Kitchen Design 2018 (… as Inspired by Brighton’s Best Wine Bars)


Mike James is a regular contributor to The Kitchen Think, and lives in Brighton. Here, he discusses how the design of some of Brighton’s best wine bars inspired his kitchen redesign – implemented in stages over the last few years.

2017 was the year of industrial-chic and minimalist-cool. As a complete sucker for interior design trends, you’d be right to assume that my kitchen was sporting lots of brushed copper, filament bulbs and strictly no handles on any of the cupboard doors.

Luckily, the timeless parquet floors and classic worktop we bought from Chandler Stoneworks, near Brighton last year have needed no updates to stay chic, but each season I like to keep an eye out to make sure I can harmoniously tie new styles into the what we already have.

I’ve learnt the key to this is assessing what’s going on elsewhere in my environment (which is basically just a ruse to frequent my favourite cafés, shops and hotels and convince myself that it’s “for research”). This year? I mulled over my options while sharing a cheese board and an excellent glass of Beaujolais with a friend… and then it came to me. The secret to 2018’s interior design style can already be spotted in the refined tastes of wine bars. Probably.

1 plateau bartholemews brighton

Source: Restaurants in Brighton


Plateau, Bartholemews, Brighton

The original inspiration for this venture is Plateau, a truly charming restaurant and wine bar that has been serving up French-styled romance in the Brighton lanes for many years. Not only do they have one of the longest wine menus in the city, but their sharing plates make it the perfect spot for unwinding with a group of friends in the early evening or cosying up with a loved one for dinner.

The ambience at Plateau carefully balances fresh design with rustic warmth, and I’ve long been enviable of their effortless mix of raw materials and glossy finishes. The exposed brickwork behind the bar and the brushed steel of the tables and chairs are no-nonsense industrial design at its finest, while crate shelving and hand-written chalkboards give it a homely twist.

While I might not get away with stealing their beautifully-worn floorboards, I would absolutely pinch the industrial lampshades that hang above the bar for my own kitchen. The quaint touches, like the chalkboards, are an easy way to balance the almost clinical aesthetic of 2017 minimalism and make sure the kitchen feels like a family space again.

2 ten green bottles jubilee street brighton

Source: Ginger Girl Says

Ten Green Bottles, Jubilee Street, Brighton

Equally beloved is Ten Green Bottles, just off of Jubilee Square. Despite being a rather unexpected neighbour to a gaggle of chain restaurants (and the library), Ten Green Bottles has all the dignity you would expect from a venue so close to the iconic Brighton Pavilion.

Inside is cosy yet contemporary, brimming with bottles and always manned by knowledgeable staff who are happy to help you choose between them (the bottles, that is). You can also attend weekly wine tasting sessions to further your own expertise, and sample some of the merchandise before deciding which to purchase. If you want to catch up with a relatively large group of friends, booking the entire space out for tasting and charcuterie is a classy choice.

While the shop-cum-bar isn’t tiny, its minimalist design certainly helps to maximise the space available, helping to squeeze as many customers in as they can without allowing it to feel crowded. Open-front shelving proudly displays their vast selection of wines under striking spotlights (presumably LEDs so the wine doesn’t get too warm), while a single mahogany table dominates the centre of the floor. To prevent the room from being bland, bright red splashes interrupt the space in the form of lampshades, stool cushions and pepper mills.

The bold seating arrangement is exactly the kind of confidence a dining room should display, particularly in a mixed-use space. If your kitchen is caught between harsh industrial materials and an over-use of white, choosing three areas in which to add a colourful accent could help you to keep it contemporary.

3 hixon green church road hove

Source: Trip Advisor

Hixon Green, Church Road, Hove

Finally, I’ve included a fairly new addition to the Brighton (well, Hove, actually) wine scene: Hixon Green. It only opened its doors at the end of October, but its friendly staff and sophisticated ambience (and okay, it’s gorgeous décor) have made it a favourite already. They offer a sumptuous lunch and weekend brunch menu, with a huge selection of cocktails and, of course, wine.

The interior is absolutely divine, and perfectly embodies where dining trends will be taking us in 2017. Surfaces vary between crisp marble and warm wood, which is echoed in the polished flooring. Despite barely any frills, warm tones and copper accents make sure the space doesn’t feel sparse. Overall, the look blends the stark minimalism of 2017 and natural forms of Mid-Century Modern design.

We’ve already got a glorious old Chesterfield that we picked up in a Brighton flea market last year, so I think I’ll be dragging that into the kitchen, possibly opting for co-ordinated dining chairs. It looks like my copper cookware and barware will last another season, too!


If you’re planning to revamp your home in 2018, there’s no harm in thinking outside the box when it comes to inspiration. After all, many of your favourite places will have hired professional designers to create their layouts. Or maybe that’s just the wine talking.

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About Mike James

Mike James
Mike James is a writer by trade, specialising largely in cybersecurity professionally - and then the home (kitchen) leisurely. Based in Brighton, Mike is a design connoisseur and big time foodie - appreciating a fine, single malt whisky on the odd (frequent) occasion.

  Email:  Mike James


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