The joys of going bespoke

Jon Sillitoe of Burlanes Interiors discusses why self-builders should consider investing in a bespoke kitchen, explaining how it worked out for a family in Chelmsford.

Your kitchen is the heart of your home, where the family congregates to eat, cook and socialise. Your kitchen tells a story of how you live and your habits and tastes. When undertaking a kitchen renovation, you should never underestimate the importance of good design and practicality, and you should work with a kitchen designer who understands you, your family and your home and lifestyle. Quite often, this service is not available when buying a modular kitchen, and is one of the many benefits of choosing a bespoke kitchen, that is designed and handmade to order.

As well as limitless design options, a bespoke kitchen is fully flexible to your home, and the space you have available. A bespoke kitchen is designed to fit your room and your lifestyle perfectly, and is usually of a premium quality, and tend to be built to last. By working with a bespoke kitchen designer, you will have a made-to-measure kitchen that is timeless, and totally unique to you and your home.

As part of an entire home renovation of their 1920s town house in Chelmsford, Essex, Sophie and Chris Hoxton created their dream kitchen by adding a side return extension to the family home. Not only did this create more space, it also opened up the back of the house, allowing natural light to flood the room. Having relocated to Chelmsford from London, the couple wanted to bring a touch of their London lifestyle to their new kitchen.

Despite working collaboratively on the design and style of the rest of the home, the couple were unsure as to what style of kitchen to purchase. They had a number of creative ideas and visions, but struggled to tie them all together. The couple had difficultly in finding an off-the- shelf kitchen that would tick all of their boxes in terms of style, layout, colour, quality and of course the proportions and dimensions of the room.

After lots of shopping around, Sophie and Chris decided to look into a bespoke kitchen, and commissioned Burlanes to design and build a handmade solution.

Sophie says,

“We were so unsure as to where to start with the kitchen design, and after weeks of shopping around, we popped into a local kitchen showroom that had recently opened on Springfield Road in Chelmsford, and instantly knew that they would be able to help! A home visit was arranged for the same week, and before we knew it, designs were underway!”

The initial design process was a very smooth ride, with designers able to present a galley-style kitchen, complete with bespoke storage solutions, a classic larder unit and even a quaint handmade table and bench seating area, all of which were exactly to the couple’s taste. Opting for a shaker cabinet, with handpainted Tulipwood doors and antique silver handles and drawer pulls, the kitchen’s style is classic and timeless.

Totally bespoke and made-to-measure, each cabinet is handmade to order, meaning all available space is maximised. Sophie was so pleased with the initial designs that with just a few minor tweaks to the positioning of the sink, delivery was scheduled for six weeks time. “They understood what we wanted completely, and were able to design the kitchen we had always dreamed of from a few rambling ideas of ours!” she says. Burlanes’ own installation team were able to complete the entire renovation of the kitchen, including the initial fitting, painting and decorating, plumbing and electrical works.

The couple worked closely with Burlanes to select the perfect colour palette for the room, tying in the classic kitchen style with the contemporary feel of the rest of the home. The final chosen colour for the kitchen cabinetry is ‘Bond Street’ by Mylands – London’s oldest paint manufacturer. Combined with the Silestone Quartz worksurface in ‘Lagoon’ and the rustic, authentic brick slips on the walls, the couple’s new kitchen suits their style and needs perfectly.

Despite the initial design process running so smoothly, there was a major stumble in the road when the site survey was arranged with the installation team, prior to manufacture of the furniture. The new cooktop that Sophie and Chris had chosen would sit higher than the original cooker that was installed, meaning the new design layout of having the cooktop within the chimney breast would not work, as it would sit far too close to the original wooden lintel; a huge fire risk.

Both Sophie and Chris loved the new layout, and it made perfect sense for the cooktop to sit within the chimney breast. Not only would it frame the cooktop perfectly, it also meant the extraction could be directed straight out of the kitchen, so a solution had to be found.

Working closely with the installation team, the designs of the cooker surround were tweaked slightly, and the solution was found: move the original lintel further up the chimney breast to allow for a better air flow, eliminating any heat issues. Although this would involve further building works prior to the installation of the kitchen, it was a fairly straightforward procedure. Once the lintel had been moved, and all associated works within the kitchen were complete, the installation of the cabinetry and appliances was underway, with all works completed in just three weeks.

Jon Sillitoe is a design consultant at Burlanes Interiors