'I’m pretty romantic in nature and love everything old,’ laughs Chris Golson-Brooke, and so begins the story of his stunning reclaimed kitchen in South London. As both the client and the designer, Chris was in the position to stamp his romantic nature on the space, while indulging his love of everything old. The result is a kitchen brimming with unique personality, rustic style and a sense of romance.


‘Visitors often say they forget they’re in London,’ says Chris. ‘The feel of the space isn’t typical, so it’s a bit like we’ve created a new world here.’ The kitchen all begins with the reclaimed tile company, Maitland & Poate, that Chris and his wife Emma founded after travelling around Spain. ‘We were in a shop in Seville and I really liked the old tiles on the floor,’ explains Chris. ‘One thing led to another and we started meeting people, deciding to bring back a couple of pallets of tiles to use. However, we got carried away – they were all so beautiful. So, we ended up filling a lorry with 25 tonnes of tiles and that’s how it became a business.’


These tiles now make up the foundation of the space, adding colour, pattern and texture. The floor tiles are 150 years old and come from Seville, while the tiles on the splashback are 90 years old and come from an area just south of the Spanish city. They instantly bring a sense of old world charm to the room, and Chris admits they ignited his obsession with sourcing reclaimed pieces for the entire restoration.



‘We’d found all these old materials and tiles and then needed to find other old materials and features to go with them,’ laughs Chris. ‘We took every opportunity to do something different. Our approach was, why have a standard kitchen or a standard tile when there are so many old and interesting things out there?’


Originally working as a composer for TV and film music, Chris harnessed his natural creativity to design the space. It was an 18-month job, because the whole house needed gutting and renovating too, but one which Chris and his wife Emma threw themselves into – despite having two young daughters, Summer and Amelie. Since then they have also welcomed baby boy Xavier into their family.


‘It was pretty intense,’ recalls Chris. ‘We moved in with the girls at the end of the project. We had a tea urn upstairs we used for bathing and washed the dishes in the garden with the hose. But of course it was worth it. We love the kitchen and feel so lucky to have it. I sit in this kitchen every day and think: ‘This is awesome.’



 You can find more inspiration from Maitland & Poate online. 


Photos by Malcolm Menzies

Article by: Molly Forbes