Bespoking a Neptune kitchen

Bespoking a Neptune kitchen

When interior designer Nigel Hunt of Huntreay Interiors undertook the total renovation of a dilapidated Victorian Gothic house in West London, he took on his biggest project to date. Luckily, amidst all the decisions to be considered, one thing he didn’t have to think too hard about was the choice of kitchen cabinetry. For this was Nigel’s fifth renovation using Neptune cabinetry, with previous projects including a Cotswold cottage featuring pink Suffolk cupboards and a bijoux central London apartment kitchen also using Suffolk cabinetry.

For this much larger kitchen with scullery area, Nigel reverted to the Chichester collection, cabinetry he’d previously used in a similarly large Edwardian property. ‘I love the simplicity of the Suffolk design but there is just something so appealing about the Chichester collection,’ says Nigel. ‘The cabinetry feels so solid and classic, and the finish is such good quality. Plus, you can customise it easily which is what I did in this space.’

But first, back to that refurbishment.


The kitchen was planned to sit on the lower ground floor, but while the space had windows, it felt too much like a basement. For Australian-born Nigel, light was of huge importance, so the decision was made to dig down and extend out to create a large open plan space with lofty ceiling heights of up to 2.7 metres. And rather than a predictable box-like, modern extension, Nigel echoed the curve of the windows of the upper floors with a floor to ceiling bay window and door to create what would become a relaxed seating area.

‘I was keen for the kitchen to feel light and bright and a desirable place to live in,’ says Nigel, ‘but I was concerned that it was on a separate floor, so I made the staircase leading into the kitchen wide, giving it a generous half-landing, and positioned a skylight above the stairs to connect it with the rooms above.’

With the structure resolved, Nigel set about planning the kitchen space. His first instinct was to create an enclosed scullery but as the project developed, he decided to section off the study area at the front of the property with glazed doors and simply create the sense of a separate scullery with the use of partial stud walls. ‘The scullery area is fantastic,’ says Nigel, “it has a Belfast sink, a small larder cabinet and a large American style fridge. All the food prep can be done in that area, leaving the kitchen as an entertaining space.’

Nigel positioned a line of Chichester pan drawers, with backlit display shelving above, along the wall under the stairs. The effect is suggestive of a super-long dresser while making good use of the space in the shade of the stairwell. On the opposite wall, he ran a length of cupboards and drawers from scullery to the far end of the kitchen, keeping the effect light by using just one continuous oak shelf on the wall above and a discrete, bespoke cooker hood.

Working with Becky Smith from Neptune’s commercial team, who helped with advice on cabinetry placement, Nigel avoided the temptation to fill the large central space with an enormous island. ‘I wanted a good flow through the room and wanted the island to feel more like a table than a big square box,’ says Nigel. ‘It needed to play a role but not dominate the room.’

To give the island that dining table feel (and do away with the need for an actual dining table), Nigel designed bespoke wooden ball leg supports in each corner, which he had carved in Latavia by a source he discovered on Etsy. ‘The oak legs work really well with the dark green painted cabinetry – I used a shade called Standen Clay by Morris & Co – and they also talk to the oak shelf and the narrow oak trim ceiling architrave which conceals LED lighting.’

When it came to the stone surfaces, Nigel wanted to make a statement. The Carrara marble worktops are more veined than in previous projects and he opted for a double bull nose edge to give the kitchen island character. The striking chequered floor is a tumbled marble by Mandarin Stone which Nigel choose for its imperfect finish and soft colouration.

The finished result is a combination of contemporary design with classic period details. ‘It was a conscious decision to combine authentic British kitchen design that talks to the heritage of the building with less fussy, more modern elements to keep it streamlined,’ concludes Nigel. It is a project full of good design decisions.


Nigel’s three design tips


  1. A kitchen island needs to feel in proportion to the space, bigger isn’t always better.
  2. If you like to keep things tidy, consider giving some space to a scullery or pantry, they are great for organising family life and help define the room as an entertaining, cooking and working space.
  3. Consider using two single taps rather than a mixer tap. There is something simple and purely functional about them that makes them feel rather modern.


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