While renovating their seven-bedroom Victorian home in Surrey, the priority for Philippa and Alistair McFarlane was to retain as much period charm within the interior as possible.
‘The rooms have large proportions and there are lots of original features, such as high ceilings, tall skirtings, ornate cornicing and traditional fireplaces,’ says Philippa, who runs Dorking-based antiques and interiors company Sandrock House.
‘These details are the welcoming soul of this house, which set it apart from all the others we looked at. When it came to the kitchen design, we wanted a look that complemented these elements, but which also felt industrial in style – eclectic, glamorous and ultimately timeless.’
To help them create their ideal family kitchen, the couple called upon the help of designer Tamsin Collier of bespoke kitchen company Armorel. ‘The existing kitchen, old dining room, living room and the orangery were previously separate rooms and on different levels to each other, while the kitchen felt disproportionately small,’ explains Tamsin.
‘The house has only been extended out by a metre, but the space has now been used more effectively. The dilapidated Victorian orangery was rebuilt and the existing floor levels evened up to bring the kitchen back into the body of the house. The refurbished orangery has transformed how they use their kitchen and dining area.’
Philippa had a strong idea of elements she wanted to include within the kitchen design, and was keen to mix materials such as wood and concrete, while also contrasting dark and light tones. Tamsin then brought these features together in the design.
‘The couple wanted to combine both classic oak and painted cabinetry finishes, so cool greys and soft blacks were used on the kitchen walls, units and larder cupboard, while a deep blue was used for the dining room dresser, which features a luxurious brass cladding that offsets the interior.’
The main body of the kitchen comprises cupboards with solid-oak plank doors finished with a natural grey-tint oil, while the wall cabinets and larder cupboard are painted in Mullet by Marston & Langinger.
Philippa is delighted with how flexible the space is. ‘We really wanted to create a welcoming open-plan living space that would be sympathetic to the period of the house, but also work for our family, both while they are still young, and as they grow up. The definitive areas now allow us to be together as a family, while also doing different things.
‘I love the fact that our new kitchen can now comfortably cater for large gatherings with family and friends, including the odd sizeable house party!’
Q&A with Tamsin Collier, designer and co-founder, Armorel
Can you tell us a bit about the style here? To add interest, we wanted the kitchen to look as though it had been added to over time. The colours were key to Philippa as she is used to working with bold hues and she wanted the kitchen to feel fresh, but she also wanted there to be darker elements that tie in with the rest of the house.
What feature do you think stands out in the overall design? The dining room dresser came after the kitchen cabinetry and adding this took time – we didn’t want it to be an extension of the kitchen but rather a standout piece that sat comfortably in the room while also having something different to say. The sun shines beautifully in this room in the late afternoon and adding the brass cladding to the glazed interior means this cabinet really comes alive and showers the kitchen and dining area in a dusky glow come evening.
Were there any particular challenges to overcome in the design and renovation of this space? We were very keen to work with the kitchen, dining and soft areas as a whole, interconnected space and not have any clear, definitive ends to the cabinetry where the kitchen stops and another room continues. Also, Philippa was very keen that the oak doors were solid and not a veneered oak. This, of course, has its challenges as you would expect in a kitchen with varying humidity levels and temperature fluctuations.
Photos by James Balston.