As an interior and furniture designer I genuinely love all areas of design. I do however have two areas of passion and they are furniture and lighting design and one room where you can really have fun is creating a luxury bespoke kitchen. For one particular project, my clients gave me the brief of “sumptuous.” Fabulous. So sumptuous it was.
For all of my furniture designs I create the original design drawings and select the veneers myself. This can take me all over the place to specialist veneer companies, but it is one of the most important steps in creating something special- you wouldn’t create curtains without selecting the fabric.
For this particular kitchen I wanted something rich and highly figured such as a burr – elm, oak, walnut or something exotic (which is what I was using elsewhere in the property).
Wandering through this particular warehouse, I stopped in my tracks when I spied a pile of the most amazingly figured veneer I have seen. The burr is caused by disease in the tree so you never know what you’re going to get until the sheets are made. These were exceptional, I had to have them. When we laid them out in panels, aligned to how the kitchen would be, I realised that we could make each door something special.
I always like to make sure that my clients approve each step, involving them in the process as much as they want to be, so that I am confident that they will love the final result as much as I do. We made a sample door, with several different finishes to discuss with them. I was thrilled that they wanted to go with burr. To tame the exuberant patterns, I edged each panel with an ebony beading. Not what one would expect to find in a kitchen but these were special.
While the cabinets started to grow, I selected some amazing sheets of Carrara marble, had them book matched along the leading edges and made the counter tops a really good thickness. Unless it’s a contemporary scenario, I’m not too keen on mean looking counter tops.
I selected hand-made handles to set off the rich door fronts. All of the drawers fitted are dovetailed, all of the hinges are bronze- none of those kitchen hinges that make me flinch when you open the door- I totally understand why they’re used, but find them very ugly.
The bread bin is so perfectly fitted that when you gently push it back into place, you can feel air softly expel from the opener!
For the centre lighting feature, I created a fitting using crystal glasses mounted in a matching fitting. They are lovely and twinkly and a little bit of whimsy. As a breakfast table I used marble again. This time from India, from the same quarry as the Taj Mahal and crafted by descendants of the workers who built it.
The clients own collection of Indigenous art sits incredibly well, the texture and warm colours mellow against the timber. I brought in Indian rugs, though the floor is 200 year old oak from a tobacco factory in the Loire and is delicious in is own right. The Phillip Starck chairs were perfectly stylish and undemanding in this setting.
The clients are as thrilled as I am with the result. It is a joy to be able to able to orchestrate such beautiful materials. I feel as though those delicious veneers that we found have been given a very good home!