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.
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.
Image above: I was chef in residence at Leighton House a couple of years ago during the Nour festival and one of the workshops was on spice mixtures and I took the opportunity to reorganize my spice cupboard and bought a whole lot of Weck jars. Even though they don’t all stack up perfectly, I love them and I love the fact that they are completely hermetically sealed preserving the spices in perfect condition. They also look great.