Neural aesthetics? Check. Real wood? Check. Calm yet cosy vibes? Double-check – this Scandinavian-style kitchen in Winchester ticks all the right boxes.
Ali and husband Simon found a 1990s house with huge potential. It had a large garden, stunning views of across the South Downs and in the perfect location, a short walk from the middle of Winchester. And there was more: “I have a thing about living up on a hill,” jokes Ali, “and it even ticked that box!” Their vision for the renovation was a bright, modern, family kitchen that leans to the Scandi aesthetic.
Let’s find out more about the renovation of Ali and Simon’s dream Scandinavian kitchen…
Ali and Simon knew that the large plot would allow them to extend and create the perfect family home. They took “three long years” planning and tweaking the layout and starting again, before taking the plunge. The heart of their new home was to be a stylish but practical kitchen.
“We wanted the space to be relaxed, warm and highly functional. But also easy to maintain because we have three children,” explains Ali. “We were struck by the aesthetic of some of the Scandi kitchens we had seen, which had a neutral colour scheme, plenty of biophilic elements and natural materials. It needed to look minimal and uncluttered, yet soft and interesting.”
Designing the Scandi kitchen
Ali was keen to merge bespoke crafted cabinets with more contemporary design. And after a lot of research, she chose Searle & Taylor, creative local designers, who completely understood the brief.
The solution was to use a blend of lacquered and laminated handleless furniture, with a mid-century, Danish aesthetic by the Austrian brand Ewe and complementary bespoke natural oak cabinetry by Searle & Taylor.
Today, the kitchen is a creative and light-filled space that lifts the spirits with its characterful yet minimalist design that incorporates interesting and pleasing shapes. The space proves that Scandi design is not, as some believe, boring or, whisper it, predictable.
It is a seemingly simple design, although the reality is that kitchen design is rarely straightforward. It features two worktop runs and an island. The handleless white cabinetry facing the island is home to the sink, which is sunk into a Calacatta Gold Suede worktop.
The island, which includes the hob and a recirculating, vented induction hob, allows room above for Tom Raffield’s stunning natural oak pendant lights. And, to the side, there is a tall run – the cabinetry is in Fango, a neutral earth tone – which houses two Miele ovens. These are flanked by a tall larder fridge and a fully integrated freezer with an ice-maker, meaning the space oozes cooking convenience.
The designer has well thought out any opportunity to create extra storage areas in this pared-back design. “The sink run is incredibly long – it accommodates two under-counter dishwashers together with further storage. We designed small, neat wall units to bridge the wet area between the two dresser cabinets, with reeded glass panels,” explains Darren Taylor of Searle & Taylor.
The kitchen island includes waterfall end panels for a seamless, flowing effect. The clever accessories include a built-in warming drawer, allowing for an uncluttered design that’s perfect for entertaining and socialising. “The impressive island is the stand-out feature because it is multi-purpose,” says Darren. “Not only does it form the social hub of the kitchen but concealed behind the vertical blonde oak slats there’s loads of additional storage.”
The new space thrills Ali with its beautifully pared-back design, amazing views of the South Downs, and ample storage that ensures the kitchen always feels clean and tidy. “I admire clean and minimal design, but my style is also eclectic,” she says. “I like to merge traditional and beautiful pieces, and add texture and warmth with sheepskins, rattan, plants and thoughtful lighting.”
And, as the pictures show, she has successfully achieved that. It’s an incredibly successful and collaborative design that ticks all the boxes.
Photography: Paul Craig