One kitchen, three homes

One kitchen, three homes

Functionality in a kitchen is just one element of design. The best deliver a whole lot more, as our exploration of the Suffolk kitchen collection, in three very different styles and sizes, proves.

The most successful kitchen designs begin long before a single cupboard has been drawn on a grid. They start with the ideas and interests of the homeowners, and how the space can reflect their lifestyle. Are they a convenience cook or a budding chef? How modern do they want to be? How flexible? How sociable?

And the best designs will evolve to reflect individual needs, from the smaller, starter kitchen to the considerably larger, kitchen-as-a-living-room space, giving homeowners the chance to create a truly personal environment.

Our Suffolk kitchen is one example of a style that adapts effortlessly to its user’s needs. Common across the collection are the solid oak interiors, unfussy details and simple, refined lines. This is a kitchen with high design principles, careful proportions and, here in our three examples, woodwork hand-painted in elegant Ink.

But the Suffolk hides a secret. Its subtle, Shaker-inspired aesthetics give it the power to transform. It means the Suffolk will work just as easily in a narrow, urban extension as it does in a grand, high-ceiling barn conversion, freeing up the homeowner to layer on their own vision and personality.


1. The compact kitchen extension

It’s the little things that make all the difference in a smaller kitchen. The challenge with a galley-style space or single row of cabinets is that they can feel a little predictable and one dimensional. So, far from keeping details to a minimum to stop the space looking cluttered, this is the opportunity to unleash creative flair, have fun with colour and experiment with display.

In this kitchen, a bank of Suffolk cabinets in Ink have been given an unexpected and eye-catching flourish with the addition of Dylan leather toggles instead of traditional handles. The linear flow of cabinets has been enhanced with an equally linear shelf running the length of the kitchen and providing room for displaying favourite pieces (and solving some storage solutions). To make a feature of this long visual line, the wall colour, in contrasting Saffron, has been carried up to – and including – the shelf, and the narrow granite splashback emphasises the effect. Finally, the chequerboard floor tiles deliberately break up the horizontal lines to add a punch of modern graphic pattern.


2. The versatile, easy to use kitchen

A busy, family space needs plenty of room to manoeuvre, easy access to essentials and worktops that can multi-task as food prep, homework and dining surfaces. An island and a large, double-door larder are practical solutions, as are convenience appliances such as a hot water tap and double ovens. This is a kitchen that needs to work hard and fast – and switch easily between the hectic breakfast rush and a casual supper with friends.

Strong contrasts are a signature Neptune look, and in this Suffolk kitchen, the deep navy hand-painted units balance perfectly with the white work surfaces, chrome Barlow cup handles and pale floor. Bleached wood furniture softens the starkness and, rustic wall panelling painted in Ink and Salt adds warmth and texture to what could have been a formal space. Instead, this is a kitchen that feels relaxed and welcoming while delivering practical storage and flow solutions in one smart package.


3. The lofty, cooking, eating and living space

Dream kitchens don’t get much more dreamy than a soaring-ceilinged, vast-windowed space with enough room to create cooking, eating and relaxing areas. And while, at first glance, this might look like an easy design project, working with large expanses of space and unusual architectural details can have its challenges. Luckily the Neptune design teams are adept at working in all types of buildings, from cottages to barn conversions, and relish the challenge.

The proportions of the Suffolk kitchen work wonderfully in large spaces, not least because the collection includes extra-high wall cabinets and combines seamlessly with the freestanding Charlecote island which can be customised to fit individual spaces. But the key to making a large room feel cohesive is zoning. Rugs play an important role when there is a wide expanse of floor, giving an instant sense of ‘islands of space’, while colour helps connect different areas. These Ink-painted Suffolk cabinets blend with the Olive island which links to the Chawton contemporary dresser. The other challenge of a lofty, scaled up space is making it feel homely. That’s where warm woods, family oil paintings, vibrant plants and an inviting leather armchair or two come into play. Kitchens are so much more than a place to cook – and this kitchen is all about a life well lived.


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