Has your kitchen recovered from the festive season? It is a time when friends and families gather in the hub of the home, with more people looking to combine their kitchen, dining and relaxing spaces into one open-plan living space for these special gatherings.
A couple of days ago I dropped into Beau-Port’s 2000 sq ft showroom at Bentworth, between Alton and Basingstoke, to deliver copies of the December issue of Good Homes magazine, which has a double page editorial feature on one of Beau-Port’s Shaker style kitchen projects.
I always love going into the light and spacious showroom and on that particular day it was full of sunshine. Even though I have been in and out of the showroom for the last four years, I am always impressed with the kitchen displays which are changed and updated on a regular basis. Plus the new bedroom furniture display and additional newly introduced third kitchen furniture option.
Our Beau-Port designers Mark Johnson and Jacob Johnson had a busy couple of days at the Rotpunkt HQ in Germany, at the furniture manufacturer’s showrooms discovering all of the latest and most innovative kitchen materials, styles and design detailing of the new ranges.
As Beau-Ports primary contemporary design furniture supplier, the Rotpunkt range continues to evolve and expand and offers a vast scope of new styles, finishes and materials. Many of the materials and finishes used in their latest offering are not being used by other kitchen manufacturers.
The unique finishes used in the creation of Rotpunkt’s latest designs include materials that resemble copper, stainless steel and even concrete. Yet these skilfully manufactured finishes are ‘warmer’ in appearance and feel than the material they replicate. These new materials are perfect for the popular urban loft style of interiors that are a growing trend and they also contrast well with the wider use of wood effect finishes, which are also growing in popularity.
Somehow the Rotpunkt designers and skilled craftsmen effortlessly create and combine these new materials with various wood effect or plain lacquered doors and drawer fronts, bringing together a set of unexpected colours and textures that make their furniture so unique.
Our head designer Mark Johnson has been using some of the textured wood effect materials when designing contemporary kitchens for the companies clients in Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire and Sussex, combining a stainless steel island with distressed oak breakfast bar. While Jacob Johnson has combined Bardolia Oak with a wood-grain-structure finish to contrast with Rotpunkt’s Zerox ‘Icy White’ doors on a previous project.
Design expertise is one of the most important skills to look for when you are seeking the perfect partnership with a kitchen and interiors design company, when planning any home improvement, especially in the kitchen area. With so many factors to consider - selection of the right furniture, layout, flow, appliances, lighting, flooring, worktops etc.
Another Beau-Port designed and installed kitchen will be featured in a national magazine later this year. The popular ‘Good Homes’ magazine will be publishing a case study on one of our Shaker style bespoke kitchens, installed in a recently extended house. So look out for the December issue of the magazine, which will be on sale from early November.
The interiors publications are eager to feature as many open plan, living, cooking, dining kitchens that have well designed kitchens and our client Liz Burleton kindly agreed to being interviewed by one of the magazine’s leading feature writers.
One of the first things most people do when considering a new kitchen, is to buy a bunch of interiors magazines for ideas and inspiration. One of the UK’s leading interiors magazines, ‘Essential Kitchen Bathroom and Bedroom' magazine, recently selected a Beau-Port project for one of their main editorial features (July 2016 issue). The nine page feature focuses on the fascinating story of Jo and Dave Ibbotson’s new build eco-home on the borders of Surrey and Hampshire. It explains how they called upon the expertise of Beau-Port’s Mark Johnson, who helped them create a statement kitchen as part of their large open-plan living and dining space.
It is extraordinary how far people will travel to get the right thing. Even in this age of internet shopping, purchasers still value the importance of actually going to see and try out the things they want to buy, especially the higher value purchases connected to home improvements, such as new kitchens, bathrooms, bedroom furniture and other items of furniture.
They then also have a better idea of the quality of the products and also very importantly the service they will received. When investing in any major projects on your home, it is essential that you find the right products, best quality, service, value and affordability, plus the right people to work with who you feel you can trust to do the very best job.
