When Graham and Susan Barnard bought their home, they didn’t intend to stay in it for long. The plan was to take the nondescript, run-down 1970s build and refurbish it to sell on, then move somewhere else – however, after settling in they found that the location suited their family very well, and their renovation plans shifted somewhat, as they started thinking about how the house could be modified to suit their own lifestyle.
The wish-list for their new kitchen involved a laundry room and a pantry, but space was tight, and after mulling over a few different layouts the couple decided that incorporating their garage into the main body of the house would help them get the space they needed.
But even with this extra square footage to play with, it was quite a job to t all the required elements in – as well as the separate pantry and laundry areas, Graham and Susan wanted a dining table for eight, a breakfast bar, and a small snug that would overlook the garden. The other challenge was to get enough light into the space. “We wanted light, lots of it,” recalls Graham. “So, we took out as many windows and walls as we could and replaced them with bi-fold sliding doors.”
The other requirement was to incorporate a number of appliances that the family already owned. “We had some fantastic appliances from Gaggenau and Wolf, such as an oven and a range cooker” explains Graham. “They may have been several years old, but they were still in full working order, and it just didn’t make sense not to use them – I couldn’t bear to just dispose of them for no real reason. It always pays to buy quality, as that will ensure the longevity of function as well as good looks.”
Graham and Susan were keen to come up with a design that would divert from the sort of room they had created for clients in the past, so some thinking outside the box was certainly required. “We wanted it to be unique, yet also functional and practical,” says Graham. “We also wanted to try to inspire our clients to be bold and experiment with colours, finishes and textures. We often use our own kitchen to demonstrate to clients what we do.”
“I love our new kitchen. It really has completely transformed the way the family eat, entertain, cook and relax. When we’re at home, we spend most of our time in that space, together. In short, it does exactly what good design should do – make life better.”
With a team of bespoke cabinetmakers at their disposal, the Barnards designed all the furniture from scratch, to suit their needs and the proportions of the space exactly. The island – which was a must- have, since the family loved the way that the one in their previous home’s kitchen had worked for them – was crafted in stainless steel with a Grey Marquina marble top, and an unlacquered brass breakfast bar was positioned opposite the sink. To maximise the sleek look, the stainless steel doors featured an integrated handle hidden in the trim. The tall bank of cabinets, which formed the ‘wall’ behind which the laundry and larder zones were located, were made in American Black Walnut, and feature brass pulls on their pocket doors.
The end result is a family-orientated room which demonstrates the power of bespoke design in creating the perfect space – despite the compact floor area, the not-insignificant wish-list, and the nondescript architecture of the house, this is a showstopper of a kitchen.Matrix Design | matrixkitchens.co.uk