Perfect symmetry: inside the light-flooded Earlsfield kitchen designed for entertaining

Extending out into the garden to double the size of the kitchen has created the ideal living space for Clara and William Townsend

Having previously lived in a Victorian conversion flat just off Battersea Park in South London, Clara and William Townsend knew that their next home would need to have more space.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
LIGHT AND BRIGHT Neutral grey cabinets reflect natural light around the kitchen area and make the kitchen feel spacious and inviting

They especially wanted a larger kitchen that would lead out to an outdoor area, one which wouldn’t be shared with other flats.

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Real life home: Perfect symmetry
RIGHT FIT These easily accessible cupboards store regularly used items and keep worktops clear by hiding smaller appliances out of sight

When they first visited their future three-bed home in nearby Earlsfield, they saw the potential to create something that could work for their lifestyle.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
MAXIMISE SPACE The worktops offer plenty of room for these keen cooks to prepare everyday meals or large dinners for their guests

However, the kitchen left a lot to be desired and required a complete refresh. ‘It wasn’t very spacious,’ explains Clara. ‘It was half the size of what we have now, and was very old and dark. The house had been rented out for the last ten years.’

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
CREATIVE CONTRAST The blue island is the meeting point. Free from built-in appliances, it’s ideal for prepping and small gatherings

The couple both enjoy cooking and entertaining, so establishing a space that would easily accommodate this was crucial. Clara and William worked over a two-year period to update the property, extending out into the garden on the ground floor to create a larger, more open-plan living space.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
LIGHT IT UP Rooflights draw copious amounts of natural light into the room, helping to maintain a well-illuminated space

The rooflights helped to lift the space by flooding it with natural light, while adding bi-folding doors, says Clara, ‘really helped to bring the garden in’.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
PICTURE PERFECT Glass door cabinets that frame either side of the American-style fridge feature illuminated integration, useful for early mornings

For the kitchen design, they chose Higham Furniture, who came recommended by a friend.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
IN TUNE A calm atmosphere and a feeling of symmetry, combined with the design’s clean lines, result in a balanced scheme

‘Right from the outset, we were blown away by their level of flexibility and choice,’ says William, ‘as well as the clear advice which focused not only on style but also functionality. Other designers we approached seemed to focus on one or the other.’

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
NOW SHOWING The island offers generously proportioned shelving, allowing the couple’s large crockery collection to be easily acessed

The couple had already been inspired by Pinterest and had an idea of what they wanted, but they were pleasantly surprised to find that Higham had images and ideas on what could realistically work in the space that they had.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
NEAT AND TIDY A handy space has been created for kitchen towels and storing chopping boards

‘They gave us good direction on layout and how a kitchen would flow best,’ confirms William.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
SOLID FINISH A Carrara Quartz worktop helps to establish a quality look and feel, and pairs perfectly with the timber units

The work has completely transformed the Townsends’ kitchen, where they now spend most of their time cooking, baking and hosting dinner parties.

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
CLEAR VIEW Open shelving provides space for displaying smaller accessories

And what are Clara’s favourite elements of the design?

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
COSY RETREAT The blue armchair provides a space for guests to sit and relax while the host gets on with preparations

‘I love the two-tone colours, the space on the island and how each and every cupboard was carefully designed and laid out to our exact wants and needs.’

Real life home: Perfect symmetry
GOING STRAIGHT The cabinetry’s clean lines give a strong sense of both order and symmetry

Project profile: 

Q&A with Tim Higham, Head Designer and owner, Higham Furniture

How did you go about fulfilling the brief for the clients? Clara was aiming for more ornate and traditional elements, such as cockbeading on the frames, but after a meeting, we compromised on a plain framework, with added moulding within the shaker panels. We also moved the cockbeading to drawers only. We decided to keep the wall units only around the hob and opted for the freestanding shelf above the sink to leave the skylight unobstructed.   

Were there any particularly challenging aspects you encountered with the project? Keeping the island sink-free has meant less space around the hob between the tall cabinets, so there’s less worktop space either side of the hob. Another challenge involved creating symmetry around the hob. Because the elevation goes into a corner, we couldn’t put another tall unit here. Instead, we solved this with a bi-folding dresser sitting on the worktop, which is used for housing appliances. 

Did you suggest anything the owners hadn’t thought of? Rather than having one large larder next to the fridge freezer, we split this into two separate tall units to sit at either end of the elevation, with glass units directly next to the fridge. At first, we were afraid this would be visually complicated, but it worked well and kept this elevation symmetrical, which was very important to the clients. They use the two larders to store different items, so the layout works from the practical side of things too.

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Photos by Dowling Jones Photography