contemporary kitchen in Georgian house

Georgian house: kitchen 

features: minimalist Leicht kitchen, jerusalem stone tiling, cork flooring, corian and soaped oak worktops, artemide lighting

Our client for this project had taken on a big challenge: to transform a quirky and landmark Georgian townhouse from its slightly tired state into a sensitively 'modern' home with enduring design qualities. Along with local architect Richard Twinch she undertook major restoration and renovation works, including building a ground floor extension with a fantastic oval light-well as shown below. We were commissioned to work on the kitchen and bathrooms, which were required to be high spec but understated and timeless.

Working with Martin Williamson from In-House Design, we designed a beautiful Leicht kitchen that makes use of all available space. The kitchen is subtle, minimal and practical; all distractions are removed with handle-free doors and built in or concealed appliances, lending it a feel more of furniture than many kitchens.
The doors are lacquered in soft matte olive and vanilla, with a cream corian worktop and built in appliances including a gaggenau extractor and Leicht induction hob. The kitchen opens up into the new extension space with its spectacular roof light, and double doors link through to the garden.

The island unit is designed as a stand alone piece of furniture, reminiscent of a  trunk or chest with its soaped oak wrap-around worktop and finger joints. 

The architectural lighting (fixed on what was once a support beam for a dentist's chair that was located in the room above) is a classic artemide design by Michele de Lucchi, and spots built in to the cupboards and shelves provide valuable task lightning. The pale laquered cork flooring compliments the soaped oak, and this other natural element ensures the space is warm with character despite its clean lines. 

The corian sink  is inconspicuously incorporated in the worktop

a new arts and crafts - a maple kitchen - north oxford house

North Oxford house with an arts and crafts twist        


hand made kitchen in maple with crafted panels, pre mural.

The Parktown area of Oxford is a famous landmark site and this project was sited within one of the crescents that exists. The house was built in the late 1850's and was designed by Samuel Lipscomb Seckham using bath stone as the main building material. He was a surveyor who was commissioned by St John's college to develop the area. Should you wish to visit you will see that It is very reminiscent of the famous crescent at Bath, and was no doubt designed to air a similar grand quality.

The project was to be the total revamp of one of the houses in the crescent (in stages), and as such the owners had decided to commission us to 'lift its spirit'. This project was a total pleasure in many ways, as we both loved the house and its character. The house is set out over 5 floors, the piano nobile with the drawing room and dining rooms on the 1st floor with views over the Parktown gardens. Initially there was not a great deal of harmony in the house (design-wise) as it was split into several separate apartments at some point in its near history. This then meant having a total vision for the place, whilst staging the works and bringing the different spaces together again. Whilst first impressions of the house in this state would to many dictate a total 'rip out' and refurbishment, we felt, with the support of our clients, that a restoration approach could achieve more and retain the character of the property. Restoration is a gentler, but more intricate, complicated and sometimes time consuming project, but the end result is so much subtler and kinder to the house that we believe it is well worth it. It seems a shame for example to replace a lathe and plaster wall with modern plasterboard just because it is flatter - after all, the character of an old house is in the quirks (and ripping out old lathes always makes we think of the person who whittled each piece of timber individually).

Whist full of character, the house had been badly mistreated in some ways, and many of the period features were somewhat obscured. Its most notable features were the beautiful handrail that trailed throughout the floors; the tall glazed internal doors; the high ceilings with original cornice and the fireplace in the ground floor living space. The main carrera marble fireplace housed decorative Duncan Grant tiles and it was this detail that gifted us the idea of using art and craft to give the house an artisan feel, that it possibly once had. We wanted to take the core concepts of arts and crafts, but tweak and modernise, and see if the ethos and character could also work within a contemporary and modern sleekness. 

Many of the items that you will see throughout are either one-off or unique in someway. So, while we adapted some of the arts and crafts designs, we weren't faithful to them. In fact we gave the designs a modern twist, something that would sit alongside individual modern items and not look out of place.

It is a house like no other and so for inspiration we decided to visit Blackwell House, an arts and crafts exhibition house, situated in the Lake District, which houses a wonderful collection of relevant pieces. William de Morgan tiles adorn the fireplace surrounds in the large house. Also on show in the exhibition at the time, were lots of ceramic work. The hallmark of the arts and crafts period was the level of embelishment. Nothing was left blank and ordinary if at all possible. 

At the time of investigating where we should place our design, we came across an artisanal nature to the craft industry in Holland and in the UK.  Leading designers like Hella Jongherius, were bringing their passion for 'handmade' skills within modern production methods to the table. 

cowparsley splashback with led lighting

So it became quite clear, that within the make over, it wouldn't be out of place to acquire craft from other sources to sit alongside our own brand of arts and craft informed designs, and link through for a very unique experience.

initial design concepts

initial design concept 2 (island unit)

The project began at the deep end with the transformation of the kitchen and ground floor lounge area that ran into each other separated by 2.8m high glass double doors.

kitchen; The main features are the maple worktops,