Under stairs storage solution for a London Shaker kitchen

We have a chat with designer Pia Rosling about her client's restrictive kitchen renovation, including how she overcame storage issues and out frame design

Under stair kitchen storage solution

If every great cook relies on a sous chef, surely every great kitchen should have its own assistant, too?

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Oak veneer neo kitchen renovation
Minimalist kitchen with central island breakfast bar
Photo from Sola Kitchens

This ultra-modern extension to the rear and side of a Victorian home in Wimbledon, south London, was perfect for a spacious kitchen-diner but, with a fireplace, staircase and doors to the garden, it had just one workable wall for kitchen cabinets and appliances.

White shaker style kitchen with out frame design and cornices
Photo from Sola Kitchens

Here’s how a solution came about.

The project in a nutshell:

The property: A Victorian period home in Wimbledon, London

Who lives here? A family with children

The designer: Pia Rosling, design director at Sola Kitchens

Budget: Sola Kitchens from £30,000

That’s where this design scheme employs a little assistant in the form of a run of units worked into the space under the stairs, hosting an extra oven, coffee machine, wine fridge and storage, designed to give the kitchen extra depth and practicality without crowding the room’s fabulous features.

“It was very important for the family to have the space in front of the fireplace for the children to play,” explains Sola Kitchens’ design director, Pia Rosling.

“The table was inherited and also really important to them,” she says, “so we didn’t have the option of squeezing in a smaller one to make the kitchen larger.

“The space under the stairs works really well because it’s a little bit tucked away but it’s also approachable from the kitchen.”

Warm wood kitchen dining area
Photo from Sola Kitchens

Every inch of this space has been maximised to suit the storage inside.

“Our clients wanted the design to work for them right down to the finest details, from designing the cupboards to the exact height of the drinks bottles to squeezing extra cubby-holes into the furthest corner of the wine bottle rack,” Pia continues.

Yet on the surface, the cabinetry reflects the home’s blend of modern design in a period property, with handleless Shaker cabinets providing a contemporary but characterful edge.

Modern minimalist white kitchen design
Photo from Sola Kitchens

Starting out as an interior designer, Pia specialised in kitchen design before joining Sola Kitchens in 2014. Her love of Scandi style and craftmanship is complemented by the company’s own Swedish heritage and values.

We speak to her for some more intricate design details.

How did you begin this design?

We worked from architect plans of the extension, quite quickly we came up with the London Shaker look. This handleless Shaker design was chosen because, while the extension is very modern, the house is Victorian and the clients wanted that period feel in the space. Shaker kitchens are often defined by the handles you use – by stripping away the handles we made the look much more minimalistic.

Modern kitchen design with undermount sink
Photo from Sola Kitchens

Did the couple have anything particular in their brief?

They wanted to ensure the counters were kept clear of clutter, so we designed a breakfast station in the larder for the coffee machine and small appliances. It was really important for every detail to be measured according to their needs, right down to the number of knives in the knife insert.

Were there any hurdles to overcome?

The couple really wanted cornices, which is tricky in an out-frame design. We drew the cornice for this kitchen with extra steps for the doors to close on – I think it was worth it to add that extra detail to the cabinetry. Also, the extractor needed to be a certain height above the range with the cupboards either side still reachable, yet the couple wanted clean lines throughout. We found a compromise by bringing them down slightly lower either side to ensure they would be practical, too.

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What’s your favourite part of the design?

I love the handleless Shaker look – there’s not a single handle in the whole kitchen and it makes the design very ‘less is more’. I really think the area under the stairs works well, too. With the wine fridge and storage for the glasses, it feels almost like a little bar area.