Picture a bright and open space with a multi-functional and hard-working island, sleek cabinetry and a layered lighting scheme – sounds dreamy, right?
When designer Nick Clisby, founder at NJC Kitchens, was asked to create a new kitchen design with an island and dining space for stylist Jenna Treat, he knew he was in for a treat. “The whole house is decorated like a cool Soho club,” he reveals. “I knew that Jenna would want an exceptional kitchen, especially when she showed me the unusual dusky pink shade of paint she had chosen for the walls.”
Here, Nick tells KBB journo Amelia Thorpe how the project came together…
The kitchen island
The extension to the rear of the semi-detached, three-storey Victorian house replaced a very small galley-style kitchen and separate dining room.
“The aim was to create a large cooking, dining and entertaining area, opening out to the garden with an indoor-outdoor feel,” explains Nick. “The starting point for the layout was a large island – the sociable hub of the space, providing ample room for preparation and cooking.”
The vented induction hob, from Bora, is positioned so the cook faces out towards guests. “The breakfast bar makes a feature at one end of the island and is built at a different height to signal a new zone,” he says.
“The nearby breakfast cupboard makes it easy to prepare coffee or tea without getting in the way of the chef.” The island is wrapped in ultra-durable, stain-resistant marble-effect porcelain. “The warm tone complements the pink walls, while its chunky thickness is designed to create a sense of grandeur,” says Nick. Meanwhile, Shaker-style cabinetry from NJC Kitchens, painted in soft taupe, introduces a classic note.
A sweep of sleek, tall flat-fronted wall cabinetry, from NJC Kitchens, in a rich grey-brown lacquer adds contrasts to the marble worksurface and wall cladding. “It’s good to mix styles,” explains Nick. “Especially in a large room like this, which needs different textures and tones to provide interest.”
Double doors open to reveal a coffee machine and toaster. Plus, a Quooker boiling-water tap and drip tray for making tea, are all ready and waiting for breakfast. The doors slide into side pockets to allow for uninterrupted access to the contents of the cupboard. When breakfast is over, it’s easy to close the doors and hide any mess from sight.
The kitchen wet zone
The beauty of the marble-effect worktop, from Marazzi, is particularly noticeable when seen vertically. It is one of the reasons for cladding the wall behind the sink in the same material. “It is instantly eye-catching, as well as very practical in protecting the wall from splashes,” Nick adds. An open shelf breaks up the run of tall cabinetry and makes an area for displaying ceramics and glassware.
A structural steel beam in the ceiling could not be removed. “We wanted to make sure it wasn’t unsightly,” says Nick. “So my team and I added the decorative cornice with concealed strip lighting around the perimeter, which washes the area with soft light and also makes the ceiling feel lifted.”
The dining area
The dining table – with bench and banquette seating – sits parallel to the island. It’s a welcoming space for meals with family and friends and relaxing with drinks. When the sliding doors to the garden are open, on warm days, there is space to move around the room and out to the decking with ease, creating a good flow and an indoor-outdoor feel.
As originally told to: Amelia Thorpe | Photography: Laura Marin Rupolo