Set to be one of the biggest trends of 2021, Charlie Smallbone reveals his top tips on how to make metals work in your kitchen scheme.
The founder of iconic brand Smallbone of Devizes, Charlie has been pushing the boundaries of kitchen design for over 40 years – and he’s showing no signs of stopping.Earlier this year, he launched Ledbury Studio – an exciting new venture born out of a desire to create practical kitchens while harnessing the beauty of original materials. One material in particular, in fact. Metal.
- See more kitchen trends for 2021 in our inspiring gallery
1. Wow with wood
Add natural beauty with stained wood cabinetry and surfaces. Wood introduces a sense of warmth and character into a scheme and works equally well in modern and traditional homes.
'I’ve started applying beautiful color stains on wood, which I predict will continue to grow throughout 2021,' says Charlie. 'Stains allow you to celebrate the beauty of the wood grain while pushing it beyond its raw, natural state to enhance the overall beauty of the kitchen by adding rich texture.'
2. The real deal
A by-product of metallics in the kitchen comes the demand for well-executed quality materials that don’t just look good, but have integrity, too. 'That’s why I decided against metallic finishes sprayed onto wood, in favor of real metals that I could work with sensitively to bring out their natural beauty’, says Charlie.
3. Heavy on the metal
Traditionally, metal has served as a practical rather than decorative choice in the kitchen, reserved for more mundane elements such as appliances and handles. According to Charlie, this is set to change, with metallics coming to the forefront in kitchen design.
‘Two years ago, I started working with distressed sheet metals – copper, bronze, pewter and zinc’, he explains. ‘These different metals can bring a unique quality to a kitchen and are infinitely more sophisticated than simple stainless steel, for instance’.
4. Back to the future
Design styles from the past will be making a comeback – but with a new, contemporary spin. Inspired by the painted kitchen of thirty years ago, Ledbury Studio are reinterpreting paint finishes and wood tints to sit beautifully alongside more modern kitchen designs.
5. Perfect finish
It’s not all about looking good – advances in technology has seen an increase in expectation for perfectly performing kitchens that stand the test of time. ‘We’ve spent a lot of time developing the lacquers used to seal materials,’ explains Charlie. 'These ensure that the patina created in our workshops is the patina you will live with for years to come’.
Ledbury Studio kitchens start from £50,000. Discover latest designs at ledburystudio.com
6. Mix your materials
Contrast is king when it comes to mixing materials; the trick is to make sure that every material used encourages the others to really sing.
Brass and steel married with marble and dark timbers prove a winning formula in this luxurious and vibrant family kitchen.
'Throughout my career I have always endeavoured to push myself outside my comfort zone and 2021 will be no different,' explains Charlie.