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A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Made for Family Life

This Essex farmhouse kitchen combining Shaker-style units and top-quality materials was designed with boisterous family life in mind

It’s often said the kitchen is the heart of the home, but for this family – which includes three children under 11 – it really is. When it came to designing the kitchen in their Essex farmhouse, they were keen to also incorporate a dining area, boot room, scullery and walk-in larder. ‘The owners wanted the whole area to cater for all their family’s needs,’ says Peter Humphrey of Humphrey Munson Kitchens, who designed the space. ‘That meant family cooking and mealtimes, but also space for homework and play and for comfortably hosting parties and celebrations.’

In addition to making the space function well, it had to have longevity, and quality became a byword for this build. ‘Everything in here will be to be able to stand the test of time,’ says Humphrey.

Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A family with three children
Location Felsted, Essex
Size The kitchen area is 8.7m x 5.1m, with a scullery, larder, boot room and seating area flowing off it; part of a 5 bedroom farmhouse built in the 1980s
Designer Peter Humphrey, Design Director and Founder at Humphrey Munson

The key design goal for the homeowners was to install a really beautiful, quality kitchen. ‘They wanted extremely well-made units with quality appliances that would stand the test of time,’ says Peter Humphrey. They opted for a classic, timeless design, made with the best-quality materials.

Work on the property doubled the size of the kitchen and added a spacious, timber-framed orangery on one side. It now contains a bespoke wooden refectory table, which seats 12.

Orangery, Westbury Garden Rooms.

Once renovation work was completed, the team had to work out how best to zone the area. ‘The space is large, so we had to carefully divide up the kitchen into distinct areas that were functional, but fitted into the overall scheme,’ says Humphrey.

An island was the perfect way to divide the space and create a workable cooking and food preparation zone. The island also includes a breakfast bar, prep sink and plenty of worktop space. ‘It sits opposite the range cooker and these two pieces form the heart of the kitchen,’ Humphrey says.

Island cabinetry painted in Attic II; wall cabinetry painted in French Grey Dark, both Little Greene.

In addition to the kitchen-diner, there’s a separate scullery. ‘There’s a butler’s sink and dishwasher in here, so it’s a distinct area for washing up and doing kitchen chores,’ says Humphrey. It’s been a huge hit with the homeowners, who can stack up dirty plates and dishes out of sight when they’re entertaining.

Double butler’s sink, Villeroy & Boch. Ionian mixer tap, Perrin & Rowe.

The scullery space flows off the main kitchen, with fridges and wine storage on one side. Tough limestone flooring has been laid throughout, creating a practical surface and also visually uniting all the zones.

Attica tumbled limestone, Humphrey Munson Stone.

The painted cupboard doors are made of poplar, which is a North American hardwood with a very smooth, knot-free surface. The carcasses are made of solid birch ply, which is super-durable. All the drawer boxes are made of solid oak, with dovetail joints, and mounted on concealed, soft-close runners.

‘All the cabinets were handmade in England using traditional techniques,’ says Humphrey.

Stanley hammered nickel-plated pendant, Original BTC.

‘The orangery allows light to flood in along one length of the kitchen, so we wanted to ensure that light was utilised to maximum effect,’ says Humphrey. A distressed mirror was fitted as a splashback behind the range cooker, so the light bounces back off it over the island. The nickel pendant lamps serve the same light-reflecting purpose.

Read expert advice on choosing the perfect splashback

A huge range is recessed into the wall, with neat little shelves built into the sides for cooking ingredients and books.

Walls painted in Ammonite estate emulsion, Farrow & Ball. Range, Sub-Zero & Wolf.

Tempted to get a range cooker? Read this expert advice

Wine is stored in a state-of-the-art wine preservation unit, which can hold up to 132 bottles. ‘The homeowners like the fact the doors have UV protection, so sunshine can’t harm the wine,’ says Humphrey. ‘Thanks to all the glass in the orangery, this space is flooded with light, so they love this feature.’

Wine preservation unit, Sub-Zero & Wolf.

Black granite worktops and an under-mounted sink give the island a sleek, clean work surface.

Minoan mixer tap, Perrin & Rowe. PRO3-VAQ boiling water tap in polished nickel, Quooker. Sink, Franke.

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