Designed for a couple who love to cook, the brief to Simon Taylor Furniture was to create a ‘forever’ kitchen that was in keeping with the heritage features of their Georgian property, while incorporating contemporary appliances. With bespoke cabinetry hand painted in Farrow & Ball Mole’s Breath and Purbeck Stone, the kitchen incorporates a suite of Miele Generation 7000 cooking appliances as well as built in laundry. Tony Lister, senior designer at Simon Taylor Furniture explains how the design process evolved, to ensure everything on the client’s wish list was included.
How does the layout work?
The layout is centred around the kitchen island, which is used for storage and food preparation. The area behind the island is the task zone with a bank of Miele Generation 7000 ovens and warming drawer on one side, next to a separate breakfast cabinet with bi-fold doors. The Miele 80cm induction hob is at the centre of the design and the Miele laundry appliances are on the third face. The area in front of the island includes tall cabinetry for storage and opposite is an informal L-shaped dining area with bench seating.
What is your favourite part of the design?
The architecture of the room with its many traditional sliding sash windows was beautiful to begin with so we made the Shaker furniture to complement, but not overshadow the original features. I particularly love the informal dining area as we incorporated further storage within the seating itself. We also made the bespoke dining table to match and included a specially designed corner dresser with a glass front to accommodate decorative items.
Did you have any challenges to overcome?
While the room was spacious, there was very little wall space across two sides because of the stunning windows. The house was also configured without a utility room, so we had to incorporate the Miele washing machine and tumble dryer within the kitchen itself. Our clients had also stipulated both a kitchen island, a dining area and lots of storage all in the same room so the challenge was to create a kitchen using perfect space-management. Our clients loved the entire concept when we presented the initial design.
Are more of your customers opting for a bank of cooking appliances and if so, why is this?
Having all your cooking appliances in one zone is a very sensible option in terms of ease of access within the kitchen layout. It is also ergonomic to stack ovens one above the other with a warming drawer beneath as you don’t have to bend down fully to open the oven doors. We tend to design most of our kitchens using this configuration, particularly when the appliances are all in the same design ‘family’ as they look fantastic when installed together.
What are your most requested design features?
Our clients tend to be people wanting to invest in their forever kitchen; something truly bespoke and made with their lifestyles in mind, which is why they come to Simon Taylor Furniture as no two kitchens are ever the same. While they may have a wish list that includes a kitchen island, seating and lots of storage, one recent addition to the design wish list is for the kitchen to be fully multi-functional. It needs to be used by different members of the family during the day, from preparing food and cooking, to doing homework and most recently, to working from home.
How are kitchen designs evolving?
However large or small, whether traditional or contemporary, making use of available space in the kitchen is often a feat of engineering prowess, and nowadays kitchens need to be multifunctional. They are also increasingly social spaces, so storage is key because the kitchen has to be clutter-free. In response to this, we design cupboards with electrical sockets and LED lighting so small domestic appliances can be hidden away until required. Increasingly, breakfast cupboards and bar cabinets will feature bi-fold or full pocket doors to become a working part of the room when opened, whilst being completely concealed at all other times.
Why was Miele selected for the cooking appliances?
When it comes to the technological aspects of the kitchen our clients usually defer to us for recommendations. We had attended the launch of Miele Generation 7000 at the Miele Experience centre in Abingdon and were impressed by the technological versatility of the ovens together with their build quality. Because our clients were already familiar with Miele and love their cooking, we felt that these appliances were a perfect fit for their lifestyles.
Miele laundry appliances have been integrated into the kitchen design, why were they selected?
Our clients had used Miele laundry appliances before, which had lasted a long time. They trusted the brand given their previous experience. This time they wanted to upgrade the washing machine and tumble dryer for better energy efficiency and advanced technologies.
A kitchen is a big investment; do you have any advice on how to keep a design timeless?
First and foremost, always opt for a design that you love and that you can live with for a long time; one that will complement the architecture of your property. Even if you are planning to sell the property, never choose a design that you think might sell it faster; everyone has different tastes so always choose the style that is right for you. Avoid too many fashionable additions and keep the look simple and elegant. A Shaker kitchen has a timeless feel to it, which is why they are the most popular kitchen styles in the UK.
What advice would you give to readers who are about to embark on a kitchen redesign?
Write a checklist of the things you like and dislike about the current kitchen, not just the aesthetic, but how the space works for you. Buy kitchen and interior magazines and pull out pages of the looks that you like and set up a Pinterest board that you can take/show when you meet with your designer. This information will give them a clear indication of what you are looking for, and what you aren’t. Even if you are having building works done, involve the kitchen designer as early as possible in the planning stage so they can advise as to where plumbing and electrics will go, as this is harder to work around when the project is almost finished.