Half Built House Exeter – Ikea Abstrakt kitchen / diner with added British design extras

The finished Exeter kitchen

A white high gloss kitchen ticked boxes for both Chris and Amie’s design aspirations but they were unsure how to prevent it looking too clinical and crisp looking for their home, an older property with period features like the cast iron fireplaces and fitted chimney recess cupboards which we were definitely going to incorporate into the final design. For warmth, I specified a mid-oak block worktop, breakfast bar & up stand, and also added in 800mm wide oak drawer fronts to break up the white run of units, plus oak end panels to frame the wall cabinets.

I wanted to keep the kitchen walls sharp and brilliant white, so needed to bring in something softer for the dining area and to link the two rooms. Earlier in 2012 at Decorex I’d spotted a fabulous wallpaper by a British company called Barneby Gates which featured vertical images of classic chairs in a very simple, effective parchment and charcoal design. The couple had said that they didn’t want any patterned walls but all their ‘dislikes’ showed flowers and botanical prints, so I decided to push their limits a little!

This wallpaper, traditionally printed in the Midlands, combines the historic with the modern delightfully, with chairs featuring ranging from Chippendales to Philippe Starck. The cream parchment background of the paper was also a gentle contrast to the white ceiling / floor and I felt the almost architectural nature of the paper would stylishly create interest on the relatively few dining room walls.

The lighting was kept quite simple in the kitchen area with a few spots and some halogens under the wall cabinets to light up the work surface, so I thought it’d be interesting to have some feature lighting above the breakfast bar area to bring a focus to that space. Having decided on a rich amber accent colour to bring the room to life, these lantern lights by British company Rothschild & Bickers were spot on. Elegant and beautifully crafted, they’re made at one of the last remaining glass workshops in the UK, the London Glassworks. I had to fight tooth and nail for these lights as our budget was spiralling upwards as a result of doing work to both the ground and first floor of the house. Luckily I won, but had to promise to get the rest of the furniture for next to nothing – more on that in another blog 🙂

As another nod to the age of the property I used a ceramic Belfast type basin, but ensured it still had a modern feel by using the Ikea double Domsjo. I’d used this sink before, it’s amazingly practical as it’s depth goes right to the back of the kitchen units and any worktop sits just under the ceramic side lips – meaning no timber overhang so wood edges are protected against expansion from water damage. Very clever.

The super practical and lushly deep charcoal tiled flooring from Topps Tiles, expertly laid by local tiler Dom, finished off the kitchen floor.

More on the dining area later 🙂

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