Many people think that their kitchen has to match their house; I don’t know why. If they’ve got a traditional English house, then they’re going to ask us for a traditional English kitchen.
I’m not saying that sympathetic design hasn’t got its place, but it’s rarely where the wow factor is found.
Most people think they’ve got a pretty decent understanding of the design process. They’ll have a look online, or see something they like on Grand Designs, and that’s what they want.
Copy and paste design is easy enough, but it rarely creates amazing spaces.
I call it ‘safe design’.
Take a traditional cottage, a thatched house or Georgian building. Those buildings have an intrinsic architecture on the outside which most people tend to keep in place, working sympathetically with the existing building, going back to period and doing everything identically.
Over the last few years, we have a seen a trend of some people doing the opposite and going for much more contemporary styles, keeping the front of a traditional building very traditional, but stamping a contemporary identity across the whole interior of the building, particularly the kitchen.
Now, although you can do that by taking out cornices and just making it like any other contemporary house, I think that's a bit of a mistake because I believe working with the heritage and the architecture within the building gives a far better result.
Mixing genres is more complex from a design point of view, but you can play with that really nice tension between heritage and history on the one hand and modern and maybe minimalist on the other.
Do it well, and you come to this place that I call ‘transitional design’, where you literally have one camp in classic architecture and one in contemporary architecture, and you're blending the two. When you get a project like that, it can be quite complicated to design but you can achieve exceptional results.
That’s how we prefer to work.
Given the right brief, we prefer to embrace adventurous design. We like to challenge the process and create something exceptional.
We’re working on a project at the moment where we’re putting a fantastic contemporary kitchen into a stately home. It’s not a straightforward project, the building is Grade 1 Listed for starters, but it’s a lot of fun.
When you’re forced to think about tricky spaces, about heritage and architecture and pull all the threads together into something that works, that’s when you find you’re creating an exceptional design.