What are the hidden rules in creating the ideal English kitchen?
Another British invasion is due to hit our homes, but it won’t be coming through the airwaves. Traditional English kitchen design is the next big thing and we don’t know why it hasn’t happened sooner. The Brits’ ability to reinterpret “old world” design achieves a relaxed, but just a tad reserved, kitchen space that you’d be chuffed to take tea, or make a Sunday roast in. To bring the easygoing warmth of the plain English kitchen into your home, just follow a few key secrets.
First, consider “closed concept”. For hundreds of years, English cottages kept the kitchen separate from the remainder of the home. To keep things cosy, add a wooden door with a wrought iron latch handle. If this is not possible in a more modern space, mark the kitchen with floors of flagstone, or clay tiles.
Of course, ample use of wood is an obvious sign of traditional English kitchen design. It harkens back to a simpler time. Shaker cabinets in a natural finish, or butchers’ blocks are clear ways to make this happen. However, if incorporating reclaimed wood is a possibility, do that! Ceiling beams and shelving made from the wood of old barns, factories and homes easily add heaps of rustic charm.
To offset the sense of “sturdiness” of hefty wooden pieces, include quaint and quirky accents. A vintage Persian rug, whimsical cabinet hardware in brushed brass or aluminum, a collection of mismatched vases and cosy chintz cushions work together to create a snug style. Also, open shelving is a great way to showcase multi-coloured ceramic bowls and (Royal Doulton) serving ware.
If you can’t really imagine yourself snuggled up by the fire in a home with a thatched roof, rain lashing at the windows and Bronte novel in hand, but like the warmth of a traditional English kitchen design, simply offset a classic backdrop with urban details.
Achieving the London look in the kitchen begins at ground level – with wide beam hardwood floors, topped with a neutral area rug. Working upwards, a dining table with Scandinavian lines, poured concrete countertops and all stainless steel appliances add a modern twist to the traditional setting. On the walls, contemporary cabinetry with smooth metal hardware keeps things in the now – but an exposed brick wall and some open shelving takes us back in time.
For lighting, edgy vintage styles right out of the Industrial Revolution capture the best of both worlds. Wall sconces in particular bring a kitchen back to a time when gas bathed Londoners in light.
Welcome to the new (old) English kitchen. Windswept moors not required!