Starting from scratch: inside the Lincolnshire countryside kitchen that was built from the ground up

Unable to find a home to buy in their corner of Lincolnshire, Emily and Oliver Gray built their own, with this striking kitchen as the centrepiece

Keen to find a new home with more space for family life with their two young sons, Emily and Oliver Gray found themselves searching Lincolnshire with a fine-tooth comb.

Real life home: Starting from scratch
DARK MATERIALS The cabinetry’s deep colour scheme ensures that the integrated appliances sit discreetly within the design

‘We wanted to stay in the area, because the countryside is so peaceful and beautiful,’ explains Emily, full-time mum to Charlie, seven, and Joshua, five.

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Real life home: Starting from scratch
DRINK UP A bespoke wine rack makes good use of the space above the symmetrically arranged ovens

‘But it was difficult to find a house that gave us great views. And on the few occasions that we did, the properties were pinched from under our noses.’

Real life home: Starting from scratch
UP FRONT Burnished metal mesh, custom-made for the project, fronts the glassware cupboard

The couple then stumbled across a plot of land in the ideal location, not far from Oliver’s office, from which he runs his own business.

Real life home: Starting from scratch
SIT TALL The copper bar stools form an elegant partnership with the brass footrest

‘We had always rather liked the idea of building our own home, but plots of land with great views are even rarer than houses, so when this one came along, we felt it was too good an opportunity to miss.’

Real life home: Starting from scratch
BOLD MOVE Painted in a soft black with blue undertones, the cabinets create instant impact

The family were able to continue living in their existing home while plans were developed for a new-build, seven-bedroom, cedar-clad farmhouse, plans that included maximum glazing to ensure the interior would be filled with natural light and to offer the best possible outlook across the surrounding countryside.

Real life home: Starting from scratch
EYE LINE A sleek in-ceiling extractor does not obstruct the views

While the application for planning permission was in progress, Emily and Oliver followed up a recommendation and met with Maria-Elianna Constantinou, senior design manager at Krantz Designs, to create their kitchen.

Real life home: Starting from scratch
NEAT LOOK The run of tall cabinetry behind the island is built into a specially constructed niche to create a streamlined finish and reduce the sense of bulk

‘We knew we wanted an open-plan design with plenty of wow, because we love having friends and family to stay,’ explains Emily. ‘Our aim was to create somewhere designed as the heart of our home, with room to socialise and areas to gather for breakfast and dinner.’

Real life home: Starting from scratch
BREAKFAST SET The bespoke walnut breakfast table was made by Krantz Designs, with banquette seating upholstered in easily wipeable faux leather

The layout is designed to accommodate every family and social situation: island bar stools; comfortable upholstered banquette seating around a breakfast table; and a dining table positioned in front of full-height sliding glass doors that looks out over the fields beyond.

Real life home: Starting from scratch
FAMILY LIFE The dining table is positioned in front of the windows so that the family can enjoy the views as they sit together at meals

The large island is the focus of the room, backed by a run of tall cabinets for storage and built-in appliances, as well as a well-planned sink zone. ‘It is a very practical and welcoming family space,’ says Emily.

‘I love the blend of dark colour and warm metal accents – and I couldn’t be happier with the wonderful view.’

Project profile: 

Q&A with Maria-Elliana Constantinou, senior design manager, Krantz Designs 

How did you begin the project? Initially we focused on creating distinct zones to be used at different times of the day. It made sense to position the dining table in front of the best views of the garden, with the breakfast area tucked into a nook to one side of the room. For the cooking area, we wanted to create an immediate sense of impact as you enter the room, hence the block of tall cabinets and large island, painted in a strong, dark colour.

Can you tell us about the style of cabinetry and choice of colour? It is classic in-frame furniture with square pilasters and skirting, creating a timeless appeal. Its clean-lined simplicity and symmetry gives it a contemporary edge, as do brushed gun-metal handles. The dark finish creates a strong sense of definition in such a large room, filled with natural light – we felt that pale colours would have looked bland.

And the walnut and burnished metals? We added the walnut panel on the front side of the island with an aged brass footrest to add some rich colour – plus a footrest makes it more comfortable to sit on a bar stool. Walnut has also been used to make the breakfast table with its layered pedestal, creating a striking feature. Copper details, including bar stools and specially-made mesh in the glassware cupboard, help to ‘lift’ the look and add a touch more warmth and character.

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Photos by Paul Craig