Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Old Rectory Kitchen Project by Humphrey Munson

If you read this blog post I wrote a little over a year ago, you'll know I work full time at Humphrey Munson now and this year - similar to last year - has been absolutely amazing. My schedule is full on with early starts and late nights but I absolutely love it all. One of the things I love most about my job is how much variety there is - every day is so different but without a doubt our shoot days are a major highlight.

One of my favourite projects to date (and there are quite a few) was the Old Rectory kitchen project in Suffolk. This amazing Nickleby kitchen was designed by Peter Humphrey - the Design Director and Founder of H|M. I love the cool, calm and collected feel of the space - this for me is the epitome of what we do at H|M: classic English furniture designed for modern family living.

Set in a spectacular six-bed Georgian former rectory, accessed by a private sweeping driveway that leads up to the wisteria-clad entrance, this beautiful family home has historic flagstone floors, delicate plaster mouldings, original oak beams and open fireplaces, all combined with modern conveniences throughout.

The one thing that always strikes me when I walk into our clients' homes is not just the look, but the feel of the spaces. When I walked into the Old Rectory project I was completely blown away by how serene and welcoming the space felt - with hardly any visual clutter the space felt really unfettered and free.

Like the rest of the house, the previous kitchen was very dated and rundown. Originally it was five small rooms, which the homeowners knocked through to create a larger open plan kitchen. The downside of ripping out multiple walls in an old property is that the ceiling can end up at various heights. This was rectified to an extent but we were still left with a lower ceiling section and a chimney breast that cut through the space.

This meant that the immovable chimney breast dictated the overall layout of the kitchen, but Peter decided to work it to our advantage by using the chimney to divide the breakfast area from the rest of the kitchen. There’s a log-burner on the breakfast room side, which makes it lovely and cosy in winter, and a high capacity, top-spec French door Gaggenau fridge-freezer on the kitchen side - you can see this hidden behind Nickleby doors in the image above.

And this is the fridge open - we have this Gaggenau 400 series French door fridge freezer in the Westlock kitchen in our Felsted showroom and it is fantastic - exceptional design and engineering.

As well as dealing with the chimney breast, we also had to incorporate a few other architectural anomalies – for example the breakfast pantry has a very slim shelf at the top because there’s a beam right behind it – but that’s the beauty of bespoke, it’s very easy to accommodate quirks.

I remember when we got the angle for this shot and I was so so happy - I love the light coming through the windows and the warmth from the English pippy oak worktop on the island in the bottom left hand corner of the image.

This prep table was a key element of the design from early on. English country houses in the Georgian era had kitchens largely made up of freestanding furniture and the preparation table played an essential role. Using English Pippy Oak for the worktop of the prep table was the perfect choice to reflect the heritage of the home. Pippy oak has lots of small knots and clusters peppering the surface which really give a feeling of age and depth, while the tall legs provide the look of a table without totally foregoing the convenience of drawers.

This is the drinks pantry - it's located in the breakfast area and provides a space to make hot drinks without cluttering up the worktops and has plenty of storage in the drawers below. 

I love this photograph across the prep table - it's definitely up there with my favourite H|M shots.

I think the key to the success of this project is the perfect blend of heritage and innovation. By embracing the simplicity and symmetry of the Georgian ere and incorporating modern, fully-integrated appliances gives the kitchen a classic English feel with a contemporary edge. Keeping the colour palette simple and clean and using the same colour on the walls also helps ensure the space feels calm and welcoming.

To see more of this amazing project click here.

All images: Darren Chung for Humphrey Munson

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