New kitchen has transformed family life
Christmas had traditionally been a time when Liz Patel felt stuck in her old kitchen, remote from the rest of the house and her family and in need of more light, space and company. “Our old Victorian house had a small kitchen with no heating and no one ever lingered there, so we decided to knock three rooms into one so we would all have a kitchen where we could eat and relax in as well,” commented Liz.
Now Liz and her family of five - husband, three daughters, plus a dog and three cats, are enjoying the benefits of their new Beau-Port kitchen and this Christmas they all enjoyed a more companionable time cooking, eating and relaxing in their new kitchen, dining and living space. Her two eldest daughters returned home for the holidays from University to find their home transformed and she commented: “It was so exciting for them to come home and see the big changes and they were just wowed by it all, the warmth, light and design of the kitchen and the different experience. It has totally transformed the way we live. I just love it and still feel the thrill and pleasure every time I come into the kitchen.”
With a lifetime wish to have an AGA, that became Liz’s starting point and it is how she found Beau-Port Kitchens and Interiors at Bentworth near Alton, the nearest company she could find that sold both AGA cookers and are kitchen design and installation specialists. “As soon as I stepped into the Beau-Port showroom and saw the AGA on display, I fell in love with the kitchen around it and knew that the solid, traditional Shaker style design would look perfect in the space we would create and was substantial in its construction and design to look balanced with the very high ceilings we have.”
By opening up the kitchen into two other rooms it meant having to design around 6 windows and 4 doorways, leaving limited wall space, but Liz was confident that Mark Johnson of Beau-Port would not be daunted by this challenge and commented: “Mark’s design fits the house perfectly, uses the space to optimum effect and looks like it has always been there. The way it complements the space is so spectacular. It is so different to any other kitchen we had seen. It looks like a stand alone, unfitted kitchen, like a series of beautiful pieces of furniture brought together and that is what I like about it. Yet it all looks so connected and flowing through the more narrow space into our snug area, which is linked by a stunning dresser that Mark also designed. All credit to Mark’s designer’s eye and his attention to detail.”
The central island is also one of Liz’s favourite features of the kitchen, describing it as a modern variation on the large traditional work tables that were found in grand country houses, yet high enough to be perfect for working on without bending and with the double benefits of having huge storage capacity and casual dining breakfast bar at one end.
This piece of kitchen furniture was also the inspiration for Mark’s design for a new dining table for the separate dining space. Liz could not find a ready made table that would ‘fit’ the look and space that she now has and asked if Mark could design and make something bespoke for the whole family to enjoy.
Another favourite area for Liz is her old fashioned porcelain sink, which sits on a bed of Caesarstone, an engineered quartz stone that is 93% granite in Shitake colour.
Colour to add warmth and style
Mark Johnson has been designing kitchens and interiors for over two decades and has an artist’s eye and appreciation for the power of colour and how to use it in different spaces and situations.
He recommended using a contrasting Farrow and Ball ‘Pigeon’ on some of the units to bring in a warm, yet neutral tone into the kitchen and to identify the specific areas such as the central island and the counter top larder and linking that in to the dining table by painting the legs in this soft muted tone. “We are also thrilled with the choice of Caesarstone that Mark recommended as that has also added more warmth to the look of the kitchen, and he recommended the type and colour of flooring that would best suit our family use,” said Liz.
The Farrow and Ball colour follows through onto the dresser linking the kitchen to snug and has also been used on the canopy that hides the extractor hood over the AGA, another area of the kitchen that Liz feels has benefited from Mark’s inspired designer’s mind and eye. ”Mark also used the colour on the counter top larder, which not only looks amazing but is one of my other favourite features of the kitchen and no other kitchen design company could give me a design like that. It is amazingly practical, in the perfect position in the kitchen and looks stunning,” continued Liz Patel.
Liz Patel was initially quite nervous about undertaking a project that would radically change a large part of her home and choosing a kitchen that she and her family would live with for the next twenty years. All she had to work with were the initial floor plans showing what the builder could do in terms of creating an open plan space by knocking three rooms into one larger area. Liz’s view is similar to Mark Johnson’s in terms of the need to design from the inside space first before committing to a specific construction plan and she said: “I feel we spoke to Mark at the right time and would advise anyone that it is best to talk to a good kitchen designer in the very early stages and see what they can do with the space and get your design in place before finalising the building plan.”
Having any kind of project undertaken in your home while still living in the space can be stressful, but apparently the design and fitting of the kitchen at the Patel home was a stress free experience. “We really appreciated Mark’s calm approach and the fact that he just looked after everything. He and his team made the whole process so easy and no pressure at all. The whole project just rolled forward very easily and with no stress at all at any stage.”
Creating the perfect design for the Patel family lifestyle was paramount for Mark and Liz Patel really appreciated his attention to detail in every aspect of the design, construction and installation. “Mark just kept coming up with great ideas and solutions and we trusted him completely. He understood what we wanted to achieve with the space and look and we felt guided by Mark from his drawings to the end product. It is exactly what we wanted and more. He has created a traditional kitchen that looks so solid and so perfectly in its right place, sits well in the period of house, yet is contemporary and up to date and a joy to work and live in.”
The Patel family seems very pleased with their choice of British made bespoke kitchen and also with the way the installation progressed and Liz Patel commented: “The fitters were amazing and it was great to see master craftsmen at work and to know that the kitchen has been made in Britain. There were absolutely no snags at all, no problems and everything works so well.”
The Patel’s had looked at other kitchen companies but felt that Beau-Port stood out from the competition. “The other kitchen companies just presented kitchen designs that were so similar to what we already had and their showrooms did not inspire us at all, mostly cramped and showing bits of different kitchen designs in small areas, whereas the Beau-Port showroom gave us a true feeling of life-size kitchens so that we could really get a proper idea of how they would look and work in our home. As soon as I stepped into the Beau-Port showroom I knew I’d found something different. I then took my husband over to visit the showroom and he thought it was brilliant too.”
Formulating initial ideas for your dream kitchen can be a daunting task for anyone, but Liz Patel found the Beau-Port website a very useful resource by looking at previous projects the company had completed, she could pick out the various elements from different kitchen projects and discuss the practicalities of combining these elements with Mark.
“We are so thrilled with the work that Beau-Port has done for us and friends just can’t believe it when they see it, they say it looks like a kitchen from an interiors magazine. We are looking forward to working with Mark again as we are getting him to come up with some designs for furniture for our bedroom and study next.”