Despite developing a love of interior magazines, Julie admits big building projects are just not her and husband Karl’s thing. So, while they knew their 1920s Hertfordshire home would need updating when they bought it two years ago, they vowed they would only be doing it the once. Which meant sourcing timeless details they would love forever and going the extra mile, or three. ‘I describe the house as from the Enid Blyton built-to-last era,’ she says. ‘It had just enough period detail with parquet flooring and big fireplaces. We knew it needed new windows, an updated kitchen and a new bathroom, but the project snowballed, as they always seem to, into completely re-wiring and re-plumbing. Our friends would see us and laugh, ‘I thought you weren’t looking for a project!’

 

 

Decamping to Karl’s mother’s house with their two sons, Joshuah, 11, and Tommas, nine, they transformed the downstairs by opening up several rooms – the dining room, kitchen, pantry, cold store and WC – into one large L-shaped room. With such a big space at their feet, they were keen to avoid an open-plan kitchen that would look too modern. ‘We had to have a structural wall almost in the middle of the room and the architect picked up on how much we loved the original pantry so suggested building a new one in the centre with a peninsula to create a kind of island which would break up the space,’ explains Julie. ‘We liked this idea, but it left us with a galley shape which we were keen to avoid becoming one line.’

 

 

The couple found the solution on the cover of this very magazine; a Humphrey Munson design packed with both characterful and clever details. ‘The kitchen had a huge island and a massive vintage mirror splashback and it was completely what we were looking for,’ she remembers. After visiting the company’s new showroom in nearby St Albans, they met with designer Peter Humphrey and found he also shared their love of symmetry. ‘He created a design which is completely balanced, with the cupboards, drawers and shelves all the same size either side of the sink, oven and window. Then there was a lot of detail, like the groove where your feet go under the sink and the break-front which avoids it being just one long line.’

 

A grand canopy offers a fitting focal point for a period home, designed to allow light to sweep through the kitchen, while the peninsula creates drawers and drawers of storage as well as plenty of space for the family to prep and perch. ‘We’re planning to add a matching dresser in the dining area and kit out the utility room with the same cabinets,’ she adds. So, when it comes to building projects, have they found themselves converted? ‘I thought I would be and I still see love seeing pictures of beautiful houses, but I honestly can’t fault the kitchen I have and I would actually never want to replace it.’

 

 

The Nickleby design is handcrafted in classic oak and hand-painted on site in Tailored Greyand Lapel  with polished nickel hinges and polished nickel knobs and pulls, and a Quirk bead design on the outside frame, all by Humphrey Munson. The Silestone worktop in Ariel from the Nebula Alpha series creates a clean, reflective surface for a beautifully bright space, while the solid Pavilion limestone flooring coupled with underfloor heating offers warmth. Kitchens start from £35,000.

 

Photos by Paul Craig

 

Article by: Victoria Rolison