From the very outset, housewife Bridget Harding was clear what she wanted from a new kitchen for the family home, a six-bedroom house in Hampshire. Bridget had already set her heart on a Mark Wilkinson Furniture kitchen after seeing examples of the late influential designer’s work in magazines.
“I pretty much knew what I wanted; a modern country kitchen – not too traditional, but definitely hand-painted,” explains Bridget. “I didn’t want a high-gloss, fashion-statement kitchen. You can repaint a hand-painted kitchen if, in a few years, we want a change.”
The new kitchen formed part of an extension project, which involved taking down a conservatory at the back of the property to make way for an orangery. A large family space with plenty of light was the objective. David Pike, senior designer at Mark Wilkinson Furniture, set about the brief, which included a substantial kitchen island, Aga cooker and large fridge on the list of must-have features and appliances.
David recalls, “Mr Harding made it clear that it was his wife’s kitchen; he wanted her to have whatever she wanted, so long as it was right. Mrs Harding wanted a style that matched the house. I introduced her to Mark Wilkinson’s New England style, which is a quintessentially classic design with a modern twist. And the square, glazed panels in the wall units matched the square windows, so were a perfect complement to the look of the house. This wasn’t just a kitchen that had to look good; Mrs Harding is a keen cook and often entertains quite a
lot of guests, so it had to work hard too. I can’t stress too much that this was a client who knew what she wanted. She had done her homework. My job as a designer was to provide what she wanted,” adds David.
The project wasn’t without its hurdles. A wall had to be removed requiring the support of a lintel and pillars, plus some nib walls. Part of the space taken up by the old kitchen became a separate, large utility room and the two spaces needed integrating successfully.
“There were some challenges, mainly with fitting everything into the space available, but we got it to fit in with some careful design work – and it looks superb,” says David. “The client tells me that she is delighted with her kitchen; she has got exactly what she wanted with no compromises.”
And Bridget wholeheartedly agrees; her clear and precise brief and the great rapport with David has paid dividends. “He seemed to understand exactly what I wanted and helped me to achieve it, and the New England style is timeless – and yet, with granite and marble tops. it has a very modern feel,” she comments. “It’s my dream kitchen – I am delighted with it. As a family, we spend all of our time in the kitchen now. We have sofas, a woodburner, casual tables and a television in there, and wonderful views over the garden. We hardly use the rest of the house. We do of course use the other rooms on occasions like Christmas.”
For the full story, pick up a copy of Utopia Kitchen and Bathroom’s April 2018 issue, here.
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