By Linda Parker
Online cabinet company British Standard hand-makes authentic, simple cupboards for your homes, garage and workshops. With a showroom in East London, customers design their own layouts and order online with the help of British Standard team on hand throughout the process. The team is primed to guide and offer advice, either in the showroom or remotely. Cupboards are then supplied fully assembled, primed and undercoated ready to collect, fit and paint. We quizzed Design Manager Neil Stafferton about their processes, and show you one of their completed projects.
Q: What were the stand-out priorities in this particular brief from the client … to create a kitchen within a spacious and ‘clean’ interior for a development project
At British Standard, the projects we see are varied and very individual, as the customers are very hands on throughout the design process. One popular ‘must have’ is an island or worktable, which can be a great way to achieve additional worktop space and functional storage. We work with the customer to establish how the design could include such a design detail and steer the direction of the project based on these priorities. We often see conflicting priorities, in which case we talk through the options available to understand which one will best achieve overall success for the project. For this particular kitchen we helped the developer create a kitchen that was attractive, practical and which also enhanced the whole look and feel of the project.
Q: How did you set about answering each brief, what are your first design thoughts?
We would look to the architecture of the room to guide us. Our cupboards should complement a room and harmonise with it, without appearing overpowering and dominant. Proportion is an important concept that is often overlooked, in our experience! It’s one of the first considerations when including an island or worktable within a design. We ask questions … would it compromise the usability of the cupboards along the main run for example? Do we want to make a feature of the island or we can it to become more of a function than anything else? These are all areas for discussion when pulling together the various design and layout suggestions.
Q: Explain the reasons behind the choices of cabinetry and work surfaces …
Within this particular interior, the reclaimed Iroko worktops are a fantastic addition to compliment and contrast with the concrete flooring. When considering the worktop material, we’ll often look to the flooring as this always needs to work with the rest of the features of the property. Playing around with textures and condition of a material or piece of furniture can be greatly rewarding within a space.
Specifying an extensive run of drawers over the long back wall helps to focus the eye and really give the sense of lengthening the run – together with the painted ‘tide line’ as we call it. Additionally a ‘ribbon’ of top drawers creates a look often seen on refectory tables or workbenches and can look very smart in numbers.
Q: What are the main design elements that you think make this particular scheme so successful?
It’s often the subtle features that make a scheme successful, a little like the musical score to a film. The best ones typically go unnoticed! Remaining respectful to the architecture is the first consideration, always keeping an eye on balance and proportion. Materials play a big part, whether they’re in the form of worktops, ironmongery or appliances, they can each bring another layer to the overall feel. Paint colour can make or break a scheme. Here the island has been painted a lighter, neutral colour to allow the main run to draw the eye and ‘sing’. Finally a kitchen is a place of function. Living with a layout that works well and doesn’t leave you feeling stressed will again go unnoticed, but compliments and enhances the clients’ lifestyle.
Q: What is your best advice for someone who may be planning a new kitchen?
A great piece of advice I was given is ‘plan slow, act fast’. Often it’s the case that architects and builders are gnawing at your heels for design decisions, but it’s best to get it right in the first instance. Therefore we always say … take your time to plan and pull together all the design details that have inspired you. For a well-considered and successful design it’s crucial to pay particular attention to the balance, proportion and function of the kitchen.
We Love: The beautifully bold shade of yellow-gold-mustard used here is the stand-out feature. We also admire the way the layout has been kept simple and straightforward – providing plenty of useable storage and prep space, whilst resisting the temptation to over-fill the space with cabinets!
Cabinetry from British Standard Cupboards, 0207 870 7688 www.britishstandardcupboards.co.uk