A new DIY warehouse opened up locally a few weeks ago and I decided to take a look and see what was on offer and how their products and displays would measure up to Beau-Port’s products and showroom. It was difficult to get a real sense of how the kitchens I saw would look in a real setting, most were just very small kitchen displays or just portions of kitchen displays, all looking rather clinical in the harsh light of the warehouse setting.
The Beau-Port design team of Mark and Jacob Johnson have the benefit of a large showroom that has full-scale kitchen displays so that client’s can come along and get a real feel of how a particular kitchen - whether it is a contemporary kitchen, traditional kitchen or Shaker style kitchen - would work in their home.
A few decades ago we had the Yuppies - young, well-paid, middle-class professionals - now this generation has reached what is now known as the WOW stage - Wiser, Older and Wealthier - the WOW generation. This apparently refers to those who are now the 50+ age group, moving up the age scale away from their most debt enduring times from their 20’s to their mid 40’s.
It is a time when those who have had ongoing, well-paid careers finally find that they have more money to spend on the important things in life - more travel, better car and to be able to move up the property ladder and to have that beautiful bespoke kitchen or interiors project they have always wanted.
Alpha Boomer is another term for the same group, recently used to describe the 55 - 65+ age group in the US, currently the fastest growing group in that nation.
Recent figures in the UK show that there are now more people over the age of 40 than under that age and that 35% of the population is now over 55. This is the age group that also seems to have the funds, time and interest to spend on home improvements. Some have ‘empty nested’ and no longer need the large family home and look to down-size or even buy additional holiday homes. Some just want to release capital to be able to experience all the items on their ‘bucket list’. While others just want to use it to also make their new or existing homes - better. They then have the funds to have exactly what they want and how they want it - expertly designed kitchens, media centres, beautifully fitted bedroom and bathroom furniture, boot rooms, laundry rooms or even cinema rooms.
At Beau-Port we welcome Yuppies, Alpha Boomers and as many of the WOW generation as we can fit into our huge 2000 sq ft showroom! They will all get the chance to test drive our numerous full-scale kitchens, see our media display and other interiors displays and to linger a while and chat over a coffee with us, about how we can make their particular time of life and their homes even more beautiful and comfortable.
Even though we design and sell both German and British kitchens and interiors, we are still a patriotic bunch here at Beau-Port. We love working with British craftsmen and we have formed close links with some of the very best in the business, who are all based in our green and pleasant land. We are also very choosy about who we will work with and trust with our bespoke designs as we always want to be better than the competition! Our Shaker style and traditional kitchens are not only handcrafted by our talented team of expert cabinet makers but are also installed by the very same craftsmen who have turned our designs into reality.
We all have a passion for what we do and enjoy the process of seeing a kitchen or interiors project evolve from first ideas — ours and crucially the client’s own ideas — into the final finished and perfect project. We also get a huge buzz from the client feedback we get and can boast that it is always positive — so much so that many of our clients call us back to do further projects in their homes, usually starting with a kitchen then moving onto projects in the bedrooms, living areas, laundry and boot rooms and more recently with our media centre designs which sit well in open plan living/dining/kitchen areas or some clients prefer to have their own separate media rooms — these can be either bespoke British made designs or contemporary German furniture, handcrafted by Rotpunkt, a leading name in fitted high-end cutting edge modern furniture.
Our best of British also extends to the independent standalone pantries we have recently designed. A great idea for those who want a bit of extra storage space in or close to their kitchens. As a separate piece of fine furniture they have the additional benefit of being able to go with you should you decide to move home. We see these pieces of furniture as the heirlooms of the future, to be handed down from generation to generation.
We can also alter these and customize them for use in other areas of the home — as a bed linen store — the French would call them an armoire and the old-fashioned name for them in Britain used to be ‘linen press’. A great place to store all the bed linen, towels, table cloths etc.
Another area we enjoy working in is the creation of bespoke individual pieces of furniture to go with a kitchen project, a specially designed dining table, or console table — all British designed and hand crafted to the client’s specifications.
One of the joys of having a new kitchen designed and fitted is using your new appliances for the very first time. It is all a bit like driving away that new car, with its new smell and feel - knowing that no one else has used it before - you are the first.
