With the size of property the family required rarely coming up for sale in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, and in need of more space but reluctant to leave the area, Rachel Ayerst had to be able to look past the long, dark galley kitchen of this former vicarage to realise its potential.
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“It was functional, but narrow and poorly lit, backing onto a uPVC conservatory which was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer,” she recalls.
Having not long tackled a big renovation project at their last property, just around the corner, Rachel, her husband, Nick, and son, Joe, decided they were up for another challenge.
Here’s what they did.
The project in a nutshell:
The property: An old vicarage in Wendover, Buckinghamshire
Who lives here? Rachel and Nick Ayerst and their son, Joe
Designer: Grant Hosking, senior designer at Hawk Kitchens & Bathrooms
Budget: Around £32,000
Unable to transform the galley kitchen into the ideal open-plan space, the couple worked with architects on a redesign that prioritised light and family living, replacing the old conservatory with an orangery. “The window frames are like little pictures of the garden and really bring a connection to the outside space,” explains Rachel.
They also removed intruding pillars to widen the galley and opened up the door to the new skylight-enhanced orangery to borrow light.
Rachel and Nick had chosen a kitchen from Neptune’s Suffolk range in their old house, which they had loved, so were happy to opt for this style again. Working with Hawk Kitchens & Bathrooms, the couple colour-matched the window-side run of cabinets to the charcoal grey of the orangery frame to unite the spaces.
Keenly aware that the galley style had its limitations in creating a bright, open space, Rachel’s brief to the designers had lighting at its heart. Cabinetry over the sink, which cleverly hides the consumer board, also houses extra task downlighting, while Rachel’s industrial plank shelves create an illuminating focal point, backlit with LED strips.
This shelving replaced the need for wall cabinetry on one side of the kitchen, further helping the space feel wider and brighter, while also providing a place for Rachel and Nick to inject some of their personality.
“I like to start with one piece as inspiration for a space,” Rachel says, “and in this kitchen, it was the tiered pendant lamp from Curiousa & Curiousa“.
Dropping in the far corner of the orangery, this light provided not only a colour scheme, picked up in Rachel’s choice of soft furnishings, but also the idea for the industrial edge that gives this space its lived-in charm.
We chat to designer Grant Hosking and ask him some questions.
What were the main challenges when designing this space?
The primary challenge was the space itself. With a large, bright orangery at one end we really wanted to make sure the two spaces flowed and that the light filtered through so as not to make the kitchen feel dark in comparison.
How did you tailor the storage solutions to meet the clients’ needs?
The client didn’t want to be rooting around in cupboards and preferred drawers, so we put in as many as possible and, even where there were cabinets, we were able to have bespoke drawers designed inside the cabinetry itself. We worked in as much storage as we could, adding two larders and cupboards above the window recess to maximise every inch of space. However we didn’t want to enclose the space too much so opted for wooden industrial style open shelving on one wall. We also added a bespoke pot board with the same quartz worktop as the rest of the kitchen so that it all coordinated.
How did you employ the colour palette across the kitchen?
We picked colours and textures that connected the two spaces together to make them feel like one flowing room. Charcoal paint on the cabinetry matched the paintwork on the frames in the orangery. Antique bronze knobs and hinges also echoed those in the orangery and remained in keeping with the industrial style.