There’s room to customise pieces at every level, too, whether you’re transforming furniture with a coat of paint or swapping modern door furniture for antique alternatives.
Individuality is central to the design of a traditional kitchen, but there are plenty of hallmarks that these diverse spaces share. As with any recipe, the key to a successful end result is to start with the finest ingredients. In a kitchen, that means bringing together a mouthwatering combination of furniture, china, cookware and appliances in order to create a room that’s impossible to resist.
Variety is a key element in every traditional kitchen. By mixing up groups of antique and new furniture, built-in and freestanding storage units, and quirky and conventional tableware, a room is created that’s packed with intriguing pieces. Worktops that were once benches in school science labs and glass-fronted display cabinets which show off their contents work well alongside classic shaker-style units. Where space allows, a table or island unit is always the focus of this sociable space and as a rule it will be a wooden one, whether polished and pristine or a well-worn vintage specimen.
Details make all the difference to the overall impression that’s created in the kitchen. From the shapely hand-turned legs of a treasured dining chair to the finishing touches on cabinetry, such as pilasters, moulding and cornicing, there’s a sense that everything, however small, is worth doing properly.Beauty and practicality go hand in hand on every scale – the imposing form of a classic dresser looks all the better for being crowded with china (and can handle the largest of collections), while old-fashioned favourites such as open plate racks and smooth wooden cutlery drawers provide inconspicuous but invaluable storage solutions. There’s room to customise pieces at every level too, whether you’re transforming furniture with a coat of paint or swapping modern door furniture for antique alternatives.
Many of the classic elements of a farmhouse or country kitchen are determined by the original features of the property. The beauty of exposed wooden beams give an instant sense of history and are a gift when it comes to creating a rustic look, as well as providing a great space for hanging pots and pans. Meanwhile an often-envied inglenook fireplace is the perfect backdrop for a range cooker that’s large enough to cook for a house full, adding to the look of a warming hearth and the irresistible charms of a wood burning stove.
Materials and techniques which were once used as a matter of necessity, are now at the heart of a traditional kitchen’s distinctive style statements. Tongue and groove panelling, woven wicker storage baskets, ceramic sinks and whitewashed floorboards and furniture are just some of the popular ways to add an old-fashioned homely look to your cooking zone. And if you don’t want to prepare a meal in the shadows but aren’t a fan of an overly integrated look, desk lamps offer an alternative to modern built-in task lighting.
Of course, what places a traditional kitchen firmly in the current era is a willingness to embrace new developments. At one end of the scale, soft-close drawers or cupboards create a subtle sense of luxury, and traditional range cookers are now available in electric and programmable designs. Meanwhile, cutting-edge technology has brought us retractable flatscreen TVs, laptops that will slip into a kitchen drawer, and hidden speakers which seem to bring music out of thin air. Proof that it’s possible to incorporate the 21st century into the most traditional kitchen design.