When designer Julia Brown reworked her own kitchen, she swapped it from one side of the room to the other to create a welcoming space for her family
As a director of bespoke kitchen company, Mowlem & Co, Julia Brown lives and breathes kitchens. And, after buying and renovating three homes over the years, together with architect husband Mark, you might think that Julia has had several beautiful kitchens of her own by now. ‘No, no,’ she laughs, ‘this is the first time I’ve designed a proper kitchen of my own, because at last we have our forever home.’
Julia and Mark bought the three-storey Edwardian semi-detached house in Newcastle 18 months ago, after falling in love with its period features, well-proportioned rooms and proximity to good schools for their son, Oscar, 10. ‘The house was immaculate, but very dated, so we knew we had plenty of work to do,’ says Julia.
Given their design expertise and experience, Julia and Mark decided that they should live in the house for a while before deciding on the final plan. ‘We knew from the start that we would take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room, both at the rear of the house, to make one larger, open-plan space,’ she says. ‘But I’m glad we took our time, because we had originally thought we would keep the kitchen where it was in the layout, but realised over the months that it was just too cramped.’
By swapping the kitchen to the other side of the space, they were able to create a more generously proportioned layout with a large island. ‘The kitchen is now the focal point of the whole ground floor, with each of the other social spaces leading from it,’ explains Julia.
‘I always knew that when I was eventually able to have my dream kitchen, I would have classic hand-painted furniture,’ she says. ‘I chose the striking dark colour set against simple white walls to make the furniture stand out, and Mark was keen on using as much of the height of the room as we could to emphasise the proportions.’
‘This is the room we use all the time now, and we cook from scratch so much more,’ says Julia. ‘I’ve worked at Mowlem & Co for years, and I’ve seen many clients love their kitchens. It’s great to experience it myself.’
Article by: Amelia Thorpe