10 style secrets we learned from the kitchen design of edit58's founder – take inspiration for yours
Vintage counters and a surprising Amazon buy all feature in this barn conversion country kitchen, inspired by John Derian's NY home
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If you are searching for ways to make your country kitchen unique-looking, welcoming and beautiful, let this lovely space inspire you.
See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens
Designed for Lisa Mehydene, founder of edit58 (opens in new tab) – one of our favorite interior design destinations to go for stylish home accessories and covetable rugs made by craftspeople in the US, Portugal, France and Morocco – it is inspired by John Derian (opens in new tab)'s kitchen in his New York home. With cabinetry from British Standard by Plain English (opens in new tab), this characterful space perfectly suits its barn setting in the Cotswolds, the UK's sought-after countryside location.
We spoke to Lisa and to Adrian Bergman, design manager at British Standard by Plain English, to discover the secrets of the finished look.
Style secret 1: be authentic to the property
'Our barn is located in The Coln Valley in The Cotswolds and forms part of what used to be a farm, before it was turned into individual residential dwellings around 40 years ago,' explains owner Lisa Mehydene.
'Our property is, as the name suggests, the old barn building. I was really keen to be authentic to the property itself. So while we had to redo pipework, lay floors, install a new boiler and heating system, refit bathrooms, move door openings, replace windows, fit the new kitchen and AGA, install a new wood burner and then redecorate throughout, we retained the character that was here already.
'I wanted the result to feel like a traditional country kitchen in the countryside, without being too clichéd.'
See: Country kitchen ideas – inspiration, design and decor for rustic rooms
Style secret 2: find your interiors style
'My style is traditional with an eclectic twist,' shares Mehydene. 'I like to add a ruffle or an interesting detail to spaces so they feel very much our own.
'I love textiles and have used these to add a unique feel. I definitely had always longed for fabric skirts in my country kitchen, so I was thrilled when we found this property and knew they would work well in the overall design.
'I just find they help achieve the “always been there” look I was keen to create.'
Style secret 3: sprinkle on some design inspiration
'Due to its rural setting, I wanted this country kitchen to have a lived-in look, and not feel remotely as if everything in it was new. I definitely looked to interior books, magazines and Instagram for inspiration,' explains Mehydene.
'I love John Derian's New York kitchen and how he has used vintage counters and artwork to create a space that, while very definitely a kitchen, has a relaxed, vintage vibe to it.'
Style secret 4: mix off-the-shelf and unique pieces
'I love the traditional look of British Standard cupboards and that they are made by skilled craftspeople in their Suffolk workshop,' explains Mehydene.
'The range of standard sizes mean they are really flexible and allowed me to mix in vintage counters and fabric skirts, so that I could end up with a relaxed country kitchen that didn’t feel like it was all from one place.
'By incorporating a vintage counter, dining table and chairs, plus handpainted lampshades and various other items, I hope the room feels unique and individual to us.'
Getting expert advice on how to mix and match new and old pieces was essential to achieve the best result.
'We often work with vintage and antique pieces,' explains British Standard design manager, Adrian Bergman. 'We find that incorporating furniture with a history and story helps to add patina and interest to a space. This was really important to Lisa and we worked together to fit the vintage glazed cabinet into the scheme.
'As the kitchen has low ceilings, Lisa was keen to avoid wall cabinets, instead opting for vintage finds such as a small bobbin spice shelf. The result is a kitchen that feels in keeping with the age and character of the space, rich in personality.'
Style secret 5: add a touch of vintage
'The vintage counter was purchased from Belgium before we had bought the house, so I knew it needed to be incorporated into this country kitchen design,' says Mehydene. 'Luckily, it fits like a glove along one wall as though it was made to sit in that space.'
'Other aspects definitely evolved over time. We found the vintage table and chairs online towards the end of the kitchen reno, and more recently have installed a large Indian wall cabinet on the shiplap wall by the door. I found it at our local farm shop and fell in love!'
Style secret 6: consider your color palette
'The paint colors were chosen for their traditional feel, without feeling staid and dull,' shares Mehydene.
'The British Standard cupboards are all painted in Pollen by Atelier Ellis (opens in new tab) and the shiplap is painted in Dead Salmon by Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab). It's my favourite neutral as it looks mink/mushroom in some lights, and a more sludgy pink in others. It's also a great backdrop to art/cookbooks/flowers, as it makes everything "pop".
Style secret 7: add a touch of texture
'I wanted a terracotta floor to add texture but also for the warm rust tones that play well against the yellow cupboards,' Mehydene explains.
'A number of the walls in the room are painted brick, but I also wanted to include shiplap. It gives a distinctly different backdrop to the cabinets along the AGA elevation, compared with the opposite elevation which is all brick.'
Style secret 8: add softness with fabric
'I did go hard on the floral fabric skirts,' laughs Mehydene. 'The curtain rails were recommended to me and we love them.
'They are from Amazon (opens in new tab) (search Gardenia Antique Brass Bar), and you can buy them in different lengths and finishes. They are super reasonable too. The bar simply sits atop two small brackets that you fix to either end of your cabinet.'
See: Country curtain ideas for kitchens – dress your windows in beautiful and practical ways
Style secret 9: don't forget the chef
'I’m not the chef of the family, so I was definitely approaching the design from an aesthetic standpoint, whereas my husband was more concerned about the functionality and layout,' says Mehydene.
'For me I wanted beautiful low-level cabinetry, skirted open shelves and an oak worktop. My husband wanted large pot drawers, a huge butler sink and plenty of prep space.'
Adrian Bergman was on hand to help get the balance right.
'We worked closely with Lisa to achieve a kitchen that was not only aesthetically pleasing but that could also sustain busy family life and be a space to host friends,' Bergman says.
'For example, Lisa’s husband is a keen cook so we moved the position of the vintage cupboard to allow for more worktop space for food prep and decided to convert the Aga to electric.'
Style secret 10: create your happy place
'I love the "feel" of my country kitchen. It's my favourite place to while away time in the house,' says Mehydene.
See: Country kitchen diner ideas – cook and dine in a pretty, rustic space
'The lovely warm and cosy AGA (opens in new tab) made winter at the barn a joy. I love sitting at the central table, reading a book with a glass of wine, while my husband cooks up a feast! It just feels so homely.'
Andrea has been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since her first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. She went from women's magazine Options to Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for sister title homesandgardens.com.
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