Graham and Susan Barnard, owners of Matrix Design, live in this 1970s house in Hertfordshire with their children Cerys and Miles (11 and 8 respectively), and Oliver the dog. The property has four bedrooms, is detached, and has a pool in the garden.
Where to start?
As a designer, Graham had a good idea of the scheme before he started consciously thinking about it. “I wanted something that incorporated the materials I love,” he says. “Classic materials such as wood for the floor and marble for the worktops. I wanted to use steel. I just love what it does as a transforming element when set against dark walnut. I also wanted to use brass. Again, I love its contrast with marble.”
As the space had to do so much, Graham came up with a smart way to compartmentalise it. The tall units act as a ‘wall’, behind which can be found the laundry room and walk-in pantry, one accessed from each side. Bi-fold doors make up as much of the external wall area as was structurally possible, so as to maximise the amount of natural light coming into the space.
Colours and materials
The cool tones of the stainless steel elements – not forgetting the smoked mirror cladding around the extractor housing – are tempered by the warmer natural materials: the dark walnut of the cabinetry and the herringbone floor, as well as the brass breakfast bar. “The palette was decided quickly,” Graham recalls. “As a kitchen designer for over 30 years, I had quite a good idea of the sort of elements and surfaces I wished to include.”
Moving downward, the timber herringbone floor contrasts against the sleek stainless steel cabinetry, both with its natural texture and patina, and its diagonal lines. The honey-toned warmth of the wood underfoot is echoed in the warmth of the brass used for the pocket door handles and the breakfast bar.
Graham explains that the brass breakfast bar is one of his favourite elements of the design. “I’m delighted that it’s aged so beautifully, which was our thinking behind leaving it un-lacquered,” he says. “It’s so soft, warm and inviting.”
Expert advice for your kitchen…
“Be bold. Think outside the box. It’s easy to get tempted by the same layout and colour schemes you see everywhere, but find the right designer and give them the confidence to experiment a bit. They’ll love the challenge and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.” Graham Barnard, owner, Matrix DesignMatrix Design | matrixkitchens.co.uk