In the heart of Englefield Green village in Surrey, stands a large villa circa 1899. It’s a property that Liz Hudson has known, loved and desperately wanted to live in for most of her adult life. And 20 years ago, to her delight, she became the proud owner, unpacking boxes with her husband, Steve, their two children Lily and Louis (“We’ve been trying to urge them to leave, but still have one left,” she jokes) and, most recently, their two rescue dogs Bridget (“who’s just gorgeous”) and Teddy (“who’s completely bonkers and has turned it into a mad house”).
It wasn’t very long after Liz and her family were all settled that the renovation ideas began to sprout. The kitchen though, came much later, finally starting on 16th January last year. “I’d been planning the kitchen for years. So when we finally said yes, let’s do this, the date became etched in my mind as a day of historic significance,” she remembers, laughing.
Liz consulted old notes she’d jotted down years ago when she started planning her dream kitchen. “I’d noted the Chichester kitchen island. I remember loving it; I just assumed Neptune would be out of my price range. But I thought I’d go along to Neptune Weybridge and see, and that was it really. There was no way I could have any other kitchen after that,” she smiled. “I remember saying to Karon [their Neptune kitchen designer], ‘I can’t afford this Karon!’ and she said very calmly and positively, ‘you’ll be surprised.’ She was brilliant from the word go.”
During Karon’s home visit, Liz was able to show her the rest of her home and how her style was eclectic and lived-in rather than perfectly coordinating and pristine. “Karon really got me and my style. She made sure I’d have room to mix in some antique cupboards, and I know she just wanted me to have the kitchen of my dreams rather than selling me as many cabinets as she could. I felt like she really connected with us and our home,” Liz continued. “I remember her suggesting a breakfast bar and me saying, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want that. Terrible idea.’ But what she did was gently guide me at times where she believed it was for the better, and I’m so glad I listened. It’s now one of my favourite places to be, because I can enjoy views of our garden. Something Karon had appreciated but I hadn’t at the time.”
Liz also has a real love for colour, choosing our Teal paint for her island to complement her beloved glazed metro tiles that form the stove’s splashback. “I’d seen them in House & Garden years ago. They’re from a company called Milagros who make them by hand in Mexico. The colour has such depth. It’s jewel-like, just like my Teal kitchen island, and my Neptune brass handles go with it exceptionally well.”
“I love every part of my kitchen and I honestly don’t really use any other room in the house that much. Everywhere else feels so sad in comparison. We have a lovely snug, a gorgeously bright living room, but they just don’t get a look-in any more. This is the room that makes me happiest.”
Life in her new kitchen
What’s your favourite thing to do in your new kitchen?
“Drink gin, probably! We have an open house every Friday and people just pop in, be it for one G&T or several, and I love how our kitchen can accommodate that. And in second place would be sitting at my breakfast bar – I hope Karon reads this and can think, I told you so!”
What’s your favourite part?
“That’s a very difficult question as I love it all, but I do enjoy sitting on the sofa with the dogs where I can see both the front and back gardens and all of the colours of the kitchen – the teal island, the emerald green glazed Mexican tiles, the brass handles, the soft pink walls and the crisp pale grey of the cupboards. I sit there and think how gorgeous it all looks."
What could you now not live without?
“This is going to sound odd, but my spray tap. I use it several times a day and it’s a small, simple thing that makes life so much easier.”
“I'm landscaping the front garden and decorating both a guest bedroom and bathroom. There’s also some finishing off of the laundry room – it never ends, but I love a project!”