This kitchen was designed and made for an enchanting Grade II listed family house built in the 1660s by a blacksmith. The house has been extended and is now an impressive family home set in the middle of beautiful gardens with an orchard, formal gardens, walled courtyard and ancient trees.
Already saturated with character from the beams and limestone floor it was a pleasure to design and craft the kitchen with charm and elegance.
The Old Forge Case Study
Built in the 1660s as the family home of a local blacksmith, this beautiful, listed home provided a dream project for our classically trained joiners. Every inch is saturated with character, from the warm oak beams to the traditional limestone floor, creating a wonderful opportunity for us to use our architectural joinery skills to create a gorgeous hand-crafted kitchen, designed to look as though it has always been there.
Set against backdrop of ancient trees, elegant, mature gardens and a sweeping driveway, this impressive Grade II listed home is revered by its lovely owners, a growing family keen to honour the heritage of the property. It was important to preserve the history and original feel of the house, full of charm, while creating a practical living space for family and friends to enjoy.
Honouring history through hand-crafted design
Working in listed properties is a challenge we particularly love, as it really gives our cabinet makers a chance to flex their creativity and traditional joinery skills. Low ceilings, wonky walls and beautiful oak beams meant that every cupboard and feature had to be carefully designed and hand-crafted to fit around these original features, while maintaining the right proportions and creating sufficient food preparation space.
Details make a big difference, particularly with historically sympathetic kitchen designs. The ogee coving lends a prettiness and a traditionally ornate feel in keeping with the house’s age and style, while the antiqued finish to the Dominic Schuster-designed Aga splashback achieves a muted elegance and sepia tone completely in keeping with the classical design.
Features like the original corner cupboard were incorporated into the kitchen design and worked around, and the scribed edging at the top of the cabinetry is necessarily wonky, to suit the uneven ceilings and walls, again creating a brilliant challenge for the traditional joinery skills of our team and adding to the character and charm of the kitchen.
The owners were completely respectful of their home’s extensive history, wanting to preserve original features like the servant bells near the pantry, which make a wonderful reminder of the property’s rich heritage. Adding little features that make it totally their own lets that history evolve, like their choice of triangular shelving near the Aga, reminiscent of the previous kitchen. We loved this idea of adding to the property’s history and personalising the features, which fits so seamlessly with our own values and approach to traditional hand-made kitchen design, and we are always happy to collaborate with clients to deliver their vision perfectly.
Intelligent design to optimise the space
A huge advantage of creating completely bespoke, hand-crafted kitchens is that every detail can be designed to make the most of the space available without appearing to compromise. As well as a relatively small overall size, there was also limited wall space. There are windows on two sides which look over formal gardens and the front lawn respectively, while doors on the third side open into a walled courtyard which soaks up the sunshine and extends the living space effortlessly. These features meant we had to be quite careful in our designs, to accommodate the storage and utility elements required.
The family was keen to incorporate an island unit and table, to allow for those cosy family breakfasts and casual coffees with friends, but the restricted space meant this needed a creative solution to avoid the remaining space feeling cramped. We combined the two elements into a perfectly formed Island with table with a beautiful contrast between the warm oak table, echoing the beams and original woodwork of the house, and the cool, richly-veined quartz worktop of the island itself.
The cabinetry created for the pantry and dry goods is slim to fit the space, but gives plenty of storage space for those everyday items and foodstuffs wanted close-to-hand, while utilities like the dishwasher are built-in behind custom-made doors to maintain a neat streamlined appearance.
Despite the space restrictions, the custom-made cabinetry provides plenty of storage, with island drawers for pots and pans, built in space near the Aga for chopping boards and trays, and the pantry itself with bi-fold doors and carefully planned proportions.
A kitchen full of light for relaxed, everyday living
Suffused with light and decorated with fresh flowers from the local farm shop, this timeless kitchen achieves the cosiness of a traditional farmhouse with the elegance and charm its history inspires. It is a space which honours the past while making new traditions of its own, respectful of its heritage but designed for modern living.
The light and airy colour palette, selected in partnership with our colour specialist, perfectly reflects the setting and ensures that despite low ceilings, the kitchen maintains plenty of light and space. And we just loved the contrasting dash of blue from the Aga.
Creating bespoke kitchens in period properties is a true privilege and a genuine delight for our team of classically-trained joiners. We love having the opportunity to collaborate with owners to achieve a unique vision, sympathetic to architectural and historic detail while also reflecting the personality and values of the owners.
Combining traditional furniture and cabinetry design with intricate, customised details and architecturally accurate finishes lets us create fully bespoke kitchens perfectly hand-made for the spaces they occupy and the lives they represent. Our kitchens are truly a labour of love and a tribute to the vision and creativity of our wonderful clients.