The owners of this Sussex farmhouse were looking for a new kitchen but didn’t want anything run-of-the-mill and were keen on a design that was unique but would also stand the test of time.
See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens
After a long search the answer came when the couple spotted a kitchen designed by Ledbury Studio (opens in new tab) in a magazine. It was exactly what they had been seeking; something informal and eclectic, relaxed but interesting.
'When the couple visited our Notting Hill showroom, they instantly fell in love with our signature Metallics Collection copper-fronted cabinets,' says Ledbury’s founder Charlie Smallbone. 'Naturally, we integrated two into the design – either side of the window for a lovely framing effect. The copper is a living finish that will mature over time, developing a rich patina.'
The brief was layered - the couple are keen on entertaining, but the kitchen also had to function as an ad-hoc office, as one of the couple works from home. Charlie adds: 'Then, because our client works in an auction house and loves antiques, they wanted us to take an eclectic approach to the design with a rich mix of materials and finishes. In this case, less is not more! I had to create the feel of freestanding furniture, rather than of a fitted kitchen – so it looks like somebody has gone out and bought lots of lovely pieces.'
Here are the elements that made the design tick all the boxes - you can now add them to your bank of ideas…
1. Copper cabinetry ages beautifully
Copper-fronted cabinets are an interesting and modern addition to a kitchen design. 'They have been a signature of the Ledbury Studio style since we began in 2019,' says Charlie. ' A work of art in their own right, the copper is a living finish, which means in this case we didn’t add a protective coating. This allows the copper to mature over time and develop a dramatic verdigris pattern.'
See: Kitchen cabinet ideas – cabinet materials, styles, colors and trends to know
2. Metallic finishes can be created with paint
'We added a beautiful burnished paint effect to the drawers and cabinets on the island and sink run,' says Charlie. 'This was created specifically for this kitchen – as are all our paint colors and effects. In this case, it was inspired by the green-grey elements found in a favourite copper vase belonging to the client. There are four hand-painted layers, one of which is a tinted pearlescent that makes the paint shimmer so the color isn’t flat. It is this shimmer that unites all the finishes in the kitchen.'
3. Metallic cabinetry is beautifully complemented by natural textures
On the base of the breakfast cupboard and also on the tall unit that hosts the ovens, Ledbury introduced its Choppy Water finish. 'This is oak that has been hand carved by one of our artisans into a pattern that represents the natural undulations of water,' says Charlie. 'It lends an interesting, deep texture to our cabinetry. The oak is stained dark, with accents picked out in gold-leaf appliqué.'
4. Protective finishes will ensure a smart look
The clients were keen to achieve a ‘furniture’ feel with the kitchen and a tall freestanding piece acts as a breakfast cupboard housing a coffee machine, toaster, kettle and all other breakfast paraphernalia. Charlie says: 'It has the aged-pewter finish on the doors, over which we've put a protective finish so that fingerprints don't mark it and the surface is easy to clean.'
5. Matching countertops to the sink makes for a streamlined finish
A seamless look was achieved by using the same countertop throughout. 'It is a man-made quartz called Arabesque from Stone Italiana,' says Charlie.
See: Kitchen countertop ideas – worktop inspiration in marble, granite and composite materials
'It is a very practical solution – non porous, hard wearing, resistant to heat and scratching, and does not require sealing. What’s more, it allowed us to seamlessly incorporate a sink, also in Arabesque. Losing the join lines between the countertop and the sink lends the kitchen a sleek look.'
As the Deputy Editor of Livingetc's print version, Busola Evans works across both the physical magazine and digital and specializes in kitchens, bathrooms and projects. She is an expert at explaining how to improve, extend and convert your home. Prior to her current role, she was Associate Editor on both Livingetc and Homes & Gardens, where she authored kitchen and bathroom articles. Busola has also written for The Guardian, The Sunday Times Magazine and Grazia, and was an interiors columnist for the London Evening Standard's ES Magazine.
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