Utopia    People 13 Apr 2017
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Mark Taylor speaks to Utopia about his personal style and the beauty of bespoke kitchens

Having gained a degree in furniture production and management, Mark Taylor received a scholarship to visit America and study American furniture factories before founding his own bespoke design and manufacturing firm.

Bespoke designs are often more expensive than an ‘off the shelf’ design. What would you say are the benefits for a homeowner when choosing to go bespoke?

Bespoke design gives you the ability to express yourself with different shapes and exciting materials. The emotional reward of having a kitchen that matches somebody’s very particular vision goes without saying. Functional excellence triumphs as well. A truly bespoke design is probably the only way to really optimise every element of the space. This doesn’t mean cramming tiny cupboards and drawers into every nook. Instead, it actively encourages people to make demands on their space, and to use their kitchens to suit their way of living, not just to take the space and fill the voids. Of course, bespoke design also means there’s the ability to t useful items or units into smaller or more awkward spaces, but that’s only one of many benefits. For aesthetic appeal and drama, bespoke designers can source and create shapes, textures, materials and pieces that make the kitchen look and feel seamlessly ‘yours’. Bespoke furniture craftsmen are also able to source unusual materials or finishes, so they will achieve results that standard designers and manufacturers can’t.

Is there a specific project you recall in which the brief was very specific or unique?

My daughter was working in a pub and whilst talking to a local found out he was unhappy with all the companies he had asked
to come up with kitchen designs. She said, “Why don’t you talk to my Dad”. After meeting with him, I realized that the kitchen design had to be something special. He had been very specific about his wants and needs and wanted to fall in love with cooking again. The design also had to work with the shape of the room and the large beams that were also being installed. A French farmhouse feel inspired the design. The curved cornice above the ovens gives the impression of an Armoire. The charming, round butchers block was bought by the homeowner and we incorporated this into the island cutting the worktop around it. He loved the design especially the random drawers on the island.

What kitchen trends will stand the test of time?

Simple shaker doors with or without an exterior frame will always be timeless. Even if the colour is indicative of the year, you can always re-paint them.

If the homeowner doesn’t have a particular vision for their kitchen, where do you recommend drawing inspiration from?

Magazines – there are so many publications available. Choose a style of magazine that best suits your life style and aspirations. Pinterest and Instagram are also great sources for inspiration. Initial meetings are a great opportunity to get to know your designer and bounce ideas around. It will allow them to get an understanding of how you live, especially if that meeting is in the space they are designing around. Your designer can always build on even a loose brief.

What is your own kitchen like, and what helped you select that design?

I have four children so function
was a dictating factor. Half the kitchen is at fronted for easy cleaning, and different height work surfaces make it useable for all ages – although my children are all older now. I fell in love with a granite work surface called Labradorite from Madagascar. So, the island was custom-made to fit.

What do you believe the future holds for kitchen design?

We have found that new designs are moving towards integrating the kitchen into a living space so the space becomes ‘a living space with cooking’ instead of ‘a kitchen with living space’. Although this sounds like a small change the emphasis is shifting to living space first and kitchen second. This means the designer’s brief and thinking leans towards a more integrated look.

Mark Taylor | marktaylordesign.co.uk/
Published in Utopia Kitchen & Bathroom Magazine