No matter what the occasion, everyone always gravitates towards the kitchen,’ says teacher Claire Shooter, who shares her Hertfordshire home with husband Rob, a solicitor, and their children, Amie, 13, and Tom, 12. ‘Which was a pity, given that the kitchen was our least favourite room in the house,’ she laughs. After buying the 25-year-old, five bedroom house in 2013, Claire and Rob began to mull over their options for that least-loved room. ‘We knew we wanted to do something, but we just weren’t sure what,’ explains Claire. ‘The kitchen was fairly small and narrow in shape, and traditional in style, and we wanted to create a larger, more modern room with space for entertaining and for the kids to have their friends over.’ They considered all kinds of options but, in the end, the simplest was best. ‘We knocked down a wall between the existing kitchen and an adjacent playroom, which had double doors to the garden, and were able to make one large space filled with natural light’.

Following up recommendations from their neighbours, the couple paid a visit to Multiliving, the Scavolini store in West Hampstead, meeting designer Anna Cierpial. ‘We liked the contemporary Italian kitchens and Anna quickly understood our brief and offered lots of good ideas,’ says Claire. Rob, who loves to cook, took a lead in the choice of appliances, specifying a bank of ovens and a wide induction hob, while Claire – ‘I’m not a cook and if it were down to me, we’d live off cornflakes’ – concentrated on the layout and colours. ‘We saw the beautiful, soft blue cabinets on display in the showroom, and thought they would work well in our kitchen, as something a little different,’ she says. A white island offers contrast, while the timber elements throughout add welcoming warmth.
The focal point is the dining table, bridged to the island. ‘This makes a great feature and brings cooking and entertaining to the centre of the kitchen,’ says Claire. ‘Now everyone will gather in the room that has become our favourite.’

Kitchen from Multiliving start from £20,000.
Photos by: Paul Craig

Article by: Amelia Thorpe