Tony Lister, senior designer at Simon Taylor Furniture, reveals how the company created a timeless design with traditional overtones and modern conveniences for a brand-new self-build home. Photos by Darren Chung.
Q: Tell us about this project – who were your clients and what sort of property was it in?
A: The clients are a young professional couple with a young child. The property is a new self-build house on a site where the previous dilapidated property had been torn down.
Q: What was your general brief? Was there anything the clients had their hearts set on?
A: They wanted a classic traditional kitchen with lots of detail, but they also wanted contemporary cooking appliances to fit with their busy lifestyle so we specified a Miele pyrolytic oven, a combination microwave and a warming drawer in an appliance bank and as opposed to having overhead extraction, we incorporated a Novy Panorama PRO 90 Vented Downdraft Induction Hob in the centre of the island.
Q: What was behind the choice for the cabinetry?
A: Our clients had been researching their perfect kitchen for a long period of time and they wanted something classic that wouldn’t age and would sit comfortably with their other architectural details such as the coving and architraves. We designed and made a traditional in frame handpainted kitchen with raised and fielded panel doors and end panels with symmetrical framed pilasters on each corner of the extensive island.
Q: A simple two-tone colour scheme was chosen – why was this?
A: Because the kitchen is part of a much larger open-plan family room, the long cabinetry had to blend with the rest of the overall space, which is painted in Dimpse by Farrow & Ball, while the 3m x 1.3m island was to be the main focus and that is painted in Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball.
Q: What should you avoid when using a two-tone colour scheme?
A: It has to be considered. Either go for one strong statement piece in a contrasting finish or have key elements throughout. If it is put in haphazardly through the design, it can seem ill-considered and it won’t work.
Q: What was your biggest challenge when working on the project?
A: The clients wanted a kitchen that looked as if it naturally fitted within the fabric of the building so cabinetry was all the way up to the ceiling and we had to create a design that included coving runs above that, plus they had to complement the skirtings. Our clients wanted the kitchen to be completely symmetrical so the challenge was at the installation stage as we had to conceal part of staircase behind cabinetry, ensure that the island and cabinet runs were totally balanced, and that the coving was perfect.”
Q: Simon Taylor Furniture prides itself on its bespoke offering – tell us about the design flourishes in this kitchen that set it apart from others.
A: The kitchen island is not a standard size and width, so we had to ensure all cabinetry was made to fit with the unusual dimensions, whilst also being completely symmetrical. We also designed the pilasters to the clients’ exact specifications and we incorporated the same ogee detail as the doors in the ‘letter box’ section. In order to match the room skirting profile we had a new tool made bespoke for us so that we could machine the furniture skirtings exactly.
Q: What is the client's favourite bit now that the project is finished?
A: They love the overall feel of the kitchen and how well it works for the family. They were especially happy with how the coving runs around the top of the cabinetry helping to make the cabinets feel integral to the fabric of the property.
Q: How about your favourite element?
A: I really like the overall scheme and how well it fits with the feel of the house. However, my favourite element is the island and witnessing the amount of work and craftsmanship that went into making the cabinetry at our cabinet workshop in Bierton, even down to the dovetail drawer boxes.