6 design tips we learnt from deVOL's Creative Director's colorful kitchen

Helen Parker is deVOL's creative director – and she has a kitchen we couldn't wait to investigate...

deVOL Classic English cupboards and vintage furniture
(Image credit: deVOL)

We often turn to deVOL's Creative Director Helen Parker for her kitchen design expertise and original kitchen ideas. deVOL is known for its easy, cool and understated style on both sides of the Atlantic, so we couldn't wait to see how Helen would apply its design principles to the kitchen of her new home, a Victorian villa in a small village in England.

'I began working at deVOL 16 years ago, in those days we only had the Classic English furniture range, so for me it is the essence of deVOL and I had to include it in my own home. As well as Classic furniture, I have more than a passing affection for the Mediterranean and its uncontrived plethora of old style bars and restaurants. 

'My recent(ish!) trips to Venice and Sicily were uppermost in my mind (and my absolute favorite places in the world) when considering the style of my new kitchen, but I also wanted to acknowledge the era of my home and ensure it didn’t feel like I had tried to recreate Venice in Leicestershire.

'So, I had the glorious task of finding and mixing deVOL furniture and accessories with vintage pieces, in the hope I could accomplish this mix of styles in a cohesive and evocative way.'

And this is how she did it.

1. Find your inspiration

Vintage black stove and oven with gold knobs and dresser

(Image credit: deVOL)

Kitchen color ideas can be inspired by the most minor of details. For Helen, it was a painting.

'My starting point was a still life painting of a fish I bought way before the kitchen was started, it gave me a color palette and made it much easier to navigate the minefield of options and colors.' 

2. Choose flooring that creates a mood

Classic English cupboards and vintage furniture

(Image credit: deVOL)

Never under-estimate the power of kitchen flooring ideas to transform the feel of a space – Helen was going for a distinct look, which she's achieved with these tiles.

'I settled on a chequered marble floor by Floors of Stone, this gave me the perfect base, it felt Victorian, grand and slightly faded. It’s not the cheapest floor but it is a place worth spending your money in my opinion. Tiny flecks of pink within the marble were beautifully similar to my favorite Farrow & Ball paint color Setting Plaster, so the walls were now decided on too.'

3. Accentuate the accent color

Classic English cupboards and vintage furniture

(Image credit: deVOL)

Just as with flooring, stand out kitchen backsplash ideas can have a huge impact on the feel of a room. Helen chose vintage style tiles to complement the flooring and cabinetry. 

'The plate in my still life painting has a wonderful teal edge, so having the faded glamor of our lace tiles in Vintage Teal was a no brainer. I needed lots though, to make the very most of this vintage feel and texture and really make a statement. 

'I love things that look old, but are easy to buy in quantity, easy to fit and give a specific atmosphere to a room.'

4. Mix new with vintage for a characterful look

Vintage marble kitchen sink with four gold taps

(Image credit: deVOL)

'I had picked up a few vintage pieces from our Cotes Mill showrooms and eBay and with lots of doing up they were fit for purpose and added that heirloom "been there forever" look, which I crave. A marble sink and marble countertops and my budget was blown, but hey ho, I now love washing up so it was worth it.'

5. Furnish for atmosphere, too

Black-framed glass cupboard

(Image credit: deVOL)

'Getting a big table and some seating is so important if you’re creating a bar-come restaurant! So Thonet chairs were essential and finally, a faded squishy sofa in a powdery shabby blue and my room was done. I have no need to rush onto a plane anymore as I can go home and instantly feel happy.'

6. Know that even a kitchen can be a sanctuary

Green tiled wall, black base cabinets

(Image credit: deVOL)

'It is almost too obvious to make your home feel as good as being on holiday, but it really does make sense and seeing as you only spend two weeks away each year it's silly not to try, our homes are our sanctuary. A flourish of deVOL brass rails, café curtains and a French cooker and I am a very happy lady.'

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.