Tour this open-plan kitchen with a statement island

When homeowners Antony and Eugenia bought their home, it was in good condition but they knew it still had amazing potential. KBB journo Ben Webb speaks with Eugenia to discover how the couple has created this gorgeous open-plan kitchen. Fancy a tour?

The plans included connecting the long galley kitchen, separate dining room and a new extension to create a 50-square-metre kitchen that would be flooded with natural light. It was a major project, so the couple engaged the architectural company Resi and a structural engineer.

Resi designed a steel box frame, so that there was no need for internal columns, and the result is truly impressive. “It is an obstacle-free space,” Eugenia says. “It is north-facing, but bathed in natural light because it has a five-metre-long roof light.”

Kitchen with natural light: Light grey and marble kitchen with large island and hob with downdraft extractor.
The kitchen extension took 20 weeks to complete and cost £100,000.

How did you plan the layout for such a huge space?

An open-plan space as large as this can feel chaotic, so we created distinct smaller areas with different functions – cooking, eating, and relaxing. The first step was to decide on the kitchen cabinets, which we put against the longest available wall, and we still had space for the three-metre island that offers the cook lovely views of the garden.

The island is the hub of all activity in the room. You’ll find us all hovering around it, whether cooking, chatting or relaxing and admiring the garden.

kitchen with natural light: Functional kitchen island with drawers and hob with integrated extractor.
The kitchen island is a functional space with lots of drawer storage and a flush hob and extractor.

The kitchen design

We have chosen calming and contemporary tones that radiate tranquillity. The walls are Farrow & Ball’s Skimming Stone, which complements the cashmere and truffle colours on the cabinets. There is also a beautiful blend of warm and cold metals; the stainless steel of the ovens works well with the dark bronze cabinet handles.

To add contrast and interest, the large, custom-built bookcase was made in a walnut-effect product that has a much darker surface. The pale porcelain floor keeps the space bright. The same tiles have been used on the patio, the whole space feels even bigger when the doors are open.

We went for an in-frame kitchen design with inset doors. The door is smaller than usual because it sits within the wooden frame. But, there are lots of practical benefits: the edges of the cabinet doors, for example, are more protected and hence less likely to show wear and tear, so the kitchen will look pristine for longer.

The large pantry has lots of smart storage like built-in spice rack, basket drawers and strong shelves.
The large pantry has lots of smart storage like a built-in spice rack, basket drawers and strong shelves.

Any clever ideas that have worked out well?

A low-maintenance kitchen was top of the wishlist. We have a venting hob in the island that sucks air downwards so there’s no need for a huge extractor fan above. It’s just so fun to cook on the island while others are watching. Family and friends now sit and keep me company while I am preparing food. And the smart oven, which connects to the Caple app, has saved me more time than I know. You can turn it on while shopping, so it’s at the perfect temperature when you get home.

kitchen with natural light and large island with double stacked appliances
Double stacking the appliances created more room and put them at eye level, all appliances from Caple.

Were there any challenges and compromises you have had to deal with?

There were two big challenges during the build. The initial design required two pillar columns, which cut the space in thirds – and one of them would have been embedded in the island. However, the box design solved this issue. Second, creating the five-metre roof light was complicated in terms of planning but bringing more natural light in makes a huge difference to the room.

Looking back, it was a fun project, where every element of the design has our stamp on it. It was a collaborative process to make sure the space worked for everyone. We pushed ourselves in our choice of materials and products, but it is paying off now. Whether we are sitting on the sofa, at the island or the dining table, we can enjoy the expansive view.

Open-plan kitchen living space with lots of natural light coming in from the large windows and skylight.
The north-facing open-plan kitchen and living space are flooded with natural light from the impressive five-metre-long skylight.

Is there anything you would do differently in hindsight?

Our lack of experience meant we had delays that could have been avoided. We could have been better prepared with our drawings from the outset, rather than make changes on the go, and we could have ordered some products earlier on to save time on the installation. We spent six months from the day we kicked off until completion and I feel it should not have taken more than four months at most. 

Has the kitchen changed the way you live?

Where do I begin? To start with, we have completely changed our approach to family time. Everyone is now involved in the dinner preparation and roles have been reversed. We have already started entertaining in the new space and during the summer, when the sliding doors are open, the space is an indoors-outdoors marvel. Cooking in this kitchen during the different seasons feels as though it is going to be so much fun! 

kitchen with natural light: Large pantry with wooden interiors. Coffee machine with cups is on the bottom shelf while the top is for glassware and alcohol.
This multi-functional larder is both a breakfast spot and a bar area.

As originally told to: Ben Webb

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