FRENCH GREY: Pale, spacious, and supremely elegant painted kitchen by Brayer Design


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Barry SawyerBrayer Design has a family cabinet-making history dating back to 1918, and specialises in the creation of beautiful handmade furniture for kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, wine cellars and media rooms. Brayer Design builds and installs their bespoke furniture throughout South West London and North Surrey, with all timbers and veneers supplied from sustainable sources. Lead designer Barry Sawyer gave us the background to this gorgeous painted French Grey kitchen.


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

The homeowner wanted the style and simplicity of the traditional country kitchen, echoing the period charm of their Victorian property. They also wanted a contemporary twist on the traditional country kitchen, with unique character and timeless appeal. The space wasn’t huge, so it had to be practical, open plan, and with plenty of storage flowing seamlessly into the dining area. We also had to incorporate the existing dark hardwood flooring. Working with a lighter kitchen colour palette would make the most of the natural light coming in from both ends of the house.

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

After the brief, we began to work out possibilities. We suggested floor-to-ceiling cabinets, which on a practical level would prevent dust-traps and emphasise the lovely high-ceilings. Adding small glass display cabinets to the top row would add traditional charm. We made sure our design featured plenty of storage, including a tall glassware and crockery cabinet and a pantry cupboard with a breakfast station to house small appliances and keep the surfaces clutter-free. After a number of suggestions of colour schemes that would both add light and work well with the dark hardwood floors, the client settled on ‘French Grey’ by Little Greene Paint Company.  

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

Shaker cabinets were high up on the client’s wish list – they had seen our Shaker designs and preferred a classic style that would work with their period home. Little Greene’s French Grey seemed like the ideal shade, connecting both traditional elements and modern features, without sapping too much light from the room. The decadent marble-effect Statuario Grey Composite Marble surfaces of the waterfall island and kitchen countertop, in opposition to the minimalism of the Shaker cabinets, added another layer of interest and contrast to the otherwise subtle design.

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

Structurally, this Victorian terrace had been opened up to create an open plan kitchen-dining area. These works had been scheduled before we began our work on the kitchen. We liaised with the architects and builders throughout to make sure that our proposed design would work in the space. Victorian houses can sometimes be a bit narrow inside, so our biggest concern was making sure that there was enough space on either side of the island to open appliance doors and to provide ample moving-around space. A slightly narrower, longer island design that made use of the length of the room solved this problem.  

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

It’s the little things that make all the difference and in this design, that’s hard to argue with. The copper hardware, the traditional-style handles on the cabinets doors along with the copper industrial style pendant lighting with bulbs, all work together to make a room that’s really special. The reason we think these accents work so well is because they stand in warm contrast to the cool shade of the cabinets and worktops, whilst bringing the rich character of the dark wooden floorboards into play. And, as mentioned earlier, the contrast of the luxurious marble effect surfaces of the island, splashback and worktops alongside the clean Shaker cabinets really works too and makes it feel like a really sophisticated yet welcoming space.      

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

Make a list of your priorities. Define what’s an absolute must, what are things you’d really, really like and what things would you like but could live without. Your kitchen designer will be able to talk you through all these ideas and maybe offer some alternatives, especially if budget is an issue. If you can provide your kitchen designer with a clear idea of what sort of styles you like and, in turn, what sort of things you’re not so keen on, your designer will be able to hit the ground running with your design.

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Q: What aspect of the kitchen design was the client most pleased with?

They loved how all the different design elements worked so well together within the space. The pantry/coffee station was a much anticipated luxury that they couldn’t wait to use! Our clients were also very complimentary about the build quality and flawless installation, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be able to fully enjoy their new kitchen with family and friends for many years to come.  

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WE LOVE: The Statuario marble composite used for the worksurfaces and vertical sides of the island – a stunning choice!

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Bespoke cabinetry by Brayer Design,  call 020 8397 1111 for a design appointment.

Cabinet colour: French Grey, The Little Green Paint Company

Worksurfaces, island and splashbacks; Statuario grey composite marble, from Brayer Design

Handles and hardware, from the Cotswold Collection by Armac Martin, from Brayer Design

Pendant lights, Buster & Punch

Range cooker, Falcon

Integrated appliances, Siemens

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About Linda Parker

Interiors & Lifestyle Writer and Content Provider, who is currently extremely keen on rationalising storage spaces and decluttering her home to accomodate the ever-expanding collection of house plants...

  Email:  Linda Parker


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