Just two weeks before Alice and Charlie Huntingford were set to wed at their home, an idyllic country farmhouse where Alice grew up, it went up in flames. Luckily the couple, and then five-month-old son Wilbur, were out for lunch but the electrical fault devastated the property and they lost pretty much everything, including Alice’s wedding dress.
With positivity and resilience, Alice and Charlie reframed their misfortune as a golden opportunity to achieve their dream family home. ‘We’d always planned to remodel the old-fashioned interior, especially the kitchen, which was in the smallest, darkest room in the house,’ explains Alice.
But instead of just taking a few walls out or extending, the couple got to start from scratch. Albeit the process took three-and-a-half-years to complete. ‘From the outside, the house is still traditional and reassuringly familiar but inside we now have the kitchen in the biggest, lightest room, overlooking the farmland. The whole layout is so much better for modern family life,’ she adds.
For the kitchen ideas, Alice and Charlie's wishlist included timeless and low stress designs – that weren't bland. The couple commissioned kitchen-maker Chris Spink of Cotswold based Hush Kitchens (opens in new tab).
‘We knew we wanted to use a local company, but we also liked that Chris was willing to try new ideas, and was always so upbeat and can-do,’ recalls Charlie.’
Here are the phoenix-from-the-flames ideas which turned a disaster zone into a bright, modernized space ready for new beginnings, family fun and effortless entertaining.
1. Green cabinetry evokes the revitalizing energy of nature
For anyone looking for green kitchen ideas, this is the ultimate ‘fresh-starts’ palette: invigorating greens bring a sense of outside-in, creating a serene environment whilst adding grounding depth and color.
Hush Kitchens designed and made the solid wood Shaker cabinetry, beautifully hand painted in Little Greene’s Jewel Beetle.
‘When it first went in, we panicked because it felt way brighter in the eggshell finish than on the emulsion tester pots but now we love it,’ enthuses Charlie. ‘It’s an uplifting color that works so well against the views of the fields.’
2. Copper accents add patina prowess
If you are searching for really intriguing, luxe-look countertop ideas, take note: a section of copper countertop with an integrated copper sink adds warmth and richness to the island unit.
Alice and Charlie admit they were paranoid about marks on the copper in the beginning, especially from lemon and tomato juice, but have since relaxed. ‘The more you use it, the better it gets, but it does help to know that it can always be refinished if anything really drastic happens,’ says Charlie.
Copper is a great choice for families. It is naturally antimicrobial, and sinks can be seamlessly welded in place, ensuring there are no potential gaps for bacteria to linger.
3. Extended surfaces turn a solitary island into a social hub
Overreaching edges allow additional kitchen island seating around the perimeter of the freestanding kitchen island, creating a comforting flock-and-perch site for relaxed entertaining and family brunches.
The couple chose elevated, rattan stools to marry natural materials with the nature-evoking green cabinetry.
4. A walk-in pantry is a space-dedicated haven for kitchenalia
Both Alice and Charlie are enthusiastic cooks, but while Alice has an enviable collection of cookware, glassware and utensils that she loves to display, Charlie hates clutter.
Accessed directly off the kitchen, to the right of the AGA, the walk-in pantry is the solution to marital harmony – and it's one of the best-looking pantry ideas we've seen.
‘We’re very spoilt to have so much space and even I appreciate having everything on view in here – especially since I can close the door!’ laughs Charlie. ‘We’ve also installed an extra fridge, freezer and wine fridge in here, so it plays a really good supporting role to the main kitchen, especially when we’re entertaining.’
5. Salvaged treasures repurpose wonderfully in a mudroom
The couple grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers in a walled garden to the side of the house, which is also where the family enter and exit day-to-day, so were naturally looking for mudroom ideas.
‘I wanted to create a small "holding room" that would act as a buffer for muddy wellies, fresh cut flowers and earth-covered vegetables – essentially keeping the kitchen, especially the main sink, cleaner,’ explains Alice.
The granite sink was sourced on eBay by their kitchen designer, Chris. ‘We asked for something really rugged that we’d never have to be precious about and this was dug up out of somebody’s garden. It couldn’t be more perfect,’ she adds.
This style of granite sink would traditionally have been used as animal troughs or garden planters, making them a great choice for anyone searching for farmhouse kitchen ideas and inspiration.
Main photographs: Pete Helme
Designer: Chris Spink, founder, Hush Kitchens
Linda graduated from university with a First in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting. Her career began on a trade title for the kitchen and bathroom industry, and she has worked for Homes & Gardens, and sister-brands Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, since 2006, covering interiors topics, though kitchens and bathrooms are her specialism.
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