It is the same with a new cooker or intelligent hob for the first time and cooking that first meal.
Beau-Port can add another joy to that first time experience - with up to £1000 of Experience Vouchers when customers purchase 5 selected Siemens built-in appliances with a studioLine induction hob, with the appliances incorporated into a Beau-Port designed and installed kitchen.
Whenever you see a Beau-Port project promoted in the media, you will see a real kitchen or interior, not a manufacturer’s brochure shot - as some companies use. This allows us to show prospective clients real kitchens and interiors that have been designed for their real lives - not showroom shots.
Whenever you see a Beau-Port advert or an editorial in the interiors section of a lifestyle magazine, you will see a real project that has been completed with great care and attention to detail. They are always photographed by leading property photographer Peter Wright, who captures every angle, appliance and feature of each project. These give our prospective clients a good idea of the range and quality of the projects we work on.
I visited one of Beau-Port’s projects recently, stepping into Jo Bowler’s new all white kitchen and media area to see how imaginative design, stylish lighting and shape all conspire to create one of the most welcoming kitchens I have ever seen. I sat down at Jo’s new circular breakfast bar and wanted to stay there all day. Complete with delicate beaded lighting that encompasses the central island, Jo says it adds enormous atmosphere to the large open plan space that she and her family have loved since the moment it was installed.
[caption id="attachment_649" align="alignleft" width="279"] The beautiful curved breakfast bar, created by Wharf Solid Surfaces for Mrs Bowler in Medstead, Hampshire.
[caption id="attachment_665" align="alignright" width="420"] The kitchen is within an open plan space that Beau-Port Kitchens created a media centre in the same furniture.
This beautiful Rotpunkt kitchen has given Jo and her family so much. She loves her central island more than anything else, cooking for her children from one side of it while they sit at the long circular end on cosy bar stools chatting to her about their day, doing a bit of homework, playing with their iPads or slipping over to the media centre area with its matching Rotpunkt units to watch a bit of TV. The new kitchen has made the world of difference to Jo and she comments about how the children all want to be together with her in the open plan area, rather than retreating to their bedrooms.
Other areas of the new Rotpunkt kitchen that Jo is really enjoying include the convenient tall larder units that Mark designed, as Jo definitely didn't want specific wall units over worktops. Clutter was something else Jo wanted to avoid, with a specially designed unit to hide all the daily clutter to keep work surfaces nice and clear. So Mark designed a neat counter top shutter unit that hides the kettle and hot drink making things in the Rotpunkt white and complimented by Grey Wild Oak panels to add a colour contrast to the contemporary theme of the kitchen.
[caption id="attachment_668" align="aligncenter" width="533"] This bespoke kitchen designed and installed for a home in Oakley, Hampshire features Urban Wild Oak panelling and "sand" doors, all created in our German Rotpunkt furniture.
Rotpunkt Urban Wild Oak was used in the design of another Beau-Port kitchen for Christine Boot and to great effect to form a completely flush floor to ceiling wall of units. Like Jo Bowler, Christine loves the fact that there are no handles needed on the sleek Rotpunkt kitchen furniture - just soft touch and open for each individual unit. Her wall of cupboards is also free of outside handles and surrounds her stylish stainless steel fridge freezer, adding considerable warmth in both colour and texture to her kitchen. The bead like threads of lights also help to create an intimate atmosphere around the Rotpunkt units and floating shelves, while the high gloss sand units give a neutral backdrop to Christine’s dramatic colour scheme. She commented that she and her husband spend most evenings in the kitchen now, chatting and playing on their iPads, rather than glued to the TV.
Rotpunkt has a history of designing and creating intricate wooden products for the home that dates back to 1930, moving into designing kitchen furniture in the late 1940’s. The company is now a highly regarded player in this field of design and manufacture, with an international reputation for producing the highest quality products using the latest manufacturing technology.
Mark Johnson wanted to partner with a company that would produce the best contemporary kitchens that would last for many decades, stand the test of time and never look dated. The Rotpunkt kitchens have delivered on all levels and Beau-Port now has many satisfied customers like Jo and Christine who just love so many things about their Beau-Port designed and installed Rotpunkt kitchens.
