Bespoke Handpainted Kitchen by Searle & Taylor


1 Searle & TaylorThe story: This new-build house is a timber-framed building with many exposed oak posts and beams, which needed to be taken into account when designing the new kitchen. The client did not want to cover them with units so this had to be carefully planned around.

The designer: Darren Taylor of Searle & Taylor (

Designer Q&A:

Q) What was the brief from the client?

The client wanted a very good quality handmade bespoke kitchen that was to be painted but keeping some natural wood aspects to complement the beautiful wood beams in the property. Initially the wood was to be oak to tie in with the ceiling beams, but we suggested walnut to give it a far more luxurious feel. I had used different timbers before in a previous kitchen design and it worked very well. High quality cooking appliances were specified and following client research, Gaggenau ovens and hobs were chosen.

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Q) How did you set about answering that brief?

We use a very detailed design brief that we worked through with the client. This asks every possible question about a kitchen with various scenarios. The client also had a scrapbook of all the pictures and ideas that she had found from magazines and online portals. All this information needed to be carefully assembled so that it worked in the style that we were planning.

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Q) Which products did you use and why?

The client wanted excellent quality throughout, and because of the complicated roomset this had to be a made to measure fully bespoke kitchen. Units were made at all sorts of non-standard sizes to work around the beams; something that could never have been achieved with ready-made off-the-shelf cabinets. This is an in-frame kitchen with traditional butt hinges; frame and fronts are 30mm thick tulipwood with concealed magnets to hold the doors shut. There are also concealed undermount drawer runners and veneered walnut carcasses. These were all handpainted on site using three coats of Valtti paint in Bottle Rack Grey. All the natural granite had to be laser templated due to the complexity of the curved island. We also added a full height integrated Liebherr fridge and freezer with icemaker, plus an undercounter wine cabinet in the island.

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Q) Was there any building/renovation work involved?

No, but we guided the builder and made subtle changes to his brief to make sure the kitchen functioned well. We suggested the window be built at a correct height to allow the granite worktops to run into the windowsill so no upstand was required, nor any awkward-to-clean areas behind the sink and taps.

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

The roomset with the natural oak beams together with the natural limestone floor is already a great setting, as this is a lifestyle space consisting of three roomsets – the kitchen is the central focus with a comfortable lounge area to one side and a separate dining area to another that both face into the kitchen so the space works together as one. We also created a very large fitted dresser with pocket doors behind the large dining table to complement the overall look. Pendant lighting over the island sets it off beautifully.

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Q) Any advice for someone who may be planning a new kitchen?

Start a wish list of everything you like without worrying about the detail, as an expert designer will be able to guide you through the process. Form your own scrapbook of ideas by using Pinterest, as this helps any designer to immediately comprehend what style you are looking for and the colour palette you require. Also, try and use a local company, as there can be many meetings throughout the design process and you really don’t want to be travelling for hours. Initially select maybe three different companies to meet with in detail. You will soon get a feel of who you believe will be right for you, as you will be working closely for a long time so you need to have the confidence that your chosen designer/company will deliver what you are asking or expecting.


The details:

Appliances by Gaggenau, Liebherr and Elica,,,
Sink by Franke,
Hot water tap by Quooker,

Hayley loves: the beautiful dresser unit with pocket doors, which combines practical storage with wow factor

Images by Paul Craig

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About Hayley Gilbert

Hayley Gilbert is a freelance interiors journalist with 20 years’ experience in the industry. Specialising in all things kitchens, Hayley has contributed to a wide range of consumer titles such as Beautiful Kitchens, EKBB, KBB, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and Ideal Home, as well as national newspapers including The Sunday Times.... @HaylGilbert /

  Email:  Hayley Gilbert


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