Period homes always come with the conundrum of how to weave in the modern world, and which parts of the past to hold onto. This kitchen by The Main Company in the English countryside strikes the balance.
Inspired by the home’s Victorian history, the four-year renovation of this home in the market town of Tonbridge took notes from the agricultural and industrial buildings of the same era in the surrounding area.
As a result, the house's kitchen ideas are filled with nods to the industrial revolution and Victorian design, as well as contemporary luxuries. We picked out our favorite parts, while The Main Company’s Director Alex Main shared with us his tips for recreating the look.
1. Channel industrial chic with raw materials
For an old-school utilitarian look that mixes in modern kitchen ideas, go back to basics with your materials. ‘The homeowner wanted to make sure the kitchen design reflected the location’s agricultural and industrial heritage,’ said Main. ‘To achieve this, we chose to work with a selection of raw materials to accentuate the kitchen’s character, including corrugated iron, Victorian brick and aged brass.’
Exposed brickwork complete with uncovered pipes characterize a whole wall of the kitchen space, while this factory-ready look even infiltrates the mod cons, with a Falmec extractor hood ‘chosen for its industrial look.’
2. Create drama with black and brass
The most striking aspect of the kitchen design is its willingness to embrace the dark side.
‘My favourite part of this bespoke design is how the aged brass contrasts against the off-black cabinetry,’ said Main, explaining his kitchen cabinet ideas. ‘It creates a strong visual statement and is perfectly offset by the vivid green tiles on the back wall.’
Cabinets are finished with either charcoal painted wooden doors, or brass alternatives that have been aged to create a tortoiseshell-like patina. The look is completed with brighter brass handles from Buster + Punch.
3. Use tiles to bring color into the kitchen
Bolder, brighter hues are having a moment in our cooking spaces – and it’s colorful kitchen tile ideas that are helping them on their way. An enlivening pop of jewel-like color is brought into the space thanks to the use of bottle green tiles. The pieces exhibit a variety of tones, while their highly glazed nature means they bounce light around the largely dark kitchen island enthusiastically.
4. Expand on an open plan room with crittall doors
Crittall doors and windows may be absolutely on trend right now, but their origin actually dates back to Victorian ironmonger Francis Henry Crittall, who first used the method for creating steel-framed windows back in 1860. It is only fitting, then, that they be used in this industrial revolution-inspired open plan kitchen.
‘The client was looking for an open plan, connected living space for the whole family to enjoy,’ explained Main. Having combined cooking, seating and dining into one room, there is no doubt an open plan feeling has been achieved, but the steel doors and windows take it one step further. Adding full height glass doors at two points of internal access – as well as using them for the French windows and in the corridors beyond – emphasizes a sense of flow from one space to another.
5. Balance light and dark
While dark metals, black leather and charcoal cabinetry are the standout features of this kitchen, what keeps them feeling fresh and modern is a keen appreciation of light. The far sides of the room are flanked with large crittall-style external doors that allow a huge amount of light into the space. Meanwhile, the dark nook of the cooking area is contrasted with a crisp white wall, which not only allows the light to bounce around the room with ease, but creates a refreshing contrast.
Interior Design / The Main Company
Photography / Anita Robinson Photography
I started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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