The rain has stopped - well almost, and the daffodils outside Jane Austen’s house, located close to Beau-Port Kitchens and Interiors, are in full bloom. It is at this time of year that some of us get the urge to change our environment, even if it is just to have a good clear out and make way for new and exciting things.
What used to be the traditional time for the DIY market to burst into life, many of us are looking at our homes and thinking about ways we can improve our environment. It is the perfect time of the year for starting work on new projects. The daylight lasts longer and energy returns as we enjoy the first rays of sunshine after the long and very wet winter.
The increased daylight also draws our attention to all the corners of the house that need maintenance or improvement and although we may not need a new kitchen yet, there may be other areas of the home where we can make a difference.
Simply changing a particular corner of the house such as creating a study area, or encapsulating your wide-screen TV within a new media centre, or thinking about additional storage in your existing kitchen, utility room, bedroom or bathroom can bring positive benefits for all the family.
How often have you stepped into a busy home to see a messy computer corner, used by every member of the family who have nowhere to put all their stuff? The mess spreads out around the room and there is often no clear boundary around this space to keep it all under control.
The ever rising cost of our utility bills means we are all looking for ways to reduce the amount of energy we use. Selecting the very best, energy-efficient appliances for customers is high on the list of Beau-Port’s priorities. Mark Johnson and his team are continually looking for the best latest technologies to incorporate into their kitchen designs.
After extensive research across the appliance market, Mark recognised that the intelligent technologies incorporated into the new Siemens studioLine range, would give Beau-Port clients the largest range of energy efficient benefits. The studioLine hobs include the innovative full surface induction technology, which allows pans to be positioned anywhere on the hob. This state of the art automatic pan recognition means that only the area of the hob in contact with the pan is heated - perfect for all those odd-shaped, long and rectangular shaped pots and pans to benefit from even heating and saving on energy costs.
The Siemens studioLine hobs displays the exact position, size and shape of each pan immediately upon contact with the hob on the colour TFT touch screen. The temperature of each pan is controlled separately, giving total and precise control over the hob.
Siemens have thought of everything, including how easy the hob is to keep clean, right down to the magnetic disc controls that are easy to remove for cleaning.
Beau-Port now sells and installs a range of Siemens studioLine products including these intelligent hobs and also the very latest oven technologies featuring 3D hotAir, temperature probes and more - look out for our follow-up blog on these amazing ovens or come and visit the showroom to see the latest cooking innovations!
I have always wanted a walk in larder and have just seen one that Mark has created for one of our Beau-Port clients. It is so beautifully crafted and well thought out with a design that can store just about any size of jar, bottle, or package and somewhere to put all those vegetables and fruits that don't need to be put in a fridge. Often putting certain types of fresh produce into fridges can actually do them more harm than good - mushrooms and bananas are good examples.
They created bespoke oak doors with a simple space rack hanging from the door.
Beau-Port Welcomes You with the Aroma Of Fresh Coffee!
You just have to take a walk along any High Street in any town to see the abundance of coffee shops that have sprung up over recent years, to realise the allure of the aroma of fresh ground and freshly made coffee. While pubs are closing across the country, the new way to meet up with friends and family is to meet for a coffee. However, like the trip to the pub it can be a costly social event but we have a really cost-effective solution – to give you the ability to produce the same high-end, delicious coffee that you would pay pounds for at a coffee shop, but in the comfort of your own home and to have the divine flavour and aroma of the fresh coffee whenever you want and at a fraction of the price of a shop bought coffee.
With decades of experience designing kitchens, our Mark can squeeze the maximum amount of storage space out of every kitchen. His eagle eye immediately hones in on every angle of every corner of every cupboard and all the spaces in between!
Visiting one satisfied client recently was like discovering a new ‘art form’ as she cheerfully showed me all of the ‘hidden’ storage solutions that Mark had come up with – even making the most of a small space above a built-in microwave to accommodate her tea towels, space under the ovens turned into a touch open deep drawer for her baking trays and a wide cutlery drawer all added to the space expanding elements of this pretty bespoke kitchen.
