The re-imagined kitchen

The re-imagined kitchen

Debbie Harris loved her Neptune kitchen but wanted to reconfigure it as her lifestyle changed. Here’s what she did.


Moving into a new property is exciting but there can be a temptation to make quick decisions. A few years on however and that earlier vision can change. That was the situation commercial director Debbie Harris found herself in, seven years after moving into her forever home and installing her much anticipated Neptune kitchen.

“I’d been obsessed with Neptune kitchens for ages as I’d seen advertisements for them in magazines,” she recalls. “When I moved into my house, Neptune Canterbury was just opening so I went to the launch day and quickly got to work with the design team on creating my dream kitchen.”

Debbie, who channels her creative passion for interiors into the Instagram site @aurorahome.england, was clear that she wanted in-frame, painted cabinetry and was drawn to the simplicity of the Suffolk collection. “I loved the idea that I’d have the ability to change the look in the future whilst having a kitchen that was guaranteed to last a lifetime.” Her Suffolk kitchen was duly fitted, and Debbie settled into life in her detached 1930s Kent house with her two growing children and Alfie the cockerpoo.

Roll on six years and Debbie was ready for change but not for the cost of a new kitchen. She admits: “I didn’t live in the house long enough to see how I’d use it. There were areas that always bothered me.” An existing partition wall between the kitchen and eating area, where the island was situated, made the space feel enclosed. Debbie wanted a better sense of connection and wanted her island to be a social place for friends and family to gather. But her Suffolk cabinetry was robust and so she was keen to find a way to reconfigure the space to suit her new vision.

Debbie reached out to Lauren Jennings at Neptune by Closa whose design work @laurenoliviadesign she’d long admired. “I had a good idea of what I was looking for this time around,” she says, “I wanted a marble worktop and splashback and was impressed how Calacatta Viola marble can warm up the look of a kitchen.”

“Debbie loved a previous project of mine with a tall stone splashback and stone shelves,” explains Lauren, “so we knew from the outset this was something we wanted to add. I came up with a brief for new stone worktops in a bold marble and suggested the island be painted a green/brown shade with an oak worktop. Debbie wasn’t initially thinking of a wooden worktop but after some consideration was happy to go with it.”

Lauren helped Debbie source the stone though “the process is very different to man-made alternatives. There’s so much variety and you can’t choose from a sample cut, it is advisable to view the slabs in person,” says Lauren. “This can be a slow and sometimes painful process as slabs you travel to see, may not always be right for the project. It is good to be aware of the slower pace and enjoy the experience of seeing so many beautiful stones. I always find it’s worth it in the end.” 

Lauren also came up with a solution for some awkward boxed-in piping. “We used a pantry cupboard to hide the pipes,” says Debbie, “and it also proved useful for tucking away the kettle and toaster. The previous cooker hood was replaced by a bespoke, more discreet version and the sink was realigned with the kitchen window – swapping out one base cabinet for a slimmer wine rack.

Debbie opted for the colour update and had the cabinetry repainted from Cobble to Snow, while the new oak island worktop was extended to offer a better seating arrangement and repainted in Mylands’ Artillery Ground shade.

 Debbie’s new-not-new kitchen is a remarkable makeover. While she splashed out on the marble surfaces, the rest of her new kitchen was more cosmetic yet she’s left feeling as if it’s a whole new space. “The project has given the room a new lease of life without the expense of a new kitchen,” says Debbie, “and I’ve fallen in love with it all over again.”

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