Take an elegant Victorian six-bedroom house in Essex, complete with a large garden and proximity to good schools, and the words ‘perfect family home’ spring to mind. Owner and interior designer, Jayne Webster, absolutely agrees – except for one thing. ‘It is a wonderful period house, ideal in every way, except that the kitchen was way too small,’ she says. ‘Try to make tea for a small group of friends or family, and invariably they’d be leaning on the drawer with the teaspoons, so I was constantly dodging around or asking them to move.’ 

Jayne and husband Dominic, who runs a recruitment company, share their home with their three young daughters, Harper, eight, Miller, six and Piper, four. After buying the house two years ago, they soon began planning an extension to the side of the house to make room for a super-size new kitchen, dining and living area, with plenty of space for entertaining and socialising, converting the old kitchen into a family snug in the process. ‘The goal was to create a new kitchen to suit the scale of the house,’ explains Jayne. 
Having worked with Humphrey Munson on kitchens for clients with period homes, Jayne says she didn’t consider anyone else to produce the kitchen furniture for her new room. ‘When it comes to classic cabinetry, I honestly think nobody does it better,’ she says. ‘I love the way Peter Humphrey keeps the designs fresh, yet timeless too.’ Working closely with Peter, Jayne chose a palette of subtle grey and natural shades, adding accents of stronger colour on the island and overmantel, as well as Portobello oak for the curved wall cabinet and drawers to flank the range cooker. ‘The mix of materials lifts the design, adding interest, which is so important in a large room,’ says Jayne. 

With zones for prepping, socialising, dining and relaxing, the room offers of space for family life, and parties. ‘Now we are always entertaining, because the room makes life so easy,’ she says. ‘I deliberately chose materials that are very hardwearing, so that we don’t need to be precious about a wine spill or the children’s sticky hands – it’s nothing that a quick wipe can’t fix. This is a family home, and it’s a space for us all to enjoy.’

Photography by: Paul Craig

Article by: Amelia Thorpe