Creating our perfect open plan kitchen/living space. Best Room Revamp Finalist 2019 UK Interior Awards
Open plan kitchen-2
Welcome, this is the second in a series of posts where I share the renovation of our barn conversion mews room by room. In March 2018 my family moved from our large 1930s town property to a barn conversion mews situated within church grounds in a quiet Lincolnshire Village. The property’s previous owner was an elderly lady with a penchant for chintz. Our new home was complete with blousy florals, beige sanitary ware, a cottage kitchen, pastel carpets and retro fit dark beams. Thankfully as an interior designer I could see beyond all of this and visualise how I could make our new home work for us.
I hope you enjoy what I share of our work so far and find some inspiration along the way.
We had moved into our new home four months before the builders arrived to transform our downstairs space. From the moment I first viewed the house I knew that for it to work as our family home we would need to create an open plan space from the small dark kitchen and an adjoining sun room. My “Church Farm Mews Kitchen” Pinterest board, was bursting with ideas and inspirational shots, one theme I gravitated towards again and again was the classic dark kitchen, brass handles, white marble worktops, to me this combination is an absolute classic. As well as having a functional element it was important to create a relaxation area where we could enjoy time with family and friends. A place for us to feast together, enjoy drinks and dance too, the kitchen’s always the place to be at a party right?
The starting point
I did lots of research online and decided to visit Wren Kitchens to discuss my plans for the kitchen. We decided on their Shaker timber doors in graphite matt from their Infinity Plus range, worktops and up stands came from local company Whitton Worktops. We’d found a local builder through recommendation who took the dividing wall down, fitted a huge steel RSJ and re directed the soil stack from the en suite above. All heating pipes and power supply were moved as necessary. Within a week the wall was down, walls plastered and floor levelled ready for the fun bit, the kitchen fit to commence. Wren delivered the ready built units, sink and appliances on time and the fitter started to bring my vision to life.
I’d decided on a bank of tall until, these would house a double oven and provide lots of larder storage too. I avoided wall cabinets as I was concerned they would make the room feel smaller and more kitcheney ! Instead I opted for floating marble shelves and kitchen rack from Rockett St George and left the remaining wall space free for art and interesting finds.
My aim when planning this space was for it not all to look brand new, a concept which was somewhat lost on the kitchen designer! Sticking to classic cabinetry and introducing salvaged and aged materials and pieces helped with this.
Having decided on the graphite doors and white marble worktops and dark flooring I was keen to introduce some interest, texture and colour. The kitchen was the perfect space in which for me to use a design from NLXL’s Tin Tile range, I’ve stocked these in my online store for sometime and had been desperate to use Brooklyn Tin Tiles No7. I used this super realistic wallpaper on the back wall and paired it with the newly launched Setting Plaster by Farrow and Ball. My husband found it most amusing that I was painting over freshly set plaster in a shade almost the same. Woodwork was painted in Farrow and Ball’s Worsted, as in the rest of the house.
Creating the lounge area
French doors in the living area of the kitchen lead onto the garden, I wanted to bring the outside in and chose Made’s Scott sofa in grass to do this, I’d admired this sofa for some time and knew it was the perfect addition to our family space. Having used LVT throughout the ground floor I knew that choosing an oversized rug would help to zone the area and give it a warmer feel, I chose Rug Vista’s Taylor rug for it’s great design and cream, black and pink colour way. I used a beautiful brass occasional table that I’d picked up in the Anthropologie sale along with Iconic Lights Arc floor lamp and an egg chair we’d had for many years.
A simple lighting scheme of white spot lights complemented by vintage style Orlando Cylinder lights from Industville above our island works well and are used with table lamps, candles and festoon lights to create a relaxed intimate evening vibe.
Sourcing fixtures and fittings
I chose simple brass cup handles and knobs from Wren, who also provided the brass mixer tap. We used Dowsing and Reynolds smoked gold switches and sockets to continue the look used throughout the house.
The wow factor came in the form of a piece of brass used as a splashback. Bought from a local metal company, the brass arrived in all its sparkling splendour, I wanted to achieve a more aged look so treated it with patination fluid to achieve a lovely aged patina more in keeping with the property. I’m so pleased we decided on this, it just gets better with age.
For continuity, we fitted Soak’s anthracite column radiators as in the rest of the property.
We used local business Direct Carpets who expertly fitted Camaro LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) throughout the downstairs. I love the flow created by choosing one flooring and running it throughout. It has proved to be super easy to look after, is warm underfoot and is very realistic.
Personalising the space
A salvaged antique glazed cabinet painted grey a few years earlier works perfectly in this space and is used to showcase my collection of vintage finds, treasured pieces and special photos. The collection has been edited to include green, white and wood items, with many interesting pieces, most of which have been bought over 20 plus years from car boot sales and flea markets. A piece of marble was cut to fit the top of the cabinet to echo that used in the kitchen. Soft furnishings and beautiful fabrics have been introduced in the form of lots of cushions on the sofa, favourites being Age of Reason Studio’s Love is the drug and Avalana Design’s Orange Blossom and my treasured House of Hackney footstool in their Hackney Empire velvet. Greenery, both real and faux connect the room to the garden beyond. Art by Desenio livens the space.
The floating marble shelves offer an opportunity to display both functional and decorative items including chopping boards, plants and the odd disco ball! The tin tile wallpaper is a great background on which to showcase one of my favourite pieces, my stunning Mukala Africa pink feather Juju hat.
When things don’t go to plan
Originally I’d designed the kitchen with an island, which would consist of graphite base cabinets and a white marble top. On a trip to Newark International Antiques Fair my husband and I found a handmade table, adapted from an industrial metal base of some kind and a salvaged wooden top. The table is adjustable and can be used at both table height and bar height, it was perfect for relaxed everyday dining. I removed the kitchen island from our order, this reduced the cost of the kitchen and gave us a truly unique piece. We paired the table with Industville’s metal and leather Turner stools which also adjust in height, it’s so flexible and is a fabulous centre piece and talking point.
Huge thanks to friend and talented photographer Alex who took these fabulous photographs to accompany my entry in the Best Room Revamp category of The UK Interior Awards earlier this year. Sadly I didn’t win on the night but I was super thrilled to be one of four finalists.
Product was kindly provided by a number of brands who I worked with to dress this room, the full cost of the renovation work and other items were paid for by myself.
Brands who have contributed include: