Rather than follow in the fashion of opening kitchen to living space, our clients made a careful and deliberate decision to maintain separation between these and to embrace the often-neglected concept of a room. This played strongly into the design, allowing the opportunity to create a completely cohesive interior environment in which we had control of every surface.
Our first meeting was around this beautiful oak dining table and the design grew around an idea of incorporating this alongside new banquet seating. That, in turn, suggested matching oak fronted cabinetry, which quickly grew to envelop every wall. We opened the north face with an oversized glazed door to flood the space in warm light and allow the table to be easily manoeuvred to the deck beyond for summer dining.
We found ourselves really taken with the beauty of oak as a material and became obsessed over the finish: selecting the veneer flitch, experimenting with oils to find the right lustre, subtly altering the tint to preserve the raw colour, and striving to maintain a singularity of material – even refinishing the oven handle for consistency.
Against the oak we contrasted two inky-black incisions to form the opposed kitchen working surface and banquet seating, each lined on all faces: one in black granite and the other black linen. We wanted to ensure nothing felt like a thin, applied surface finish but rather felt as though it might be carved from a solid mass. The darkness of those voids permeates the interior of every cupboard and soft backlighting glows from within to augment a sense of depth. A black mirrored bar, bespoke oak drawer dividers, and carefully integrated appliances punctuate the cabinetry with a sense of discovery.
The reductavism of materials extended to fittings, which were pared back to a single tap, power outlet, hob, and extract. Deep-set light fittings were carved into the stone to be invisible and vents were hidden through every trick we could conceive. Every panel join was scrutinised and cabinetry built in a way to emphasise a continuity of surface. Above, just three 20mm apertures puncture a continuous chalk-white ceiling and cast soft pools of light on the dining table below.
We did this not in the pursuit of fashion but in the hope that every step, every absent fitting, every concealed handle, would serve to remove just a little bit of the familiar. We hoped each surface incision would serve not only a practical purpose, but contribute to a space and form that was something other and something more. That transcends the idea of a kitchen and creates a place of calm embrace and quiet retreat.
Photography by Ricky Lam