After living in her Victorian terraced house in Clapham, south London, for 35 years, teacher Nathalie Jouy decided she would give herself a very special present on her retirement – a new kitchen. ‘I wanted a room filled with natural light, designed for socialising and entertaining,’ she says.

French-born Nathalie says that she had longed to widen the ‘very dark and narrow’ kitchen for years. ‘When I bought the house, the room had been used by the previous owner as the space to keep his rabbit hutches,’ she smiles. Although she installed a new kitchen on moving in and refreshed it over the years, she grew increasingly frustrated by the gloom of the space and unused side alley. ‘I could see the potential to build over the side return – and my retirement was the opportunity to create the kitchen I wanted, and make a space to enjoy,’ she explains.

Following up a recommendation from a local builder, Nathalie was introduced to architect Patrick Owens of Patrick + Ryan. ‘I can’t praise Patrick enough for the way he designed the side extension, linking it to both the sitting room at one end and to the patio at the other, and the way the almost frameless glass doors and skylight introduce lots of natural light,’ she says. ‘He really taught me to persevere and take my time to choose the right items, including the sliding doors and the beautiful marble surfaces.’

In keeping with Nathalie’s love of minimalist design, the cabinetry is streamlined and handleless, and finished in a soft matt grey to offset the natural veining of the book-matched marble splashback and island. ‘The look is very clean and simple, and it enhances the sense of space and flow,’ she says.

A warm grey stone-effect floor prevents the kitchen looking clinical, while three striking pendant lights, originally designed by Louis Poulsen in the 1950s, add a touch of glamour and fun. Says Nathalie; ‘It’s a wonderful room for lunches and coffees with friends and family, or simply for sitting to enjoy looking up at the stars and moon at night.’

Article by: Amelia Thorpe