Traditional character oozes from every inch of this idyllic farmhouse renovation in the heart of the Surrey Hills. The love this family have for their house is clear in every nook and cranny and it was both an honour and an absolute pleasure to be involved in the restoration of their listed home.
Timeless farmhouse charm with a fresh aesthetic
This is a home built on a true sense of family, and while the owners’ children have now grown up, they are all back regularly for visits, everyone used to piling back home for family events and seasonal celebrations. They therefore wanted an easy-living environment, a welcoming but practical space honouring the original style of the house and incorporating traditional joinery techniques for those finishing flourishes of detail.
Comprising kitchen, boot room and utility room, this was a dream project for us, posing a multitude of wonderful challenges. Listed buildings always require some creative problem solving, and this one required all our traditional joinery and design skills to work around the original characteristics of the house, with its low ceilings, beams, chimney breasts and general layout.
Every property has its own distinct personality
Set in a beautiful village and surrounded by paddocks and woodland, everything about this property evokes a sense of laid-back country living, from the hay bar at the front door to the warm community spirit of the village and expansive grounds. The owners wanted that sense of calm and space echoed in the restoration, which needed to stay true to the original character of the building.
From the flagstone style flooring to the traditional detailing in the woodwork, the final design reflects the true personality of this stunning home and its warm and welcoming owners. It has a fresh yet timeless quality that’s as well suited to the everyday life of the couple as it is to joyous family get-togethers and welcoming guests.
The kitchen is thoughtfully planned for both day-to-day living and entertaining, with social seating at the island as well as the large table by the garden doors, plus the integrated wine fridge and sociable breakfast pantry.
Balance is everything
With some restriction on layout, balance was key. While the owners wanted cupboards with plenty of storage space, they were keen that the cabinetry didn’t overwhelm the space and that there was ample worktop surface.
To prevent the u-shape of the main kitchen area feeling too narrow, we designed the cabinetry to be break-fronted with steps in and out, and avoided wall to wall, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry to let the worktops naturally divide the space.
Plenty of storage space is provided by the big larder cupboard and drawers for pans, crockery and cutlery, with the fridge-freezer housed in its own bespoke cabinet. While the owners loved the look of open shelving, they were wary of their tendency to collect clutter, so we kept that minimal, using their favoured oak to add warm notes around the kitchen.
Designed around the original chimney breast, the Range cooker takes pride of place, surrounded by its hand-made oak canopy with integrated lighting and raised shelf at the back, the edges of the surrounding units softened using radius corners to keep the lines smooth and elegant. Behind the cooker is a hand-crafted, antiqued and gilded mirror glass splashback commissioned from Dominic Schuster. Chosen and specified to the exact antique finish the owners wanted, this stunning glass feature provides real vintage flair, adding texture and interest as well as light and space.
Even the flooring was selected for its practicality as well as its aesthetic. While the owners loved the flagstone flooring of a traditional farmhouse kitchen, they wanted the warmth and comfort of underfloor heating, and so opted for the beautiful flagstone effect porcelain tiles pictured. Being porcelain, they are also far more hardwearing and much easier to clean than their limestone counterpart, providing the perfect solution.
Traditional, handmade cabinetry and finishing touches
It was important that every detail of the kitchen matched the owners’ vision and expectation. This gave our joiners an opportunity to use their traditional joinery skills to the full, from the lambs’ tongue mouldings on the skirting to the Shere Kitchens bespoke stacked moulding on the cornices. We used tongue and groove wall paneling, Ovlo moulding in the door panels and cock beading on the cabinet frames.
Creating space with light and colour
As the layout of the kitchen was pre-determined by the original floorplan, we wanted to create as much space as possible despite the potentially narrow aspect. While practical elements, such as the slim island unit and bi-fold doors to the breakfast pantry, help to optimise the physical space, we were also able to achieve the effect with the choices of light, colour and strategically positioned mirroring.
Light is reflected throughout the kitchen, from the mirrored splashback behind the Range to the quartz worktops and glass-fronted cabinetry, which all combine to create the illusion of more space. With plenty of natural light from the patio doors, the soft cream tones of the limestone-effect flooring and a consciously light colour palette throughout chosen from the Little Greene paint range, this is a kitchen suffused with light and air, balanced with the warmth and cosiness of that traditional farmhouse feel the owners were so keen to protect.
Between the kitchen and boot room, pretty glazed doors allow more light to flood though and continue the flow of the kitchen into the other rooms
Beauty and practicality combined
Continuing the country kitchen feel, the boot room – also home to the family dog – is a practical and stylish space, providing useful storage areas and room for coats, shoes and boots a large family could need.
Floor-to-ceiling handmade cabinetry makes the most of the space in this room and allows everything to be stored neatly away out of sight when not in use, while the utility room offers yet more shoe storage space as well as plenty of cupboard space for cleaning supplies, vases and more. Stacking the washing machine and dryer helped optimize the space, making use of every inch of space without feeling crowded or overwhelming.
A dream project of traditional joinery and design
At Shere Kitchens we become deeply involved in every kitchen we work on, and this kitchen was such a pleasure to bring to life. We particularly loved being able to revel in the traditional joinery skills required to finish the kitchen with those gorgeous details, and are immensely proud of the finished article. This is a stunning house in such an idyllic location, and it was a privilege to create this beautiful, bespoke kitchen at its heart, reflecting so perfectly the vision of its lovely owners.