Calm and collected: a classic kitchen for an Edwardian townhouse

A tranquil palette and classic design combine to create a serene scheme in Emily and Richard Stuart’s North London home

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Searching for a larger home, close to where they were living in North London, Emily and Richard Stuart found an ideal project.

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‘We bought the house two years ago and began a full refurbishment, including digging down to create a new basement for a big playroom,’ says Emily, an interior designer and mum to the couple’s two children.

As part of the project, Emily and Richard, who works in fashion, reconfigured the layout of the Edwardian terraced house to create a super-spacious family home, now with five bedrooms spread over four floors.

The kitchen stayed where it was, complete with its existing side return extension with sloping glass ceiling, but now with an added atrium next to the dining area and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors out to the garden.

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The layout and colour scheme accentuate the spacious feel of the room and its tranquil atmosphere

Moving the utility room to the new basement and the cloakroom to under the stairs, the kitchen space is now larger.

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A cook’s pantry, fridge freezer and crockery cupboard make good use of the taller side of the room

‘The space felt awkward before, without a comfortable area for a dining table,’ says Emily. ‘It now has a much more successful layout with spaces for eating, cooking, socialising and relaxing, while the atrium allows lots of natural light into the rear of the room, which previously felt gloomy.’

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Sliding glass doors open onto a glass-floored atrium. which floods every level of the house, including the basement, with daylight

Emily and Richard chose Humphrey Munson to design the kitchen. ‘I’d lived with a creaky, collapsing old kitchen in our previous home for seven years,’ she says. ‘This time I wanted something made of real wood that would last for ages.

Project profile

Q&A with Louisa Eggleston, Creative Director at Humphrey Munson

How did you create the layout of the space?

Entering from the hall, the kitchen opens out in front of you. The island sits centrally in the room and is designed as the main prep area with a large integrated sink and boiling water tap, plus seating on the ‘non-working’ side that’s ideal for the clients’ children to have breakfast or for friends to gather for pre-dinner drinks. 

The Aga cooker is framed by a contemporary panelled canopy and flanked by large countertop cupboards with bi-fold doors for small appliances and storage.

The main storage run is on the opposite wall, complete with pantry, fridge freezer and tall crockery cupboard.

It’s a very efficient layout, but one that also looks smart and leaves a clear walkway through the room, with dining table at one end and soft seating at the other.

Can you tell us about the cabinetry?

Our Nickleby range is a classic design, based on Shaker-style doors with recessed panels. To add a subtle touch of refinement, quirk beading has been set within the frame around the doors and drawers.

The kitchen cabinetry is painted in a soft, warm grey, with the island in navy blue to add definition and anchor it within the room. 

And the dining, desk and soft seating areas?

Our bespoke table and dining chairs, finished in Berkeley Oak to match the cabinetry interiors, are positioned by the atrium, which floods this area with natural light.

The TV cabinetry is designed to be flexible with both open shelving for displays and cupboards for storage. The desk area was an essential addition to provide a convenient space for a laptop and diaries.

‘I looked at lots of kitchens that felt too modern and cold, and others that were so trendy I felt they would date too quickly. The Humphrey Munson designs were smart, timeless and beautiful, but still homely and warm.

The Fisher & Paykel stainless-steel fridge freezer, with built-in ice and water dispenser, fits flush with the cabinetry
The Fisher & Paykel stainless-steel fridge freezer, with built-in ice and water dispenser, fits flush with the cabinetry

‘I wanted the kitchen to feel calm and peaceful, with loads of storage, because life with children can be so hectic with stuff that seems to spread everywhere.’

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Painted in Brolly Blue, the island creates the welcoming centrepiece of the new room

A palette of soft grey and white tones was chosen for the room, with depth added by the navy blue colour of the island.

The Aga cooker is central to the success of the space, Emily explains. ‘My aunt had an Aga when I was a child and I loved the way it made the kitchen feel so cosy and welcoming. That has always been the goal for our project.’

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The electric Aga cooker features five cast-iron ovens for roasting, baking, simmering, slow cooking and warming, plus two independently controlled hot plates for boiling and simmering, and a warming plate

Project details

Design: Humphrey Munson. Kitchen prices start from £40,000 excluding appliances. Architect: Selencky Parsons.

Appliances: Aga R7 150 Electric cooker with warming plate in White, £13,955, Aga. B57CR22N0B oven, £1,049; N23TA29N0 domino gas hob, £549; C17KS61H0 coffee machine, £2,061; K4316X7GB built-in larder fridge, £498, all Neff. Cache 800 built-in extractor, £822, Westin. RS90AU1 integrated French door fridge, £3,339, Fisher & Paykel. G 4263 SCVi Active fully integrated dishwasher, £849, Miele.

Fixtures and Furnishings: Athenian tap in Nickel, £443; Parthian instant hot tap in Nickel, £814; both Perrin & Rowe. Iron Tones 6625-0 double sink, from £1,022, Kohler. Knightsbridge quartz worktops, priced to order, CRL Quartz Surfaces. Bespoke antique effect mirror splashback, priced to order; Lexington dining table, £4,900; Havisham dining chairs, £795 each; Havisham counter stools, £995 each; Bainbridge coffee table, medium, £1,440; all Humphrey Munson. Glass bell pendant light, £180 each, Hector Finch. Berlin globe pendant, from £1,750, Holloways of Ludlow. Sachs Grey Oak herringbone flooring, £204 sq. m, Element 7. Stratford sofa, from £3,795, Kingcome Sofas. Velatura fabric, £140 per m, Osborne & Little. Aburi cushion, £69, Eva Sonaike Artwork, Nick Jensen. Glazing and doors, priced to order, ID Systems.

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Photos by Paul Craig