights the beautiful fixtures and oak floor. The colour acts as a calming influence and creates a soothing and harmonious space. It also created a backdrop to the clients’ artwork and heirlooms, so they become the focal point rather than the furniture. This also helps the furniture become part of the space rather than being placed into it.

Our brief was very different to most projects – a kitchen design that doesn’t look too “kitchen”, but rather a room with built-in furniture. Simple design can often be the most challenging, but we feel we have pulled off this elegant and classic kitchen design with aplomb.

Get the look

Paint is Dimity by Fallow and Ball.

Parquet Floor installed by Hicraft Flooring, Frome.

Marble surface & splashback supplied by Bath Granite & Marble, Frome

Cupboards made from English Ash and Oak veneer plywood inside by Frome Interiors.