Having engaged an architect to reconfigure the entirety of their home’s ground floor – adding a single-storey extension, and opening up the rooms to create an open-plan space more conducive to a sociable family life – the Birches needed to find a kitchen designer who could balance their aesthetic and practical wish-list.
After just popping in to Diane Berry Kitchens for a little inspiration, two hours later the couple found themselves in no doubt as to who would realise their dream kitchen. “We took a blank floorplan with us, and some basic ideas about what we wanted to achieve,” explains Mrs Birch. “We wanted something that looked good, but was also highly practical and easy to keep clean. We knew we wanted it to be contemporary, but didn’t have a clearer idea than that. Diane discussed all the options, with no pressure, and we never looked back.”
“I was very lucky as the client came to me nice and early, and I was allowed to alter the architect’s design to create a more functional and fluid family space,” adds Diane Berry, owner and managing director at Diane Berry Kitchens. “There was a need for a low-maintenance design for this busy household, which also included Marley the dog, so surfaces which wouldn’t show drips and splashes were definitely required.”
To ensure a social space, the sink and hob were positioned on the island unit, so that anyone using them could also engage with friends and family in the dining and living areas. The wall units fulfilled the storage function, as well as hosting a bank of ovens and warming drawers. Style-wise, the open- plan nature of the space dictated a rather minimalist approach. “We built cupboards with slide-away doors for the coffee machine and toaster, to help keep the kitchen tidy and streamlined,” Diane explains.
To offset the minimalist aesthetic, and ensure a homely feel as well as a chic setting for entertaining, display elements were incorporated. “Alongside the wine fridge we added niche shelving for all the spirits and glasses, to give the feel of a bar,” Diane explains. “Additionally, floor lights and LED tape offer a mood lighting option, perfect for relaxing evenings in.”
At the same time, however, the design is uncompromisingly practical. Anti- fingerprint surfaces, a place for everything – including Marley’s bed, in the utility – and low-maintenance finishes all contribute to a very family-friendly feel throughout. It’s hardly surprising that this new space has brought the Birches together more as a family, transforming the way they live.Diane Berry | dianeberry.co.uk