The traditional British High Street is no longer the location where people start to look for products and services. Most people turn to the internet in the first instance to research and explore all the options. This is certainly true in many cases when looking for a kitchen, although personal recommendation is such a strong factor in determining the final choice of kitchen designer and installer. Creating a new kitchen is a very personal thing and although the research for the right company and strong recommendations from friends and family may draw you to a particular company you have researched on the internet – ultimately you will want to see the real thing, try the real thing, test the real thing and go out and visit kitchens and interiors showrooms.
One of the things I loved the most about visiting my grandmother in her Irish farmhouse was the joy of exploring her walk-in pantry and the smell of fresh churned butter, home-made soda bread and looking at her jars of home preserves lined up neatly on unreachable gingham cloth lined shelves. Ever since then I have longed for a pantry and have to admit to feeling a sense of envy when I recently interviewed one of Beau-Port’s clients who has one. But not everyone has the space for a walk-in pantry or larder but Mark at Beau-Port has been telling me about the company’s plans to create the ultimate free-standing pantries that can be tailored to fit any space in any kitchen or utility room – all handmade and installed for you into your kitchen. Plus these beautifully crafted pieces of fine English furniture can be taken with you when you move.
Beau Port are renowned for their kitchen design, manufacture and installation and they are now moving their expertise into other areas of the home including bedrooms, bathrooms, studies, laundry rooms and media rooms, designing and installing beautifully fitted high quality furniture.
There is a silver lining to every cloud and in the aftermath of the horsemeat scandal it appears that consumers are dumping the supermarket ready meals and going back to basics by cooking their meals from scratch. Who would have thought that a food fraud would encourage people back into their kitchens? But this is proving to be the case in a large percentage of households and this has been backed up by the recent increase in foot fall to the numerous farmer’s markets across the county of Hampshire, as reported by the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets Chairman Toby Bowtell who said:
“In the past few weeks we have seen more shoppers coming to the markets specifically to buy fresh meat to cook their own meals from scratch. They are saying they have checked out the supermarket ready meals because they want to know where their food is coming from and that it is genuine local produce with a traceable food chain and that they are prepared to spend the time cooking meals to ensure that they know what they are serving their families.”
Following on with our literary theme for this month, another more contemporary writer Joanna Trollop has been famous for writing ‘ AGA Sagas’, as the literary media called her novels, usually set in old Vicarages and country cottages. There was a time when AGA ranges were seen only in farmhouses and fine country homes, set in very traditionally styled kitchens. But now they are often incorporated into the most contemporary kitchens and hold their own in terms of modern design and efficient green technology with state-of-the-art touch-screen control panels with independently controllable hotplates and ovens – ON when you need them and OFF when you don’t. They now come in all sizes and colours and can run on gas, oil or electricity and still offer the uniqueness of AGA- cooked food produced from its radiant heat which treats food differently. It doesn't blast food with drying direct heat. Instead, radiant heat from the cast iron ovens gently cooks food, locking in flavour, moisture and goodness.
Excitement is building at Beau-Port Kitchens and Interiors huge showroom, with the forthcoming launch of their new AGA Kitchen, providing the perfect home-comfort base for you to enjoy our programme of Cookery Demonstrations – coming soon!
Now in its 13th year, this successful family run business has created a unique environment for customers to come to ‘test-drive’ a whole range of real size, skilfully designed contemporary and traditional kitchens in a wide range of high quality materials, made by skilled craftsmen and fitted with tender loving care to give you the kitchen of your dreams.
The 2000 sq ft showroom now also offers a range of interior solutions for other areas of your home, including fitted Bedrooms, Home Offices, Utility/Laundry Rooms and even Media Rooms.
Come and linger a while in our fabulous range of beautiful room settings and enjoy the very personal service provided by the Johnson family, who are passionate about your projects.
We will be updating the design, adding really useful information to help with your kitchen project over the coming weeks.
In the mean time check out some of the last kitchen designs projects recently completed.