Designer    Feature 28 Sep 2012

Accent colours from Catherine Wilkinson and Harvey Jones transforms this Victorian property

Accent colours can be a useful design technique, but rarely are they used to such striking effect as in the case of this handmade, handpainted kitchen.

The owners went to designer Catherine Wilkinson of Harvey Jones with an architect’s plan for an extension to the rear of their Victorian property in South-East London. They wanted something a little different that would stand out from the crowd.

Despite the age of the main part of the house, the nature of the new extension suggested that the owners were aiming for a contemporary look within their design for open plan living. The plans for the floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading into the garden, and the geometric shape to the whole space, lent themselves to a simple and modern kitchen look.

“I wanted to create a very symmetrical look, which our Linear Range is perfect for,” explains Wilkinson. “Although the space was very much open plan, I still wanted to create a definite distinction between the kitchen and the other areas. It was also important to allow the kitchen to be used in the best way ergonomically, whilst maintaining the all-important aesthetics.”

Although this was a new extension, the back wall that the range runs along was an original Victorian wall and far from straight. Wilkinson worked around this, taking care to ensure furniture lined up with the floor tiles. The design also took the stainless steel splashback right up to the ceiling instead of stopping underneath the wall cabinets as originally planned because the curve was so pronounced that it would have shown along the top of the steel.

The bright hot pink colour of the furniture, the pink and blue of the range, and the starkness of the white floors, ceiling and Corian worktop, was a brave and stylish contrast that works beautifully within this open plan space.

The design of the continuous tiled flooring leading into the garden also creates an integrated area in which to sit outside when the glass doors are open, adding a seamless dimension to the overall scheme.

The inspiration for the bright colours used actually came from a business card. One of the homeowners was dining at the restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and picked up one of their cards which featured a startling luminous pink. Wilkinson explains: “We scanned this in order to create a paint colour, which came out great – although it took the painter three coats to build up the strength in colour!”

With the dark blue colour of the Lacanache range cooker in mind, this was then contrasted with a softer choice in colour for the other cabinetry.

There’s more to the cabinetry than first meets the eye too. Most of the linear pan drawers in the kitchen feature hidden oak cutlery/utensil drawers so you can keep the proportions of the drawer fronts the same – useful when trying to balance symmetry with clever storage solutions.

The back of the island features Harvey Jones’ large oak butler trays which break up the colour and make for a nice feature in their own right.

Wilkinson adds: “The hood is pretty special too.” Although there was a wall on which a hood could have been mounted, the suspended Elica Alba Cubo Island hood certainly adds to the overall design. “The soft lighting on this – coupled with the integrated LED lights under the wall cabinets – adds a certain level of ambience in the evening.”

It is a fresh and vibrant kitchen that fully delivers on the clients brief with a splash of colour that proves  that bold really is beautiful.

Harvey Jones |