When clients walk into a kitchen showroom carrying a stack of interiors magazines, pages neatly turned at the corners, it’s usually a sign they’ve got a specific style in mind.
However, when this particular couple visited Diane Berry Kitchens, their individual inspiration sat at opposite ends of the style spectrum.
‘They were such a mix,’ remembers designer Diane Berry. ‘He loves ornamental glamour and gold, while she’s more Italian – smooth, sleek and neutral in her styling. The challenge was to come up with a little nod to each of their styles and find a balance that they both loved.’
While adding atmosphere after dark, the pendant lights are a striking feature in themselves during daylight hours
To achieve this, Diane designed a kitchen with tall, textured dark Eggersmann units and a matte Dekton worktop, contrasted with glossy champagne island cabinetry and rich wallcoverings.
The glossy champagne metallic on the island offers the perfect balance between a rich gold and a more neutral hue. ‘This material has a lovely lustre up close,’ says Diane
She also chose bespoke pieces of furniture to tie in with the kitchen and to define the different zones in the open-plan space.
What were the must-haves in this kitchen?
Super-size, high-functioning appliances for a family who love to cook and entertain; a sociable breakfast bar where they could sit and chat with a coffee or use their laptops; and a large wine fridge.
The wine fridge is recessed into the wall and I suggested the black glass display unit to match it in height. We have picture-framed the whole unit in the same material as the kitchen and it has colour-tuned LED lighting depending on the time of day, creating both a functional feature and something with wow factor.
What made you decide on a separate breakfast bar?
Sometimes an island becomes so big it feels like you’re running a marathon to get around it! Here they had enough space for an independent breakfast bar, which means they sit and face each other, so it’s actually very sociable.
It’s also less likely to become a dumping ground; plus, if you’re on your laptop or reading the paper, you’re away from the island, which is a busy place with the sink and hob.
How did you decide on the materials?
The worksurface is Dekton, which is completely heat- and scratch-proof with a lovely finish so you’re not dealing with streaks.
The tall units are strong and robust, as well as being textured, so good at hiding fingerprints. Then you’ve got the shiny island, which helps reflect light and gives contrast to the tall units.
I love how a shiny kitchen changes colour all the time. During the day, it looks lighter, reflecting bright sunlight, but in the evening it takes on a darker tone.
Because Diane began her design at the drawings stage for the large extension to the couple’s period home, she could tweak the layout to work best for a couple, who love to entertain, and their sons, (aged 19 and 21) to enjoy together.
Diane designed the bespoke gin unit with a wine fridge built into the wall, surrounded by black glass shelving, colour-tune LED lighting and picture-framed in the same cabinetry as the kitchen
‘We wanted to ensure there was space for everyone, with different ways of sitting within the same room,’ explains Diane, ‘whether they’re perched at the bar together having drinks and nibbles, enjoying a relaxed meal at the dining table or settling in the snug.
‘We were originally going to separate the snug with sliding doors, but instead we suggested a unit at the back of the sofa, and a drinks cabinet and wine fridge recessed into the wall to the side. These pieces define the living area while connecting it to the kitchen at the same time.’
Colour-tuned lighting in the gin unit can either take on a bright white for daytime or a warm glow for evening, creating a relaxed atmosphere for the living area nearby
The kitchen’s main run of cabinetry conceals a giant fridge and freezer, along with several ovens – which can be revealed when in use, then hidden away – with a hob and sink on the island facing out to the garden.
‘Hiding the ovens in the tall units stops it feeling too much like a kitchen, creating a luxurious bar feel to the space,’ says Diane.
The couple’s multiple ovens are discreetly set into the dark Eggersmann cabinetry, making the space appear distinctly less ‘kitchen’
‘We’ve also incorporated a break in the tall run with black glass shelves with LED lighting, which softens the space and allows them to personalise it too.’
This careful blend of the couple’s tastes, as well as their family’s lifestyle, with soft lighting illuminating every angle, creates both a unique and versatile space.
Daylight floods into the space, imbuing the kitchen with a different personality to its evening feel
DESIGN Diane Berry Kitchens
APPLIANCES H7890BP 90mm wide oven, £6,999; H7860BP 60mm wide oven, £3,649; KMDA7633FL induction hob, £3,199; ESW 7020 warming drawer, £1,249; K1801vi MasterCool fridge, £7,499; F1811vi MasterCool freezer, £7,999; Similar G 4263 SCVi fully integrated dishwasher, £849; KWT6722IGS Built-in wine conditioning unit, £4,199, all Miele, supplied by Diane Berry Kitchens.
FIXTURES AND FURNISHINGS Eggersmann’s Trondheim 842 dark oak rough sawn with matching handle recess and plinth cabinetry; Calgary Acrylux TopX gloss kubanit metallic with matching handle recess and plinth cabinetry, £46,995 for both; 50mm Dekton radium worktop, £9,721 including installation, all Diane Berry Kitchens. Double sided socket box pop-up socket with remote control, from £401, Socket Box UK. 500-U Silgranit undermounted bowl, £415, Blanco. Flex Pro3 tap in polished black, £1,490, Quooker. Similar hooked 6.0 nude and brass pendants, £775 for six, Buster Punch, supplied by Diane Berry Kitchens. Ethan bar stool, £165 each, Design Décor at Next. Carlo oak chair in beige fabric, from £69.99, Atlantic Shopping. Similar agnesa dining table, £2,035, Barker and Stonehouse. Omexco antares wallpaper in printed cork, £75 per m, TM Interiors.
Photos by Geoff Watson