Jamie Blake of Blakes London applied a high/low mix of materials—from marble to readymade beadboard—in his design for a sun-splashed kitchen. We featured the house in Endless Summer in a London Victorian. Thanks to the popularity of the kitchen, Blake has kindly offered to share its secrets.
Above: The open kitchen is fronted by a marble-topped island built from wood textured to look like reclaimed timber. "The best way to describe the design is an exploration into textures," says Blake, ticking off a list of materials that includes porcelain floor tiles, beadboard paneling, subway tiles, and painted brick. Note that the designer carefully hewed to a subtly contrasting pale palette offset by dark overhead cabinets and a trough of herbs sprouting in the middle of the island. Photograph from Blakes London.
Above: The upper cabinets have a surprise lining of white subway tiles with dark grout. Only clear glassware lines the shelves, allowing the design to shine through. Photograph from Blakes London.
Above: The countertops and backsplashes are Carrara marble. Considering splurging on marble in your own kitchen? See Remodeling 101: Marble Countertop Pros and Cons and read Michelle's cautionary tale, My Dirty Secret: How I Learned to Live with a Marble Backsplash.
Above: The cabinets are painted a Farrow & Ball dark charcoal called Railings; $97 a gallon.
Above: The cupboard's Metro White Matt Flat Wall Tiles came from Tons of Tiles in the UK; £0.32 (50 cents) per tile. Home Depot sells miniature one-by-two-inch Metro Subway Matte White Wall Tile, shown here, for $5.95 per square foot, and two-by-seven-inch Metro Soho Subway Tile Glossy White for $6.97 per square foot. For a top-of-the-line, handmade version, consider Heath Ceramics Modern Basics tiles. Subway tiles can be patterned in a number of ways; see our White Tile Pattern Glossary.
Above: What looks like old wood, Blake reveals, isn't reclaimed timber: "It's a finish that we do ourselves, completely handmade to look like reclaimed timber. Almost any color or texture can be achieved." Since Blake's technique is labor intensive (not to mention proprietary), we suggest sourcing Reclaimed Barn Wood. It's available in a wide range of finishes, including a whitewashed version, from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber, in Peculiar, Missouri.
Above: Not every detail in the kitchen is rarefied. On the back wall, what looks like old-fashioned, carpenter-built tongue-and-groove wood paneling is prefabricated MDF fiberboard. It can be sourced at building supply stores, such as Lowe's, where White/Satin Hardboard Wall Paneling is $19.98 for an approximately four-by-eight-foot panel. For more ways to put it to use, see our Rehab Diaries: DIY Beadboard Ceilings and The DIY Kitchen Overhaul for Under $500.
Above: Another surprise is the floor: What looks like whitewashed wood is actually white porcelain timber-effect tiles. "They're all the craze in the UK right now," says Blake. "Porcelain tiles are in many cases more affordable than wood floors, require much less maintenance, and are great with underfoot heating—in the winter the floor has a warm feel, and in the summer a cool one." The kitchen's tiles are Origine Cire Wood Effect Porcelain Tile, shown here, from London company European Heritage; inquire about pricing. Also consider, Marazzi's US-made Harmony Porcelain Tiles, created with inkjet technology and available in four "wood effects." For the lowdown on heating your house underfoot, see Remodeling 101: 5 Things to Know About Radiant Floor Heating.
Above: The kitchen faucet was built on site by a plumber. Feeling handy? How-to site Instructables explains How to Build Your Own Copper Pipe Faucet. You can source a variety of copper parts, including piping, elbows, and pressure cup adapters, shown here, at Home Depot; five feet of half-inch Copper Pipe is $17.98. Want to start with an easier copper pipe project? DIY: Copper Pipe Curtain Rods for $35. Photograph by Izabella Simmons.
Above: The trio of Twisted Flex & Copper Pendant Lights hanging over the island are by Cox & Cox of London; £43 ($67) each. For an energy-efficient alternative, consider the Plumen Drop Cap Pendant Set in Copper; $44.95 (and read World's Most Stylish Light Bulb, Version 002).
Above: Canvas Home's 3 1/4-inch-tall Tinware Creamer is actually glazed stoneware (with mock chips); $8.50.
Above: Crate & Barrel's Grand Vin Carafe is $14.95.
Above: Ikea's Hederlig Red Wine Glasses are $1.99 each.
Above: In the middle of the kitchen island—territory that often goes unused—Blake inserted a custom stainless steel planter that holds pots of herbs. It can also be used to store bottles of wine and countless other kitchen things. To make your own inset, consider the 34-by-4 1/2-inch Stainless Steel Bottle Trough from Central Restaurant Supply; $45.79. For a similar idea, see DIY: A Picnic Table with a Built-In Wine Bar.
Above: The Dualit New Generation Classic Two-Slice Toaster comes in 11 colors, including cream; $239.95 from Williams-Sonoma.
Above: The electric Dualit 1 Litre Jug Kettle in canvas white (also available in black) is £49.50 ($78) from John Lewis. Larger sizes available.
Above: The Riess Enamel Aromapot by Viennese industrial designers Dottings comes in a range of sizes and stacks for compact storage; $188 for the half liter size on Amazon. The Aromapot is also available from Rodale's for $188, and in a smaller size for $158. Read about the design in the Remodelista 100, a list of our favorite everyday objects.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 29, 2014, as part of our Summery Kitchens issue.