By Linda Parker
The story: John Stephens shows us one of his favourite recently-completed kitchen projects…
The designer: John Stephens, Designer and MD of Rencraft (www.rencraft.co.uk)
Q: What were the stand out priorities in your brief from the client?
Our brief was to work around the gorgeous period features of the home and to design a central island kitchen which appeared as if a contemporary art installation had landed in the middle of this stunning, character-filled room.
Q: How did you set about answering the brief, what were your first thoughts?
This was an exciting brief, and it was great to collaborate with our client 22in order to create a finished design that truly stands out from the crowd. Of course a great kitchen is about more than look and style. We were totally aware that functionality is also key and we had a number of technical issues to iron out in order to ensure the kitchen was as useful as it is beautiful. Solutions included partially lowering the fridge drawers into the floor in order that they would align properly, and also lowering the motor and the ducting for the extractors in the same way as well. Complex, but well worthwhile.
Q: Explain the reasons behind the choice of cabinetry and work surfaces?
We spent a lot of time sourcing new materials and finishes that would enable us to meet this brief. This was a huge part of what made this project such an interesting process and, to me, really sums up what is meant by the term ‘bespoke design’. One of our most exciting finds were the brass drawer fronts which have been given a patina finish. This is a first for Rencraft and means that the appearance of the drawers will change with use, creating a kitchen that continues to evolve over time. A custom finished Quooker boiling water tap and custom made brass handles were also selected. As the island work surface was so large (4 metres long), we also took the time to visit with our stone mason to select the exact slabs that we felt would work best within the finished design.
Q: What design elements do you think make the scheme so successful?
As always with our kitchen projects, we believe the difference is in the detail. Walnut interiors and handmade solid walnut drawer boxes give a beautiful and practical finish – not just to the external elements of the kitchen, but also to the interiors as well. The use of lighting under the island worktop and behind the frosted glass cabinets that surround the oven stack is also key, enabling the room to effortlessly transform from daytime into evening.
Q: What is your best advice for someone who may be planning a new kitchen?
A successful kitchen is all about layout. So many customers come to us thinking about paint colours and worktops but the first question to ask should always be ‘how do you use the room?’ A good designer should listen to your needs and then create a kitchen layout that flows and is easy to use, maximising the use of the available space in a way that is right for you. Once this is right you can then focus on colour schemes and finishing touches, creating a kitchen that is always a joy to use.
We Love: The unique golden-glow of the island drawers. Simply and luxuriously delightful!
Kitchen Cabinetry: Rencraft www.rencraft.co.uk Unit 9, Chart Farm, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0ES
Work surface: Silestone Quartz in Calacatta Gold, www.silestone.co.uk
Hob and extractor: BORA, www.bora.com
Dishwasher drawers: Fisher & Paykel, www.fisherpaykel.com
Fridge drawers: Hotpoint, www.hotpoint.co.uk
Customised hot water tap: Quooker, www.quooker.co.uk
Oven stack: Miele, www.miele.co.uk