Thanks to the instant success of deVOL’s first London shop just half a mile away, it had quickly become clear that one showroom couldn’t keep up with the amount of customers waiting for design appointments. Because of the high demand for beautiful kitchens, it wasn’t long before deVOL took the plunge and bought the entire building in St. John’s Square, with the intention to bring it back to its former glory. “As we explored not only the shop but the house above, we just thought it would be a fantastic place to display our kitchens and all the other amazing stuff we make and sell. From the derelict basement right up four stories to the roof garden with views of this historic square and beyond to St.Pauls, it was just an untouched, original property full of charm, character and history,” says Helen Parker, Creative Director at deVOL.
Kitchens are a beast to remodel. Regardless of how little you cook or use your kitchen, having it out of commission for even a piece of toast or a glass of wine is an encumbrance. My best advice is to be as prepared as possible before demolition; ask a lot of questions, get to know your subcontractors, and have a contingency planned into your budget for the unknown.
Basic Steps: Our main priority was to make a modern kitchen that didn’t clash with the existing 1910 home, so we were careful to identify a couple key features of the original house that we would keep to unify the new and the old. We refinished the old fir floor that was under the lino and made it continuous with the rest of the home’s wood flooring. We kept the picture rail above the cabinets and replicated the wood ceiling tiles that were in the dining area to tie the ceilings together. Those few things — the floor, the ceiling pattern and the old picture rail — provided the continuity of background, and then we juxtaposed the modern lines of the kitchen appliances and cabinets against that. We used a simple palette of colours and natural materials to harmonize the new and old. Light was also important, so we made sure to add windows and have lots of light from three directions, which gives a really even and natural quality of daylight. We also used the light fixtures to bridge the styles, mixing the traditional-looking incandescent glass globes with the contemporary bocci globes. For us, it is the conversation between the old and new elements of the house that make this space so special.