Restoring Classic Style

22 Nov 18

Somerset’s beautiful Bath Stone houses have a very particular style.  Light-filled and elegant, they offer exceptional living space and need a sympathetic eye when being brought up to date.

The owner of this property was living in Chicago when she spotted a handmade Martin Moore kitchen in a magazine and knew that she’d found the perfect look for the country house they were restoring for their return.  She contacted Toni Silver, a Senior Designer at Martin Moore and they met on site just a couple of weeks later.

With massively thick stone walls and wonderful windows, the early Victorian building needed very little by way of building renovation, but the design for the new kitchen had to both suit the proportions of the room and use the space ergonomically.  Large rooms require very careful zoning to make every task efficient, sparing the cook long walks between the key areas such as fridge, sink, ovens and stove. 

Every element of a Martin Moore kitchen is designed to order and hand built in their Yorkshire workshops.  This allows the designer to produce a completely bespoke response, expertly bringing together the clients’ brief, the ‘must have’ elements and thoughtful use of the space.

Toni Silver’s design for this kitchen framed a large working island within an L-shaped run, neatly siting the key working zones at one end of the room. The cabinetry is built around and into the interior architecture of the space, taking its size and proportions from the building itself.  With this approach, a modern, highly-functional kitchen has been completely incorporated into this period house, without any jarring of style or loss of sight lines.  Original details, such as the bell board now sited on the chimney breast, underline the age of the building. 

The cabinetry itself is an expression of classic English period joinery, skilfully and painstakingly constructed, but without extraneous detailing to identify any particular point in time.  This gives a look that suits both contemporary and traditional interiors. 

The house is in a conservation area and none of the brickwork could be altered.  The windows have relatively low windowsills which Toni Silver made a feature of by creating a herb trough directly in front of one of the windows and then siting the sink at a proper working height in front of it. 

With a cool colour palette of cream and grey hand painted cabinets and pale composite quartz tops in two shades, the kitchen has a calm feel which belies the busy domesticity of a household with three young children and a dog.

A practical floor was an absolute must and Martin Moore’s wood-look porcelain was run throughout the kitchen, utility room, cloakroom and hallway, bringing a warm tone which unites all these different areas and is super-easy to keep clean.  The emerald green Aga, reclaimed from the house’s previous kitchen, adds a pop of vibrant colour.