Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Our Kitchen

When we first walked into the house when we looked around with the estate agents, the  gorgeous living space is what sold it to us. We knew the layout wasn’t quite right for us, the kitchen was positioned at the front of the house, which had the darkest aspect and the window looked out onto the drive and the road. As the kitchen was falling apart and none of the appliances worked properly (having said that my husband still cooked a mean roast in an oven where we had no control over the heat!) we had no qualms with pulling it out.

There was also a side extension that housed a utility, cloakroom and conservatory which was the lightest part of the house and looked out onto the garden. It had been added to the house nearly 20 years ago but lacked insulation and was Baltic in the winter. So with the help of our architect and my amazing dad who did all our structural design we decided to take down the wall between the extension and the original house and use this space to located the new kitchen. One of the main design features we chose in he house was the crittal style full height windows with French doors out into the garden. Crittal is an insane price, so we opted for a more affordable option in Aluminium and this is one of my favoured parts of the house. Although it is contemporary, it also feels like it fits perfectly in our Victorian home.

I’ve been yearning for a Neptune Kitchen since the store opened in my local high street back in 2015. They had their Suffolk kitchen painted in Charcoal in the window and I fell in love. So when we started looking for a new kitchen Neptune was my first port of call. 

We looked around all the different kitchen designs, but I knew the Suffolk was the kitchen I really wanted. The timeless shaker design is paired back to give an elegant and  sophisticated look. The units are all solid wood which also lines the cabinets which makes them feel even more luxurious.

Unlike other kitchen designers, we didn’t sit through hours of drawing up the space and putting the units in on CAD, instead after meeting with one of the Weybridge directors, Chris and discussing the key features we were after - we gave him the dimensions and did the design work, sending us the plans and renders to see what the kitchen would look like in our space.

We were pretty clear about what we wanted, having designed and lived in a new kitchen 5 years ago there were the features that we loved and wanted to recreate, and others we wanted to do differently. A show-stopper island  that was as large as possible was high on the list with seating round a corner, which is much more sociable than on a single edge was the main design feature to build the rest of the kitchen around. We wanted to position the sink in the island, making washing up etc more sociable. We wanted a butler ceramic sink (doesn’t show the water marks!) with two full size basins, as we found the half basin at our previous home quite unusable. This also gives us the space to ‘hid’ washing up in when we have guests, keeping the island clear. We were also keen to keep our american fridge-freezer that we moved with. My last kitchen didn’t have enough small draws for tea towels, kitchen foil ect, so getting a good ratio of draws to cupboards was vital for effective storage.

We had a steaming water tap at our previous house that I had to persuade my husband that we needed to have - and it we LOVED it. So this was an essential in our new kitchen, this time we opted for the Quooker fusion, so only needed one tap that did everything. 

After changing our minds once or twice, we perfected the design on version 11(!) This was mainly due to wanting a range cooker initially before deciding that a more contemporary stack of ovens, warming draw and separate induction hob would not only suit our lifestyle better, but also look more contemporary. After looking at having two oven units side by side, felt it took up too much of the workspace, so in the Neptune stake unit we could fit a standard size oven and a compact oven and one of the lower draws could, with some clever carpentry be used for a warming draw I went to the SMEG store in London to choose the ovens. We decided to go for the Linea range, as it was simple and classic with a range of features, like the pizza ‘stone’ at the bottom of the oven. For the compact oven, we opted for a combination with microwave features, as at the moment we use a microwave a lot at the moment with Sophie liking her milk warmed up - but we never used a microwave a huge amount before she came on the scene, so didn’t want to waste space with a stand alone and having two ovens is so useful when hosting. 

Originally I had wanted a dark kitchen, either in the Charcoal that had been in the Neptune Weybridge window when it originally opened, or in navy. However, the Suffolk kitchen comes in standard colour of Driftwood and Chris at Neptune made an excellent point of why not get the kitchen in the standard colour rather than paying extra for it to be painted, then when it was in place, then making a decision on whether we wanted to paint it. Oh, I’m so so pleased we followed this advice. I love the colour and the neutral shade of Driftwood looks so timeless, whereas I think a dark colour would have looked a bit imposing in the space.

For the worktops I had also fallen in love with the worktop in the Neptune showroom, which is Neptune Old English White from Rock Revelations - a quartz with a subtle marble effect. It is as beautiful as I had anticipated, but it does mark very easily - although I’ve been able to get them all out so far. To finish the look we also chose the kitchen lighting from Neptune. We wanted glass not to spoil the view across the kitchen which also becomes the dining and lounge space.

One of the design features of the Suffolk kitchen is the beautiful larders, in the showroom there is the most beautiful double larder unit. Sadly we couldn’t fit this in with the symmetry we were trying to achieve, but we opted for a single larder one side of the fridge and it is really useful. The inner shelfs are perfect for storing herbs and spices that I used to have to rummage for and the inner draws are handy for storing cans and sauces accessibly too.

We had a bin unit in our last house for refuse and recycling, which made for a much sleeker look but I also wanted somewhere to put the food waste rather than having to duck under the sink. Our design incorporated a really large bin and then two smaller bin draws, one that we use for recycling and the other for compostable waste, leaving the under sink cupboards free.

We chose to have the units around the fridge freezer recessed into the walls - another idea that we stole from the show room. Which looks really stylish and also stops that sticky dust that collects on top. We also did this above out hob hood to look a bit more like a chimney. As the other wall units stepped in and out for the oven housing we decided not to do the same for this section and I think this really works with our space, making the kitchen look more designer.

Typically, after designing the Kitchen around the american fridge freezer, it decided to die on us! Luckily we really loved the finished design and decided to get a very similar looking replacement, but opting for a really reliable brand - Siemens. Having a chilled water and ice dispenser we loved in our last house so it was a no brainer to go for this again. We opted for the iQ500 which has hyper fresh boxes keeping meat, fish and vegetables fresher for longer and Wifi connectivity so we can monitor and control remotely.

We love love love the space we have created and the kitchen makes me smile every time I walk in and has to be my favourite part of our home. 

Thank you to Philly Photography for the the of many of the images in this post


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