A traditional style kitchen with a modern twist was the brief for this couple’s renovation project in South London.
A stone’s throw from Clapham Common, Lucy and Will’s home of seven years is a spacious, Victorian terrace house which they share with their rescue cat, Buzz, and, for the last 14 months, their son, Raffi. Coming up with creative and original ideas comes quite naturally to Lucy, who runs her own experiential marketing company, Jackanory. Not surprising, therefore, that she had a few up her sleeve when it came to their house renovations.
When they first moved south of the river in December 2013, Lucy and Will had to be patient. Initial work was purely cosmetic and extending and renovating their kitchen was put on hold. But when work did begin six years later, disappointments were to follow: what was promised to be a 16-week project by their builders ended up taking a year and it was, in Lucy’s words, “disastrous”.
Lucy had had her eye on a Neptune kitchen for years. “My husband’s father had worked alongside Sir Terence Conran so, when he drew our attention to Neptune, I took notice.” Naturally, Lucy did her homework and researched other companies, but Neptune won the day. “Nothing compared to the quality of the kitchens,” said Lucy. Standing the test of time was of upmost importance to Lucy and Will, but they were also drawn to the classic style of the Chichester kitchen. They loved the traditional, farmhouse style of the Chichester design, but they were keen to personalise it or, as Lucy put it, “give it a twist”.
Top of their wish list was a drinks bar, as opposed to the popular central kitchen island seen in so many houses. In their new kitchen, the drinks bar replaces an exterior side wall and runs parallel to the cabinets and cooker on the opposite side. This provides them with an open space in the middle and, on the other side of the bar – in a lean-to extension – a place for their kitchen table. To accommodate Lucy’s wish to avoid harsh edges, Nicki, their kitchen designer at Neptune Fulham, advised bespoke curved cabinets. Lucy wanted it to be modern but also soft, so Nicki recommended antique glass for the cabinets and marble surfaces as well.
One hiccup was discovering a waste pipe which ran down from the bathroom above. “I couldn’t bear the thought of hearing gushing water every time the loo was flushed upstairs,” laughs Lucy. Nicki’s solution was to conceal it in the right-hand mirror cabinet of the bar, where sounds are muffled by double insulation.
Installing a cat-flap was another challenge. “We didn’t want to spoil our Crittall windows by inserting a hideous cat flap,” Lucy explains, “so Nicki came up with the idea of concealing it in the back of a cabinet and creating a bed for Buzz at the same time.” Lucy did have to forfeit one thing on her wish list, which was a broom cupboard but, in its stead, she has a much-loved pantry. No further compromises needed to be met and the new kitchen has display cabinets for their glasses, lots of storage space and hiding places for their appliances. “It’s everything we’d imagined and more.”
Three months after completion, Lucy decided to continue the dark green paint (a custom-mixed colour) used on their bar for the rest of the kitchen floor cabinets. “We’d been nervous about being too bold with a dark colour throughout,” says Lucy, “but having become accustomed to it, the colour combination of dark green with bright white is very striking.”
Lucy tells us the kitchen is the heart of their home. “We’re hardly ever in our living room now,” she laughs. “We love it, it’s a very happy space.”
Life in her new kitchen
What’s your favourite thing to do in your new kitchen?
To sit at the bar, a gin and tonic in hand!
What’s the best part?
Looking out of the Crittall windows onto the garden whilst standing at the sink. It’s a Butler’s sink which is something I’ve always wanted. I love it.
What could you now not live without?
The cat flap. It gives Buzz his own world and is one of the first things people notice walking in.
Neptune’s Ardingly cabinet. I’d like to turn it into a storage unit for Raffi’s toys so the dining room doesn’t look like a playroom!
Enjoyed reading about Lucy’s kitchen? There are more Neptune stories to be told, just here.