There’s no doubt that designer, Howard Stubbs, was spoilt for space with the Harrison’s roomy kitchen, which was created by incorporating a number of outbuildings into an extension. But, as he explains, large spaces can create their own problems.
“We’ve successfully avoided simply filling the space with runs of boring cabinetry, and this could have happened if the homeowners had opted for an ‘off the shelf’ furniture brand with standard cabinet shapes and sizes,” he said. “Instead, everywhere you look there are interesting elements and every item of furniture has a specific purpose; it’s very much a case of style and function working hand in hand.”
The vast scale of the kitchen meant that some truly huge bespoke furniture pieces could be created. For example, the mantel spans not only a large range, but also symmetrical, extra wide, three-drawer cabinets either side of the Aga, yet the furniture still maintains a classic and graceful aesthetic.
Other large pieces include the tall tower units, designed to house the capacious double Fisher & Paykel fridge freezers. This piece of furniture also provides cupboard space above the fridge freezers as well as library shelving either side, for Andrew and Samantha’s extensive collection of cookery books.
“Just as with small spaces, a very large space can be a challenge,” continues Howard. “Particularly in terms of maintaining visual interest and keeping the working triangle to a reasonable and practical size.” Making such a large space work visually and with the right levels of functionality would perhaps have been very difficult if the furniture hadn’t been bespoke.
Standard cabinet sized and shapes would not only look lost in a room of such big proportions, but also monotonous. “Bespoke is a great option for a kitchen of this size,” Howard explains. “And it’s often far more reasonably priced than people think.” With the Harrisons’ kitchen cum social space ad hoc office, Howard & Stubbs have created an inviting and innovative living area ensuring the kitchen is the most frequented and loved place in the home.
There are no fewer than three seating areas, over two large islands. One island has integrated bench seating in washed oak with a freestanding dining table featuring matching washed oak supports and a glazed tabletop. There’s also an integrated washed oak breakfast bar. The adjacent island features an end-integrated table, used by the Harrison’s as a home workstation.
The cabinetry of of an Edwardian style, in keeping with the period of the property and features a moulded Shaker door design. It features natural washed oak and painted furniture finished in a variety of Farrow & Ball shades. The islands are painted in Pelt purple and the other furniture in Stony Ground No.2.
Now their children have flown the nest, Solicitor Andrew, and Samantha a Doctor, are free to enjoy the space their home offers – with extensive gardens, a swimming pool and gym – but they admit it’s the kitchen where they spend the majority of their time. And with a space this spectacular, can you blame them?
The two huge islands were expertly made with Accoya timber, which is an ultra stable, specially modified timber. Its level of stability is great for achieving a long-lasting, super smooth, factory spray-painted finish, since the timber won’t move due to temperature and moisture changes in the air, which can crack and spoil the paint finish. However, the granite used on the islands were both one pice section and required 10 men to lift! Heaven and Stubbs tried to ensure as few granite joins are used as possible, to achieve a smooth seamless finish.