The bright new kitchen for spring is definitely home-grown, writes Philip Tutt
PUBLISHED: 16:38 21 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:35 20 February 2013
Are you fed up with all the talk of doom and gloom, tax rises and spending cuts? It seems most of us are, which may be why we are looking for something a bit more bright, colourful and, above all, homely this spring.
Are you fed up with all the talk of doom and gloom, tax rises and spending cuts? It seems most of us are, which may be why we are looking for something a bit more bright, colourful and, above all, homely this spring. One result of this preoccupation is an emphasis on home-grown. The movement started in the food industry, with the rise of slow food and farmers markets, and has now moved into interior and fashion design (just think of all that shearling on display in the fashion magazines). Home-grown means people seeking out locally sourced, natural, often hand-made, small scale and, above all, crafted luxuries to enhance their lives. Nowhere is this more true than in the kitchen, where a quiet revolution has been taking place.
Its not hard to see why trying times call for home-grown solutions. It goes far further than supporting British business. Classic kitchens are inviting and open, they give a cosy, relaxed feel to the home. Whether elegant or rustic, a well-designed, real wood kitchen is tasteful and unostentatious; its owner is not trying too hard to impress. And, in the spirit of recycling and good taste, it makes the most of the original features, rather than requiring a complete gutting of the home.
Andy Bradbury, of Bradburys in Exeter, has made his name selling contemporary ALNO kitchens, but is introducing hand-made Stoneham kitchens to cater for the classic market. He says, Many of our customers love the feel of real wood. This kind of kitchen brings the beauty of Devons outside space the woodland, moors and clean air into the home. Customers can either choose a hand-painted or natural wood finish, where the patina of the wood enriches itself over time with careful handling.
The traditional in-frame design of a range like Stonehams Penshurst provides character to a new home or enhances that already present in an older property. It can be structured around existing chimney breasts, cooking ranges or other features. The framed option does not suit every home, though, and an equally appealing effect can be obtained using a range like Strata in which the bevelled, solid timber frame and horizontally grained centre panels produce a clean, linear look.
Unlike factory-made kitchens, customers buying a hand-built kitchen can usually choose from several available timbers. Real timbers such as English oak, American black walnut, wild cherry, maple and white oak all provide a different but luxurious style. The wood is either leftto develop its own natural sheen, painted in traditional Farrow and Ball paint, or just primed so it can be painted in situ to the customers own specification.
For many buyers, the main attraction of a bespoke kitchen is precisely the fact that no one else has one quite like it. One way Bradbury achieves this is by encouraging clients to mix different woods and some painted areas into the one kitchen. The other technique is to make sure the kitchen is not too fitted. Freestanding or, even better, specially made items, are a crucial part of classic kitchen design. This is the preserve of the genuine craftsman, who can create a stunning shaped island or seating unit, all curved wood and beautiful surfaces. A freestanding larder or bar unit may be the answer, using highlights in unusual timbers such as ebony macassar and satin walnut. At its most simple, the room may require no more than the introduction of an antique Welsh dresser.
While many bespoke kitchens are made by independent cabinet makers in their woodsheds, these craftspeople may lack the knowledge of spatial design, ergonomics and the latest energy-saving, high-performance appliances youd find in a specialist kitchen designer like Bradburys.
Andy Bradbury says, Appliances are an interesting area. While many customers are incredibly keen to retain the beloved Aga, we notice that lower-specification range cookers are falling out of favour. They tend to be replaced in customers affections by high technology steam ovens, induction hobs, built-in coffee machines and other cutting-edge appliances.
Many residents in the heart of Devon feel tremendous affinity with the land and value local craftsmanship a classic English kitchen reflects that affinity and provides a tasteful meeting point between design and art. The most important factor is to let the timber do the talking.
For further information on Stoneham Kitchens from Bradburys, contact Andy Bradbury on 01392 825940 or visit bradburysltd.co.uk.
Top Tips for a Country Feel
Keep the colours simple:"natural woods or neutral paint tones.
Use some freestanding, non-fitted items like a butchers block or Welsh dresser.
Buy a simple, rustic dining table to create a centre for family activity.
Mix and match fabrics make sure it is not too structured.
Add colour through cushions, throws and a collection of family pictures and kitchen ceramics in the Emma Bridgwater style.