Bespoke Painted Timber Kitchen By Christopher Howard



The designer: Alison Howard at Christopher Howard (

The story: Christopher is a third generation cabinet maker. His great grandfather worked just off the Royal Mile high street in Edinburgh while his grandfather worked in a high-class furniture making shop in Canonmills. The love and art of creating beautiful furniture has been passed down through these generations and Christopher opened his own workshops in 1990. He understands the beauty of wood and how furniture can transform spaces to be cherished for years to come. The designing power behind their bespoke kitchens and furniture is Alison. With over 28 years of experience she takes great care in designing functional yet stunning pieces, creating spaces that are as unique as their clients.

Designer Q&A:

Q) What was your brief from the client?

Our clients’ dream was to completely refurbish a property to create a bespoke family space. When a dilapidated barn came on to the market, the opportunity to turn it into their own, unique home was too good to miss. They wanted a chic, calm and functional family space and provided me with a wishlist, briefed me on their daily habits and explained their likes and dislikes so I could give them the kitchen of their dreams.

Q) How did you set about answering that brief?

The key is to respect and listen to your clients. From the brief I understood that the kitchen was to be both a cooking and entertaining space; modern yet accommodating some original features from the barn. Following the initial consultation we stayed in touch, as the project was evolving.

Christopher Howard

Q) Which products did you use and why?

The client asked to use both concrete and wooden worktops within the kitchen area. Choosing the right material taking into consideration textures, feel and durability is the key. To complete the look our client wanted an Everhot range cooker that combines great looks and a fantastic cooking experience. I suggested getting a Quooker boiling water tap and a DishDrawer dishwasher from Fisher & Paykel, as both brilliantly meet everyday demands and look great.

Christopher Howard

Q) Was there any building/renovation work involved?

Turning this dilapidated barn into a family home was an amazing project to be part of. The stone wall in the kitchen was the barn’s external wall and reusing the original door was a great way to bind old and new within the same space.

Christopher Howard

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

I think what makes this scheme a success is incorporating modern, clean looks with warm and traditional materials. It’s neither country nor city – it is my client’s unique, dream kitchen.

Christopher Howard

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

Design your kitchen to meet the purpose. You can invest in a stunning kitchen and still hate using it. Take your habits into consideration and don’t forget about small things like sockets and switches, recycling and food disposal. Creating a realistic wishlist and setting up a budget is always a good starting point.

The details:

Cabinets by Christopher Howard,

Worktops in oak and quartz also supplied by Christopher Howard

Cooker by Everhot,

Fridge freezer by Samsung,

DishDrawer dishwasher by Fisher & Paykel,

Sink and taps by Franke,

Boiling water tap by Quooker,

Flooring Neranjo tumbled limestone tiles from Ca’ Pietra,

Lighting (island) Lise pendant lights by Cox & Cox (over table) Bulb Attack suspension light from Achica ( (wall lights) St Ives Eye downlight from Garden Trading,

Christopher Howard

Hayley loves: how the designer has created warmth and a homely feel in what could easily have been a cold space.

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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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