A Shaker-style kitchen for an Essex barn conversion

We speak to homeowner Julia Reeves about her new Tom Howley kitchen renovation, including a quartz work surface and Neff appliances

Barn conversion Shaker style Tom Howley kitchen

Full of character and flair, the new Reeves family kitchen celebrates open plan living and mezzanine walkways floating below stunningly tall ceilings, but it didn’t start out this way.

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Contemporary kitchen redesign
Open plan barn conversion kitchen diner
Photo from Paul Craig

Here’s how Julia Reeves’ Tom Howley kitchen dream came to fruition.

The project in a nutshell:

Who lives here? Julia and Mark Reeves and their children Dylan, Klara, Sky and India.

Location: Little Baddow, Essex

Approximate budget: Tom Howley kitchens cost from £40,000

According to Julia, “We love a challenge – the property needed a complete renovation, but we could see it had great potential.”

Barn conversion Shaker kitchen with central quartz worktop island
Photo from Paul Craig

Their vision was to create a stylish, open plan living/kitchen/dining room which would be the heart of the home but still have that ‘wow’ factor.

Tom Howley Shaker kitchen central island with wine cooler
Photo from Paul Craig

Julia had walked past the Tom Howley showroom window for a few years, dreaming of the day they would have that very kitchen, so she knew exactly what she wanted when the time came. The kitchen in question was the bespoke Hartford Shaker-style kitchen with Silestone Quartz work surface, Falcon range cooker and Neff appliances.

Tom Howley Shaker kitchen with in-frame cabinetry
Photo from Paul Craig

Building work had to be carried out first, plus ancient etchings on the wall had to be protected by stud walls, but once that was all in place Tamsin Reed, from Tom Howley, could design and install the cabinetry and appliances.

“It’s not the biggest kitchen, and trying to get the appliances into certain positions wasn’t easy, but nothing was too much trouble for Tamsin and the team,” says Julia.

Barn conversion living room
Photo from Paul Craig

The family can now enjoy two living areas, and having the dining area opposite the kitchen makes it easy to talk to guests whilst cooking and clearing away.

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Would the couple have done anything differently along the way? “We weren’t planning any more children, so when our baby daughter, India, joined us we were a bar stool short and maybe in hindsight we would have added another foot to the island to allow the six of us to eat there together,” laughs Julia, “but it gave me the perfect excuse to buy a beautiful dining table instead, so I have no regrets.”