Kitchen of the Week: An Ecofriendly Plywood Kitchen in the Cotswolds
This sustainably and ethically built country kitchen is packed with clever design details to give it a modern yet natural look
The kitchen is the heart of a very contemporary family home, newly designed by architectural designer, Charlie Luxton to complement its natural surroundings in the Cotswolds Hills.
Who lives here Tara Murphy and Dimitri Daras and their three small children
Location The Cotswolds
Designer Sam Shaw of Sustainable Kitchens
Size An open-plan kitchen of 4.2m x 4m within a 3 bedroom new build
Sam Shaw’s brief for this unusual country kitchen was twofold. Firstly, it had to work with the rest of the house, a newly designed, ecofriendly building near Stroud that Sam describes as a ‘modern cube with wooden shingles covering the outside and lots of zinc and glass, built to merge with its surroundings in the Cotswolds Hills’.
Secondly, the kitchen had to be robust. ‘Tara, the owner, runs Vietnamese cookery classes from home and so wanted the space to feel very much like a working kitchen,’ explains Sam. As such, there are several clever details that help the design to be fit for purpose as well as beautiful to look at.
There was a continuity issue, too, since the house already had prominent birch ply internal doors and shelving, which Tara was keen to echo in the kitchen. All the wood used in the kitchen comes from sustainably managed forests.
The island is also a bit lower than average, but Tara isn’t tall and wanted a working space at a comfortable height. There are sunken sockets in the floor, allowing her to plug in small kitchen appliances as needed.
The vintage lampshades usually hang over the family dining table and were all sourced by Tara and wired with bright green fabric flex.
Just visible on the left here you can see the huge ply sliding doors that open – at the back – onto the utility room and – in the foreground – onto the staircase downwards to the bedrooms, past bookshelves made from yet more beautiful birch ply.
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‘We wanted it to look completely clean and seamless,’ says Sam of the floating, ‘wraparound’ design. ‘But because the Douglas fir boards are quite thin, it’s difficult to hide the fixings and make it strong.’ The secret is the clever ‘box’ structure, which boosts support and adds strength without compromising the streamlined visual effect.
Flooring and shelving made from Douglas fir, Dinesen.
Elibloc HT extractor fan, Elica. Ovens, Smeg. Induction hob, Neff. Möjlig gas hob, Ikea.
The window ledges are made from more of the Douglas fir flooring.
Vault sink, Kohler.
What do you think of this contemporary country kitchen – do you like the trend for exposed plywood? Let us know in the Comments below.