Mummy says… Here is a guest post sharing some fantastic ideas for a fab kitchen. “In Sussex, we enjoy a wealth of traditional property styles, from rural Georgian estates nestled in the South Downs, to the distinguished Regency townhouses of Brighton. Many of our homes even retain their original features; sash windows, intricate ceiling decorations and comfortable proportions throughout.
But, what happens when we’re craving modern convenience? As ripping out period detail is no longer socially acceptable, we’re often led into a vicious cycle of making authentic-looking modifications that don’t actually improve our lives or suit our personal tastes.
No room is more affected by this than the kitchen, where traditional layouts leave little room for microwave ovens or trendy SMEG fridges. Luckily, the solution is simple: A fusion kitchen. Just like fusion cuisine, a fusion kitchen is about combining distinctive elements of various styles to create something innovative, striking and refreshing. It’s sympathetic to the character of your home, but integrates contemporary elements for a harmonious space that is entirely unique to you.
To give you an idea of the possibilities a fusion kitchen can bring, read on. However, before committing to this route it’s worth noting that, just like a Michelin-starred dish, the subtleties of seamlessly blending old and new should be left to a professional. Find a team that is familiar with local architecture, like the Brighton Kitchen Company, who specialise in kitchen design in West Sussex.
Original sash windows can still be found in many properties across the county, thanks to their understated aesthetic and robust mechanisms. When renovating your kitchen (or any part of your home), it’s absolutely vital that you maintain its integrity by restoring and repairing – never replacing – any original frames. Specialist trades across Sussex can help you bring them back up to their best without resorting to uPVC equivalents.
Traditionally these beautiful windows would have been adorned with heavy drapes or curtains, to keep the heat in. While this may still be practical in living rooms and bedrooms, you should do away with window dressings in your kitchen, both to show off the beautiful design of your windows and maximise the available light.
Decades-past have embraced a full rainbow of wall shades, from bold, intricate wallpapers during the regency, through to jewel tones in the Victorian era and delicate pastels in Edwardian times. Be bold when it comes to decorating your kitchen walls, as there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing a vibrant ochre or rich olive and going to town. Alternatively, you can be heavy handed with the neutral shades and let bright cabinetry do the talking.
For an industrial-chic vibe, now is the perfect opportunity to peel back the plaster and expose the beautiful Victorian brickwork beneath. You can strip back an entire feature wall or chip away at specific sections to make the most of your kitchen’s traditional construction for a raw, contemporary feel.
Ceilings Soaring ceilings are the secret behind even the most compact Victorian home feeling spacious. Although your kitchen may be one of the smaller rooms in the house, the ceiling height should make it feel bright and airy, and give you plenty of opportunity to create a modern space without it feeling claustrophobic.
Cornices, moulding and ceiling roses are all testament to the Victorians’ exquisite eye for detail, and their relative ornateness was an indication of the original owner’s wealth. These are another feature that should be left in place, but they can easily be brought up to date by cleaning and re-painting them, before installing a contemporary light fitting below.
Original wooden floorboards – or even better, tiles – should absolutely be restored and used as a base in your new kitchen. Even damaged panels can be spruced up exceptionally well by an expert, and shouldn’t be hidden under a layer of paint or a rug.
If your kitchen floor was modernised at some point, a renovation is the perfect time to return to the Victorian style, while remaining true to a contemporary kitchen design. Bare boards look fantastically edgy next to white cabinets, and monochrome tiles in geometric patterns pay homage to Victoriana and minimalism simultaneously.
The key to creating a harmonious fusion between old and new is to bridge the gap with a few (carefully selected) upcycled pieces. Visit flea markets and local salvage yards early on in your design stage to find a dining chairs, mirrors or a fireplace, for example. These can be updated with a modern matte paint, or combined with contemporary furniture to bring just the right amount of character into your room.”
Such great inspiration, don’t you think? What do you think about the fusion kitchen idea?