Functional, good-looking kitchens don’t need acres of space to be efficient, as this design demonstrates. Not only does this one need to meet the everyday needs of the owners, who live in a converted stone hayloft, but it also must stand up to the demands of their homemade jam and pickle business. Custom solutions, such as a folding pantry door and multifunctional island, make the most of the space, says Jasper Middleton, design director of Sussex, England-based cabinetmaker Middleton Bespoke.
Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their dog and cat. The husband works in London and his wife runs The Loft Pickles & Jams business
Location: West Sussex, England
Size: 8 by 10 feet (2.4 by 3 meters) — the kitchen part of a converted stone hayloft that has two bedrooms and two bathrooms
Designer: Jasper Middleton, design director of Middleton Bespoke
The kitchen was already at the back of the hayloft, but the original design was busy, with an unimaginative use of space.
“The new design needed to be in keeping with the style, location and period of the property. It also had to be a clever, multifunctioning space with targeted storage for everything required in the couple’s jam-making business,” Middleton says.
“Each unit is made as a solid piece of traditional furniture and designed to fit seamlessly without joins, fillers or plinths,” Middleton says.
The cabinets were custom made from solid hardwood (tulipwood frames and an oak-veneered center panel) using traditional techniques, then painted in a warm, contemporary gray. This is brought to life with raspberry on the patterned shades and in the accessories.
The owners purchased the wall-hung plate rack and open shelving unit at an antiques market.
Dishwasher drawers: Fisher & Paykel; cabinet paint: Elephant’s Breath, Farrow & Ball
Every last inch of room is used for maximum performance, including the slim island, which measures just 20 by 40 inches.
“The owners are professional chefs, specializing in jams and pickles. They wanted a dedicated workstation with all the necessary equipment, such as knives and pans, to be readily available when at the stove,” Middleton says. “They also wanted a durable, honed black granite worktop here instead of oak.”
The fridge, not visible here, stands opposite the pantry unit seen in the far left corner.
As well as open shelving and racks for bowls and kitchen gear, the island incorporates three end drawers to stash cutlery, napkins and placemats. These are perfectly positioned for when the couple are setting up to eat in the adjacent dining room.
Old English pewter knobs and handles offset the Shaker-style doors.
Original beams and a collection of vintage-style crockery add character to the kitchen. Solid English oak counters and a farmhouse sink enhance the traditional ambience.
Sink: Villeroy & Boch; faucet: Perrin & Rowe
The cabinets feature bead-and-butt end panels for a smart country look.
Fitting neatly into the corner, the tall pantry cupboard offers plenty of storage space.
“The Rangemaster oven was an existing appliance left by the previous owner when the house was sold,” Middleton says.
The pantry has bifold doors, which take up less space than outward-opening ones.
“Due to the compact floor space and in order to meet storage demands while allowing good access, we decided to hinge the right door off the left one, so the owners don’t have to step around it,” the designer explains.
Storage is boosted by the condiment racks inside the doors.
The quirky, colorful kitchen retains the character of the traditional hayloft with a combination of new and original features, including travertine floor tiles.
“The laundry appliances are located in an adjacent studio barn, which the owners use as a daytime retreat,” Middleton says. “We installed an oak floor and doors in this area, plus a laundry cabinet that houses their washing machine and dryer and further storage for their jam-making.”
The kitchen is open-plan to the entrance hall and dining room at the front of the house.
“The aspect from the kitchen into the dining area is my favorite part of the plan, as it flows and blends perfectly with the space,” Middleton says.
A fresco-style tiled splashback behind the range creates a homespun look that echoes the couple’s business ethos.
At the other end of the kitchen, a row of built-in floor-to-ceiling cupboards provides generous storage space for glassware and dishes.
“When used in conjunction with the pantry cupboard, the owners’ storage needs were completely satisfied,” Middleton says.
The cupboard doors open to reveal plates, jugs, cups and glasses, all stashed in a neat and orderly fashion.