"My friend calls it the operating theatre,’ laughs Ali Children, describing the kitchen in her farmhouse in Herefordshire which she shares with husband Simon and their kids Harry, 19, Josh, 17, and Madeleine, 10. However, clinical is not the word for this imaginative space. The eight metre sweep of polished concrete underneath the picture window, the oak units stained to match the old beams of the 1850s house and the crisp mix of white, wood and stainless steel on the island give the space real personality.



When the Children family moved into Rudgend Farm it was, in Ali’s words, a wreck. Over 10 years Ali and Simon painstakingly restored and renovated. The kitchen was the finale and the space was extended and knocked through to include an adjoining lowceilinged corridor, which became the snug. ‘The view was key for us,’ says Ali. The long, narrow windows are at head height and crop the terraced garden into inviting snippets of colour and movement. ‘You walk through the front door and see straight into the garden.’


When it came to the layout of the new interior Ali was keen to move away from the traditional. ‘I really didn’t want a cook space that looked like a kitchen. I wanted it to look like individual pieces of furniture, each with distinct features.’ To help them achieve this, Ali and Simon worked with designer Jonny Morris at Roundhouse Cheltenham, where all furniture is made bespoke. ‘As soon as I walked into the showroom I thought, this is different. It was imaginative and individual and I absolutely knew it would work.’



As Ali had envisaged, the kitchen is divided into three. The island houses the induction hob and has a stainless steel worktop and a wrap-around whole-stave oak bar with seating. The final piece of the kitchen is the long run of polished concrete and wide, deep drawers. ‘Simon and I don’t let the children leave anything out on top because the concrete is so beautiful it can’t be cluttered up!’


‘We spend all of our time in here,’ says Ali, ‘cooking, talking, listening to music, watching telly in the snug. It’s kind of rendered the rest of the house redundant.’ For a space so regularly occupied Ali’s kitchen is spotless – designed so there is a place for everything. It’s creative and enjoyable. But an operating theatre? No.


Roundhouse kitchen prices start from £35,000


Photos by Heather Gunn


Article by: Rebecca Morris