The kitchen, possibly more than any other room in the house, is a place where designers and home-owners alike often find themselves caving to a fondness for tradition; for the cosy loveliness of old-fashioned countryside style. It’s not difficult to understand why this occurs even among those who tend to otherwise favour a fairly rigidly forward-looking aesthetic. The kitchen, even now, still comes with certain associations that are hard to shake. To many people, the kitchen is still the heart of the home, the space that powers the family, a gathering spot. With that in mind, it’s not that surprising that the country kitchen style has continued to be an enduring favourite over several decades, throughout most of the last century and into this one, even as design norms in other parts of the home have evolved significantly.
This Shaker-style kitchen in Berkshire, England, by kitchen designers Maple & Gray, is a very nice example of the possibilities that exist for bringing a contemporary edge to traditional design. The short explanation of how it achieves this? Make things personal. The long explanation? Well, take a look around.
We’re starting off with what is arguably the finest feature of this particular kitchen: this gorgeous custom-built pantry, which not only houses all the staples and dry goods necessary to keep a family fed week after week but also conceals the microwave, the design of which would likely jar with the rest of the room if it were to be left out on display on a worktop. In keeping with the Shaker style, it’s the exquisite use of wood that makes this pantry so special. Seen from the outside, the doors to the pantry would appear to conceal a cupboard like any other; but open them up and you are treated to this unexpected, beautifully crafted wooden interior, with careful attention to detail visible in every aspect of it.
From this angle, the kitchen seems thoroughly modern, though tiny details like the borders seen on the cupboard doors show a rejection of minimalism and a move towards something more traditionally homey.
A beautifully glossy granite worktop like this one is a sure-fire attention-grabber in any kitchen.
The drainage are next to the sink, carved into the granite worktop, has been perfectly executed with the apparent goal of achieving a seamlessly sleek and contemporary aesthetic. At the same time, though, the old-fashioned style of the taps themselves suggest that respect for traditional design runs deep here.
It’s only upon going around the room and actually opening all those tempting drawers and doors that the full extent of the Shaker influence becomes clear here. Each drawer, once opened, reveals a splendid hand-crafted interior, with visible joins that just add to its beauty. The quality of the wood used here is absolutely crucial to the effect; just look at that beautiful grain.
From here, it’s even clearer just how well-made these drawers are, and how much careful planning has gone into making the inside of each both practical and elegant.
Opening a cupboard door reveals yet more striking carpentry, this time in the form of these handy drawers.