Good Wood Looks


This spectacular WoodLiving kitchen with oak island, thoughtfully planned in a new extension, looks light, airy and spacious

By Linda Parker

WoodLiving, based in Kent, takes inspiration from the rural setting and produces kitchen designs that embrace dramatic statement centre pieces as well as understated and practical designs that are destined to become the heart of the home. Design Manager Michael Abrahams ensures each project is individually crafted using sustainable and high quality solid timber, including oak. ‘Our skilled team understands the importance of quality and craft every item with precision and attention to detail’ he says. He explains the processes behind this cream and oak kitchen, designed for a Birmingham home.

Q: What were the stand-out priorities in your brief from the client?

The brief was straight-forward. In terms of design, our clients wanted a clean, light, bright and airy kitchen, keeping it simple and elegant with muted tones on the cabinets and worktops.

The main priorities were the bespoke area around the main range cooker, which included a built-in extractor and mantel surround, as well as the detailed feature island unit in solid oak with turned legs. They have a large extended family and so it was important for him to have a large island unit with a breakfast bar and seating.  They also requested a separate food preparation area, positioned away from their main kitchen area in a secondary utility space. This area, with a Smeg range cooker, provided useful extra cooking capacity, and allowed the main kitchen area to be a social, entertaining space.

They also wanted the kitchen to have a traditional feel to complement their existing period property. They were delighted with the end result as their kitchen has a natural, free-flowing ambience with a vista straight into the garden through the bi-fold doors.

Q: How did you set about answering that brief, what were your first thoughts when you saw the space to be used? 

It was a large space with lots of natural light via skylights, sash windows and the large bi-fold doors into the garden. We wanted to not just meet their brief but to exceed their expectations. The layout was fairly straightforward with the additional preparatory kitchen in an adjacent room off the main space then units on both sides of the main room and a large island in the centre but by adding lots of bespoke touches such as the glass doors on the cabinets and the carved legs on the island, we made it unique and personal. The handcrafted kitchen, made in our local Kent workshop by local craftsmen was also installed by us and took around four weeks to complete from start to finish.

Q: Explain the reasons behind the choices of cabinetry and work surfaces, regarding colour, style and texture …

We created a stunning mantle over the range cooker by using bespoke, tall countertop cabinets and adjacent tall cabinets with glass doors to mirror the adjacent bi-fold doors into the garden. For the colour scheme we mixed a classic cream paint with luxurious oiled oak which gave the room a rich, natural feel and we wanted to ensure it wasn’t too stark and clinical. Our clients wanted the kitchen to be inviting and warm as well as clean and bright and I feel we achieved this balance by using a warm, creamy colour palette.

Q: Were there any structural or layout problems that you had to overcome?

This was a new extension that the client had added onto their home, the layout was very spacious offering a completely blank canvas so there were not really any challenges in that respect, we had a crisp, clean space to work with!

Q: What design elements do you think make the scheme so successful?

The island unit is very obviously the heart of the kitchen and is a communal place where guests can sit and chat to their hosts while they prepare a meal or where the children can sit and do their homework. Positioning the sink centrally between the two sash windows, which were painted in the same colour as the kitchen, creates a beautiful element of symmetry. The oak shelf on the oven surround and extractor housing breaks up all the cream and ties in with the oak island unit.

Overall, we handcrafted approximately thirty bespoke kitchen cabinets for both rooms. We use ethically sourced, sustainable wood and pride ourselves on going over and above for our clients. We are truly bespoke and can offer precise dimensions and styles of cabinets that you would not necessarily find elsewhere. We are also competitively priced and put a huge emphasis on paying attention to detail and customer care. We also know that our installation team are endlessly precise and accurate, so the final look is perfect.

Q: What is your best advice for someone who may be planning a new kitchen?

Think carefully about how you and your household will use the space. Consider what you would like to do in the kitchen and how long you are likely to be spending in there on a daily basis. Also consider easy movement around the room e.g. putting the fridge a short distance from the oven and hob so you don’t have to walk right around the room to get something out of the fridge whilst cooking. Think about colours, finishes and styles – it is important to consider lighting, both natural and artificial, at this point too as it will affect the way the colours look and feel.

Q: What aspects and design features of this kitchen delighted your clients the most?

The family were over the moon with their new kitchen, and they were particularly happy with the oven-extractor-canopy feature! They appreciated all aspects of the finished kitchen; the room is bright with multiple tall swivel doors that let in a lot of light, there is also a large sky light as well as large sash windows. The clients had requested that the centre island was crafted out of solid oak with turned legs which were designed in the WoodLiving Kent workshop. Our skilled craftsmen also made a solid oak extractor shroud mantle with curved oak corbels, all made in-house and made-to-measure. 

We Love: The oak island unit, and the use of space in the new extension that provided room for a secondary prep kitchen – for ultimate cooking convenience!

All design and installation by WoodLiving  Tel: 01227 286535

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About Linda Parker

Linda Parker
Interiors & Lifestyle Writer, who’s spare time is currently spent planning storage strategies for the new house

  Email:  Linda Parker


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