This kitchen occupies a major part of a new extension added to a Grade II listed barn conversion. Our client was looking for something unique that would form the focal point of the space; aside from being a great place to work the kitchen also needed to be beautiful to look at.
The initial challenge was to work within four major design constraints. Firstly the AGA had to go on an internal wall, secondly, for structural reasons, the oak post had to be positioned no more than 850mm from the front of the AGA, thirdly the island had to start from the oak post, appearing to be a part of the building, and finally we had to try and lose the unsightly ‘step’ in the wall between the existing building and the new, glazed extension. You can see the story unfold in pictures in our photo montage video.
Working with such a big space is exciting, working within a big space that is tightly governed by the interaction between certain fixed elements is seriously challenging. It can seem incredible that in a space so big the success of a design can pivot on ‘finding’ a few extra centimetres to make something work. This design hinged on solving just such a problem, we had to find a way to make the space between the AGA and the oak post work.
We came up with the idea of rounding off the corner of the island, closest to the AGA, by insetting a solid oak butchers block into the quartz. Not only did this round off the corner perfectly but it also set a tone that would run throughout the whole kitchen.
We designed the AGA housing to have built-in solid oak shelving on either side with built-in LED down lights. The final oak element would be a substantial 100mm solid oak breakfast bar, sitting at right angles to the main island.
To mask the joint between the existing building and the extension we designed a section of drop ceiling which, in conjunction with a pair of 200mm deep larder cupboards, would hide the step and give everything the true built in appearance.
With the major structural considerations taken care of it was then a question of how best to arrange the appliances, storage and what finishes to use. The sink run housed a dishwasher, under counter freezer, waste recycling pull-out, along with some cupboard space and removable access for the AGA pump and stop-cock. The tall units were to house a full height, built in fridge, a multi-function oven and the two reduced depth larder cupboards.
The sheer size of the island allows for significant storage in the form of drawers and cupboards, it also houses a built in wine cooler, steamer, induction hob and the feature oak chopping block. Above it sits a remote control flush-fit ceiling extractor.
The island gave us a chance to do something a little bit special with the overhang detail. With integrated lighting installed under the 100mm Quartz worktop this detail really comes to life, whilst also physically connecting the island to the oak post. To further integrate the kitchen with the original building we designed a big and bold solid oak breakfast bar to fly at right angles from the main island.
How it worked out
That this project went so well is no small achievement. It goes without saying that there is tremendous potential for things to go wrong. Designing not only the kitchen but also a considerable amount of the wall and ceiling detail requires significant thought and attention to detail. Months before the kitchen was fitted key decisions had to be made and drawings produced to ensure the builders could prepare everything to the exact specification required. Get one of these things wrong and you have a very big, very expensive kitchen that will not fit in the space.
The design itself was always striking, but the way it works within the space itself, indeed the way it uses the details and quirks of the space, are the real achievement with this kitchen. The interplay between the wooden elements, the quartz, the cabinetry and the lighting capture exactly the unique specialities we have as a company. Designs like this go a lot further than simply arranging cabinets and choosing the colour of the door. It is the understanding of the various technologies and materials and how they will work together that makes these types of kitchen possible.
The attention to detail throughout, coupled with the quality of the finishes, is something that should be seen to be fully appreciated. The photographs do little justice to the overall effect and if you are serious about a kitchen of this type, the owners are so happy they will allow us to show perspective clients their kitchen.
What our client said
We have absolutely loved using our new kitchen created by Jamie and Ed at Black Rok in Uckfield over the Christmas holiday period. It’s a sure fire way to test out whether or not all the drawers, cupboards, appliances work in their nominated space within the centre of our home – I can tell you, Jamie helps you to create a dream that actually comes true.
Our journey with Jamie (and Ed) began over a year ago when we moved to the area, initial enquiries originally, ideas that grew and Jamie helped to turn them into a reality. He took our ideas and drew up endless plans for us to look at and consider, nothing was too much trouble. He led us through each step of the way and if we made a suggestion he would turn it into a practical reality so that it worked within the space. He supported our colour choices and even questioned them if he felt they wouldn’t work. My husband and I changed our minds from time to time and even had the odd disagreement (Ok argument!) in the showroom but the Black Rok team didn’t falter, just incorporated the changes into the designs. He spent hours at his showroom in Uckfield with us and here at home going over the finer details, nothing too much trouble. He worked tirelessly with the builders, electricians, plumbers and numerous tradesmen on the telephone, over email and face to face on site, so we didn’t have to. He kept us informed every step of the way.
When the time came to install our beautiful kitchen, Jamie himself and his team, Jake and Zac worked constantly and quietly, making sure each step worked like clockwork before moving onto the next phase (cleaning up after them each day). They all made it appear so easy asking questions when they felt they needed to but essentially just getting on with the job always polite and respectful of our living space.
The end result is just glorious, we love it, a dream come true and everything works together in harmony, the old, the new, the gloss, not to mention he also installed a sparkly new office along with an amazing utility room — the house is reborn.
We thank you Jamie (and Ed, Jake and Zac), you have created something really very special, but most of all you have created the heart of our home and we LOVE it.