Rockhouse Barn, a Grade II listed property approximately six miles outside of Bath, has been home to the Flowers family since 2005. Living happily with the existing layout of the barn for a number of years, it wasn’t until her twins Daisy and Alfie, now aged 10, grew older and bigger that she realised the living and kitchen space needed a rethink. ‘The barn had a small kitchen, unused space in the hall and communal areas and an entrance through a courtyard garden,’ Debbie explains. ‘With thick walls, oak-framed windows and heavy doors it was crying out for some much needed light and I craved a larger space to host dinners for friends and for the children to have a safe area to play while I cooked.’

 

 

Debbie decided to reconfigure the whole barn and employed an architect to help her, abiding by strict conservation and planning conditions. ‘Alfie’s bedroom was the only room untouched,’ she says. ‘We added an oak-paneled extension that provided a new front entrance, toilet, boot and utility room and even moved the staircase to the opposite side of the house.’

 

With a clear vision for the barn that extended to the design of the kitchen, Debbie wanted to ensure she found the right kitchen company to help her and discovered Sustainable Kitchens online. ‘The kitchen projects on their website looked really good,’ she explains. ‘I liked the fact that they were a small business, with excellent eco credentials who were passionate about the quality of their oak and where it was sourced. They felt authentic and I liked the professional and social collaboration of the team and the fact that they don’t outsource any of their manufacturing or production.’

 

 

Sustainable Kitchens’ first job was to bring Debbie’s vision to life and with the help of CAD design, they created a 3D image of the kitchen so they could ensure the space between the foot of the stairs, the island and the range cooker was workable. ‘I wanted clean lines, as much workspace as possible and a built-in larder cupboard under the stairs,’ Debbie explains. ‘The design team were patient and helped to configure the space correctly. They also advised me on the selection of cupboards, drawers, integrated appliances and so on. We had an initial problem with fitting in the larder but they worked in collaboration with the architect to get this right and I’m so pleased with the result. In fact I think the larder is my favourite part of the kitchen. It’s such a great space to be able to store everything – I have real Nigella moments when I look in there sometimes, gazing at the beauty of it.’

 

 

Reconfiguring the barn has been a life-changing experience for Debbie and her children and the new openplan kitchen has been a great success. ‘The kitchen works really well,’ she says. ‘It’s such a sociable space now and I adore the light, the colours and the materials. We are all really delighted with the end result – it’s beautiful.’

 

Shaker-style kitchen units with birch plywood carcasses and solid oak doors, all PEFC certified, are painted in Pavilion Gray and Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball. The Arenastone Quartz engineered stone worktops offset the darker tones used on the cabinetry and also work as a practical splashback. Porcelain tiles, made to replicate oak boards, add to the sense of cosy and warmth. Kitchen prices from £16,000 at sustainablekitchens.co.uk.

 

Pictures by Paul Craig

 

Article by: Karen Bray