Forget deadlines and frantic demands, home is where the haven is, according to business entrepreneur Kirsty Mawhinney of the home she shares with software engineer husband, Bryan, and their four year- old daughter, Ella. ‘Work is so busy that we wanted to create a place of calm where we can relax and unwind,’ explains Kirsty of the kitchen-dining-living space she and Bryan have created in their Surrey home. The story started when the couple bought the 1930s-built house in 2012. ‘It hadn’t been touched for 50 years, so it was in a shocking state,’ says Kirsty. Even before the ink was dry on the contract to buy, they began planning the renovations, but chose to live in the house before beginning the work. ‘I was pregnant with Ella, so we didn’t want all the disruption around us with a newborn in the house,’ she explains, ‘and it also helped us plan carefully what we wanted to achieve.’



Both Kirsty and Bryan grew up in South Africa, so two requirements were top of their list, as Kirsty explains: ‘Although we have lived in the UK for 17 years, we still miss the sunshine and wide open spaces, so maximising daylight and creating a spacious feel were very important,’ she says. They removed an internal wall between the dated kitchen and dining room and built an extension across the rear of the house, adding floor-to-ceiling sliding glazed doors and a series of skylights so that the newly enlarged room is bathed in natural light.


They chose Higham Furniture to design and make the kitchen after meeting owner and head designer Tim Higham and visiting the Portsmouth workshop. ‘We were so impressed with the craftsmanship and incredible attention to detail,’ recalls Kirsty. She and Bryan chose clean-lined furniture, painted in soft grey to create a calm, uncluttered space, combined with matt white worktops and light wood elements inspired by Scandinavian design. ‘We love the fluid layout of the design,’ says Kirsty, ‘and the result is a very tranquil room.’




Kitchen prices start from £25,000 at Higham Furniture.


Photos by: Darren Chung

Article by: Amelia Thorpe