Kitchen Tour: A New Layout Creates Seating, Space and Storage
By moving walls and reworking the existing plan, these homeowners found room for their dream feature: a walk-in pantry
However, when they explained what they were after – lots of room for family, entertaining and, above all, a walk-in pantry – Charles told them a rear extension wasn’t the answer; the space they needed was already there.
Who lives here? A husband and wife with two young children
Location Wandsworth, south-west London
Property A Georgian townhouse with four bedrooms and four bathrooms in a conservation area
Room dimensions Approx 5m x 6m
Designer Charles Elwell of Kitchens By Holloways
Interior designer Elizabeth Callon Macfarlane of Macfarlane Van der Heul
Year of project 2021-22
Photos by Enzo Cerri Photography
It was meant to be a site visit about replacing a kitchen, but once Charles had heard his clients’ wish list and seen the space, it became a much bigger conversation – and he began to mentally reconfigure the entire ground floor.
Originally, their kitchen was a galley design squeezed into a side-return extension. A reception room filled the other side of the back of the house, but the two rooms weren’t connected. Looking at the existing kitchen, Charles said, “There’s no way you can get the kitchen you want in this space.”
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As they chatted, he did this ‘back-of-an-envelope’ sketch. A few things shifted in the final plan (see below), but this quick initial drawing shows the broad layout change.
Charles often asks clients to set up a Houzz profile in order to convey their style preferences. “The photo saving can be very pinpointed and gives you a clearer idea of what they’re looking for,” he explains.
To do all this, Charles designed these double doors, creating a new entry point in the middle of the floor plan to access the back part of the ground floor. “If you were to turn around in this photo, you’d see the living room with identical doors opposite on the other side of hall,” he says.
The kitchen (in pink) was a galley design. “There wasn’t a way of improving it within that space,” Charles says. “I advised [the owners that] putting a new kitchen in [there] wouldn’t be better, only different.
“That’s when we started looking at reconfiguring the layout, as they’d said they were also looking at a full refurbishment,” he says. “As soon as I mentioned we could [design, build and project manage], too, the project expanded.”
More: 6 Ways to Open Up a Kitchen Without Extending
Removing the wall between the rear reception room and the galley kitchen was transformative. It allowed Charles to put the kitchen on the right-hand side and create a generous dining area with banquette seating in the area where the old kitchen had been.
At the garden end, the original galley kitchen had stretched into a short outrigger; this has now been turned into a light-flooded seating area. At the house end of the new space, the walk-in pantry and utility room are roughly in the location of the original utility and a cloakroom, now repositioned off the hallway.
“We usually try not to have a sink on an island because of the mess,” Charles says. Instead, it’s located in the run behind, in a “letterbox-like” niche painted an elegant green and sandwiched between tall cabinetry containing stacked ovens (with a warming drawer below and storage above) and a fridge-freezer.
The island, instead, contains the hob. “It’s flush, which is less visually intrusive and doesn’t draw the eye so much,” Charles says. In the ceiling above there’s a painted-in extractor that ducts out. “Everything’s hidden and it’s very powerful,” he says.
Extractor fan, Westin. Five-burner flush gas hob, Miele.
The classic style works on another level, too. With sustainability in mind, Charles explains they always design kitchens to last. “We often get a call to go back to a kitchen we put in 20 years ago from a client who wants us to repaint the cabinets,” he says.
The striking splashback is made from patinated brass and all the sockets and switches in the room are burnished brass to tie in.
Stainless-steel undermounted sink, Franke. Tap, Quooker.
In the first cupboard on the left, next to the ovens, there are pull-out bins, with under-sink storage next, then a dishwasher and drawers for cutlery and crockery. Drawers on this side of the island house pots and pans, storage containers, sieves and so on.
The owners originally wanted a terrazzo worktop, but Charles nudged them towards a softer, subtle terrazzo-effect quartz. It’s 20mm deep and continues over the end of the island in a waterfall formation.
New oak herringbone flooring adds another layer of natural materials to the space.
4601 Frozen Terror worktop, Caesarstone.
Out of shot to the left there’s a wraparound worktop. “Bakery, food prep – it can all be done in there and it keeps mess out of the kitchen,” Charles says.
Artworks define the space. “The wall of artwork faces the kitchen and is a really nice thing to look at while you cook,” Charles says.
As for the lighting, he adds, “It was too busy above the table for pendant lighting – we’d also decided that’s what should go above the island. Here, the wall lights create a softer light for when you’re at the table.”
Wall lights, Kitchens By Holloways.
The seats lift up to reveal storage and are designed in the same oak as the island detailing and the kitchen shelf.
What do you think of the way Charles has transformed this space? Share your thoughts in the Comments.