This Chichester kitchen is living amongst a very famous face in the world of house music. Leoni’s husband, Nathan Duvall, is one of the three members of the band Disciples (he had just returned home from a world tour when we arrived for our photoshoot). While Nathan is busy making music, Leoni runs her own hamper business called Lou’s of London where she brings together personal shopping and hamper gifting. And then there’s their 12-year old, football-obsessed son, Casey. This creative household moved from Surrey to their 17th century listed barn in Kent, which was a working farm until only four years ago. It had already been converted into a home when they bought the property, but they’ve since completely reconfigured the layout and redesigned the interior. And it all started with their Neptune kitchen.
Leoni knew all about Neptune well before she started designing her dream kitchen; she would often pop into Neptune Wimbledon on trips to London. When it came to deciding on her own one, we pinged to mind and into Neptune Wimbledon they went. “Before we’d even moved in, I knew I’d want to start by sorting out the kitchen. Nathan took some persuading, surprise surprise, but I dragged him along and took him to the Wimbledon store so he could see why I was obsessed!” Leoni told us.
They started by buying our Seaton flagstone flooring. “That’s where it all began,” she laughed. “Then we nipped back a few more times. I thought I’d wear him down gradually. We had our complimentary design consultation and quote, but the team actually suggested we speak to the designers at Neptune Tonbridge because it would be our closest store when we moved, which was nice of them. We were wowed with it when we went. It’s huge!” By this point, Leoni and Nathan had almost settled on the Chichester kitchen and, with the help of Ellie, their kitchen designer from Neptune Tonbridge, they decided to stick with the collection they had loved from the start. “Chichester definitely stood out to me the most. I loved the light and bright colour. It made the space seem bigger but wasn’t too clinical and I liked that it had a bit of a traditional character to it.”
With the Chichester collection decided, the design of their new kitchen really got underway. Like most people, Leoni had more than one or two things on her wishlist. “I wanted an island with a big Belfast sink in the middle and I loved the Everhot cookers I’d seen in the Neptune stores. Nathan wanted an American fridge with one of those water dispensers and we both wanted a wine fridge and lots and lots of storage. We have all of that – it’s hard to say it without smiling – and more storage than I could’ve ever imagined. We’ve got a larder, huge drawers, little drawers, corner carousel cabinets. I know where everything is and I can get to it all so easily,” Leoni continued.
Leoni found the design process smooth and bump-free and gave high praise to Ellie, especially for how she was able to develop their ideas further and add things to the design that they might not have otherwise done. “Ellie suggested a breakfast pantry area a bit like what the Suffolk and Henley kitchens can have with those bi-fold doors. She made that work in Chichester for us. Nathan wanted to add a cooker hood too but it wasn’t easy to do. Ellie figured it out though and it makes the room feel so cosy. I honestly couldn’t fault Neptune in any way. The communication was excellent and the whole process was incredibly smooth. Even down to the tiniest detail, like how they gave us extra touch-up pots of paint, because they knew how, with Casey around, there would always be a ball in sight threatening my lovely Shell-coloured cabinets! I thought that was a really considerate touch that just summed up the whole experience for us.”
Life in her new kitchen
What’s your favourite thing to do in your new kitchen?
“Nathan says my favourite thing to do is clean. That’s partly true, but only because I love it so much! In all seriousness, I love Nathan making breakfast in it. He’s the breakfast king. It’s all he can do though if I’m honest. We also just love standing together and looking at our kitchen too – I’m not even joking!”
What’s your favourite part?
“The hot Quooker tap. It’s seriously a wow factor for our guests – it’s become part of our act. Everyone finds it amazing.”
What could you now not live without?
“The wine fridge. Let’s just say it gets very good use. That, and everything really. It’s all used and appreciated. Having the double sink is a huge help too. I literally can’t pick one thing, it’s too hard.”
“Next is designing a wet room for downstairs. It’s just a Jack and Jill bathroom at the moment and because a dog’s on our wishlist, I want somewhere we can sort him or her out after a muddy walk. A utility room’s in the pipeline too. We already have our Neptune plans drawn up for that. And we want Nathan to have a studio built in one of the barn’s outbuildings. So you know, just one or two small projects up my sleeve…”