When Alexandra and Jason Eton returned to the UK following eight years in America, life in the USA had given them the idea to extend their north west London home, with a spacious open-plan kitchen as their number one priority.
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Working with a local architect, and despite a few hiccups with the planning permission, Alexandra’s impressive ideas were given the green light. Builders were recommended by a friend and work quickly began.
Here’s what they were dealing with.
The project in a nutshell:
Who lives here? Alexandra and Jason Eton and their children
The designer: Vivienne Warman, designer at Kitchen Coordination
Budget: Kitchen Coordination kitchens start at £12,000
The garden was excavated and the rear exterior and garage removed, whilst the old dining room and kitchen were knocked through and a utility room created – a must for busy family life.
Once the building work was complete, Alexandra could concentrate on making her dream room a reality.
“In LA homes, kitchen design is geared towards having one big family room where everything happens – you work, cook, entertain, chill out in one big room, rather than be separated in different parts of the house,” she explains.
She adds: “We enjoy having people over and our children’s friends are always here too, so we needed to be able to accommodate everyone without it feeling crowded.”
It was a dinner party at a mutual friend’s house that brought Alexandra and Vivienne from Kitchen Coordination together.
“When I met Vivienne, she put me at ease straight away, explaining the quality and mechanisms of Rational kitchens,” says Alexandra, “I liked the sound of them and we didn’t hesitate on asking her to take on the project.”
Having been a textile designer for many years, Alexandra has an eye for detail and had a clear vision of what she wanted for her new kitchen so Vivienne’s brief was very specific, with high quality materials and a practical layout at the forefront. Rational’s sleek platinum grey soft lacquer and Atmos Bookmatched Terra Limed Oak cabinetry are the perfect combination of neutral tones and an organic edge, with plenty of hidden storage through the soft-close overhead cupboards and deep gliding drawers.
“The colour combination is gorgeous and I know I can live with this scheme for many years to come.
“It has that modern classic look, yet I can still bring in a variety of colours and interesting textures through accessories and furnishings,” says Alexandra.
Alexandra requested an island to act as the central point of the new layout. Topped with a chic Caesarstone Calacatta surface, it houses a wine cooler that comes in handy when entertaining. Sliding doors were introduced that can be positioned in different configurations and allow the family to enjoy the beautifully landscaped garden view wherever they are in the kitchen.
With a passion for transforming the ordinary into something magnificent, Alexandra’s stamp is everywhere, from her stunning artwork and spectacular Mah Jong Roche Bobois sofas, reupholstered herself with an eclectic mix of fabrics, to the sleek side table she designed using commissioned, cut-to-size marble and granite. She is currently working on client commissions upcycling furniture and using vintage fabrics for an environmental awareness project.
The finished results are exactly what Alexandra hoped for. “This is our ‘everything’ room now,” she smiles.
“It’s a cooking, entertaining, relaxing, working and family zone all in one and we can all be doing different things at the same time but still be all together.
“The thought put into the layout has certainly paid off and we feel very lucky,” she says.
We speak to Vivienne Warman about how the design came together.
Did you have a vision for the transformation?
I can usually visualise the finished space and I wanted it to be as light and bright as possible. As Alexandra trained as a textile designer, I was keen to introduce as many different natural features into the kitchen as possible. The use of wood and lacquer make it very tactile and I think we achieved a very individual kitchen.
Did Alexandra and Jason have a wish list for the project?
We worked together on everything that was important to them – making a list of appliances and eliminating the ones that were not a priority. Alex also did not approach any other kitchen companies – she met me and felt comfortable, so I felt confident I would provide her dream kitchen.
Were there any challenges to overcome?
There is a pitched roof, but the way the island and pendant lights were planned and set, it became a statement rather than an obstacle.
What are you most proud of?
Without a doubt, the book matching of the wood. I think it makes this kitchen individual and the island looks like a beautiful piece of art.
What one word of advice would you give for anyone embarking on a similar project?
Do as much prep work as you can. Building work can uncover hidden demons, so as long as the prep work is in place, it makes it much easier and avoids any rash decisions. Work with an experienced designer, too.