Looking to update the kitchens in your country and town homes? How can you create designs that reflect your style, stay true to property character but also have common themes and synergy to ensure you feel at home wherever you are? Andy Barette, Senior Designer at McCarron & Co advises us on ensuring your country and town properties have continuity and unique style.
‘People buy in to people and it goes without saying that it’s incredibly important to work with a designer that you feel comfortable with and trust their advice and judgement. It is so important to be able to enjoy working together, as generally the happier you are during the process, the easier the ideas will flow.’ – Andy Barette, McCarron & Co
Where to Start: Two Property Designs
If you’re working on two simultaneous property updates, Andy advises keeping things simple, and ensuring the key focus is on working with the space available.
‘We often find that the town kitchen is a simplified version of the country kitchen. Space can sometimes be of a premium in the town, which can make them more of a challenge to plan than a big country kitchen that affords a greater space, but I think that it can be nice to share some detailing between the two properties. This could be with the paint schemes or maybe with the handles. As simple as it may sound, it’s very important that each kitchen works proportionally in the space and with the architecture. The bigger country kitchen may have walkthrough spaces of around 1200mm between worktop and island features, whereas in the town kitchen, this will be scaled down accordingly.’
‘A good designer will have the skill to create a kitchen that simply fits the space correctly and doesn’t feel incongruous or detached from the rest of the property.’
Consistency is Key
‘Colour, finish, detailing and layout are the major themes and many people will seek a sense of familiarity between the two properties, so that it’s effortless to move between the two in terms of usability,’ says Andy.
‘I always ask people what the elements are that work well for them in their current kitchen and which of those they would like to try and incorporate in the other kitchen. There are many different answers to this, that can range from appliance choices to a particular type of worktop that they feel comfortable using.
‘From a layout point of view, even though the spaces may be quite different in size, some of the fundamentals can be replicated – for example, in the country kitchen, a client may have a favoured way of working, in terms of where their prep area is, the orientation of the sinks, proximity of the sink to the bins, format of units e.g. drawers for crockery.
‘You can usually transfer some of these layout and design principals over to the other kitchen, so that the switch between the two is seamless. Although you are not looking to simply replicate the two kitchens, if something simply works in once space and is right for the client, there is no reason why it can’t be recreated.’
Picking the Right Materials for the Job
Your country kitchen
‘Most people still opt for a more traditional kitchen in the country, one that works with the style of the building and maybe with grander proportions, especially if the ceiling height allows it,’ says Andy.
‘Material-wise the spaces can be large enough to mix them. Painted kitchens with wooden elements such as the dresser in a wood finish are still popular. Natural stone work surfaces will always be popular in the country kitchen, with the prospect of being able to choose a beautiful granite work surfaces for an island top still very appealing.’
Town kitchen themes
‘I’ve found recently that people have looked more towards a man-made stone for the work surfaces, which have become increasingly more impressive in terms of looks and in some instances being able to really mimic a natural granite or marble surface,’ says Andy. ‘Painted kitchens also seem to be very popular, but in terms of the style of the furniture, the detailing can be paired down in comparison to that in the country.’
Current Kitchen Trends
‘The continuing favour for open plan family spaces has brought the need for the furniture to be very well considered as it will be highly visible. With a Bespoke service, such as the one we offer at McCarron & Co, the client can push the boundaries.’
‘Design wise, island seating is still incredibly popular, and with regards to the furniture, with so many types of handles available, a client really can individualise the kitchen to their personal taste. The trend for different finishes to the handles such as bronze is popular, and the bolder people out there are asking for metal inlays to the furniture for delicate detailing.’
The devil’s in the detail
‘Boiling water taps have become incredibly popular and are almost a prerequisite in kitchen design now. You wouldn’t want to have the convenience of a boiling tap in the country, but find it’s missing in the town.
‘There is also a tendency for the town kitchen to have appliances that may be quicker to use and easier to clean, so the convenience of an induction hob in the town. If the town kitchen is more of a pied de Terre, it may well be that a combination or steam combination oven is sufficient.’
Practicality is key
‘Again, it’s really important to think how the kitchens are going to be used. In the country for example, the client may still favour a traditional Aga but with possibly an induction hob and separate ovens as supplements to the main Aga cooking. In the town, it may be the same brand appliances, but just not the Aga. The main requirements will be that both kitchens are fit for purpose in the separate locations, and it’s very important to be realistic as to how they will be used.’
Andy’s top tip for designing a kitchen (or two) that you’ll love…
‘Invest the time! Don’t be afraid to embrace the technological marvels that we have at our disposal of Instagram and Pinterest. Create your virtual scrapbook and show your designer so that they can help create your dream kitchen.’
Visit the McCarron & Co showrooms at…
Chelsea Showroom, 84 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 6HR, 020 7584 5736
Notting Hill Showroom, 102 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5RU, 020 7243 2315
Wiltshire Showroom & Workshop, Clackersbrook Farm, 46 The Common, Bromham, Wiltshire, SN15 2JJ, 01380 859299