For me, planning a kitchen is something that can’t be done off-site in an office somewhere. To really get a proper feel for the room and get the best design possible, I prefer to stand in it and imagine where the chef would prep food, use the sink, do the cooking and interact with family or guests. Or imagine where I’d do all those things #gettingpersonal
There are so many variables when planning a kitchen: where does the light come in? where are the windows? the doors? where’s the water supply? are there different heights to the ceiling? where would hot dishes be placed? is the chef’s back to the room when cooking? what about storage?
The list is endless! With the Pitlochry kitchen we had pretty much a blank canvas as there was no flooring, ceiling, plastering, electrics or work surface to start off with – anything would have been an improvement BUT just ‘anything’ isn’t good enough for Half Built House.
The owners didn’t want a twee country kitchen, the ones they’d seen on-line and liked were super slick and contemporary but with fabulously unexpected twists, usually incorporating natural materials. After years of cooking in a dusty, devastated space , they wanted somewhere easy to clean, without nooks, crannies and dirt traps. Amongst the other do’s and don’ts were no wall units, a small fridge (less waste), no vinyl and no microwave.
Moreover, it wasn’t the easiest of spaces to work with….
The kitchen area only had one full length of wall which was the one to the right. This was the party wall with the living room / washroom, plus was partly under the stairs. Nothing could be fitted to the curve as this would have obstructed the entrance into the room and the remaining top wall had a large window and door in it so there was very little wall space. One option was to put the hob and extractor on the right hand wall but there were a number of downsides: the chef would be constantly facing the wall with their back to the room, there would only have been room for a 4 ring hob and most negative of all, there’d be been no space between the hob and the tall height double oven I’d planned in to enhance the cooking experience.
After having a play around with the dimensions, I opted for the hob central to the room. Not only was this the most sociable option for the chef but it also prevented that island area from becoming a general dumping ground. It also left the wall next to the oven clear for any future wall units should they owners change their minds about them. I asked Danny to fit some of the larger pieces of driftwood as herb and light bottle decorative shelves.
In such a tight space, we managed to get in a larder unit, a dishwasher, 1000 under sink unit, 1200 corner unit, 800 drawers, space for a bin, a double oven with storage below and a fridge. Local specialists Keith and Neil at the Perth Kitchen Centre were extremely helpful, sorting out CAD drawings from my sketches and sourcing a sleek charcoal grey gloss door which was exactly the look I thought the family would love. The pale washed timber grain of the end panels, cabinet interiors and plinth softened the industrial feel and were beautifully designed and made. Getting items to site wasn’t like working in Manchester – everything came from miles away! Luckily Neil also helped source a super stylish Luce by Hotpoint oven and hob. The cooker hood I must admit wasn’t my first choice in design even though it was a very expensive model, but there was so so much to do in such a short time, I struggled to get another one for an island at the right width. I figured that if it wasn’t to the couple’s taste, it could easily be replaced with a more conventional curved glass hood.
The stainless steel surface gleamed in the light now flooding in through the now sparkling original windows from which the dirt, old tape and broken fan had been removed and new pane fitted. A stylishly striped roller blind speedily made by Judith and the girls completed the kitchen. Find them at the Scottish Shutter Company, they make beautiful curtains and blinds as well as shutters!
Contrasted with the practical but fun cornflower blue rubber floor, I felt the whole scheme worked to reflect the eclectic and maybe also delightfully eccentric personalities of the family.
In case you’re wondering why we didn’t lay tiles – there were issues with heights so raising the existing very uneven floor to the extent we’d have needed to simply wasn’t an option for us.
On top of everything else I asked him to do, Danny also undertook the task of building a new dining table. The family’s old table had been taken away and I wanted something for them to come back to, sit at and enjoy their first meal in their new kitchen. The man of the house had kindly said that any saved timber in his sheds could be used and four large slabs of wood created the perfect rustic table and looked fab with the addition of chrome legs and some painted pine benches found at a Perth shop.
And another extra!! I wanted to create an exciting pop of colour in the dining area, something which really combined country style with a more contemporary feel. I had in mind to paint a dresser of some description and this idea became a mission when I saw the blue one below at a local antique fair. At nearly £500 it was out of my budget, so it was onto Gum Tree we went…. £65… complete bargain!! Poor Nick & Mr M had to set off at 6am to Glasgow to get it however, I wasn’t their favourite person that day (but hey, this is Half Built House, am I ever?!)
I didn’t get chance to photograph it before Mr M had primed it white but it looked very much like the one below – waaaaay to orange. I’m really sorry but I can’t remember the colour of the blue I painted it, I know it was a Dulux water based satinwood, but if you’re going to do your own, I’m sure you’ll pick your own shade
A lovely roman blind from Judith in earthy taupe fabric with a pale blue detail, a funky oversized Ice-Cream Factory clock by Newgate, some bright cushions on the newly created window seat and a vivid turquoise glass ceiling light from Next Home finished off the brand new dining area.