Kitchen design with a statement island and marble-effect worktops

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…

Homeowner Jenna and her labradoodle
Stylist Jenna Treat and her labradoodle Digby.

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.

Modern kitchen design with a statement island
Modern kitchen design with a statement island by NJC Kitchens.

“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.

Smart cabinetry

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.”

The design houses built-in ovens, and a fridge and separate freezer, from Samsung, as well as the dishwasher, from Neff, and a waste bin close to the wet zone.

Modern kitchen design with a statement island and integrated sink
The integrated sink is from Marazzi.

Breakfast cupboard

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.

breakfast cupboard
The breakfast cupboard includes a compact boiling-water tap from Quooker.

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.

hob on the island
Integrated sink, from Marazzi, and vented induction hob, from Bora.


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.”

Downlights provide task illumination over the island. And the striking pendants zone the breakfast bar and splashback area while introducing a focal point that adds style and glamour.

kitchen layout
We love the moody atmosphere of the kitchen island.

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.

open-plan kitchen-diner
The kitchen-diner is spacious, so it is perfect for cooking, dining and entertaining.

As originally told to: Amelia Thorpe | Photography: Laura Marin Rupolo

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