A surprise star at the recent Chelsea Flower Show in London: a kitchen oriented to the garden. Set in an energy-efficient Passive House conservatory, the design intrigued us thanks not only to its cabinet doors of patinated copper but also its exotic pedigree: It was created by UK kitchen titans Charlie Smallbone (formerly of Smallbone of Devizes) and Paul O’Leary (of deVol) working for the first time in collaboration. Come see.
Photography courtesy of deVol.
Owner Mark Caulfield had turned to his former employer Charlie Smallbone to come up with a culinary space for his company’s Chelsea Flower Show exhibit. Smallbone himself had nearly a decade earlier left the kitchen company that bears his name—of late, he’s been running bespoke design firm Rock & Bone. Devol founder, Paul O’Leary, had recently reached out to Smallbone to trade business notes, and the two had been struck by their similar paths: “We both started out in antique furniture restoration and transferred that affection for traditional furniture details and proportion to kitchens,” says O’Leary. So in March, when Smallbone proposed a quick collaboration and sent sketches, O’Leary enlisted his crew to join the process. Many meetings ensued, all samples and parts were hand fabricated at deVol’s newly enlarged Cotes Mill showroom/workshop in Leicestershire—and construction was completed a mere six weeks later, on May 21.
Initially, the whole kitchen was to be antiqued copper; it was Smallbone’s wife, Sue Smallbone, who persuaded the team to go with “a more practical alternative finish for the main body.” They settled on black-stained ash, but O’Leary notes, “we’ve already started to experiment with other options, including limed oak, distressed painted oak, Carrara marble, and a crackled white enamel panel.”
The brass faucet is the Evo180 Kitchen Mixer from Tapwell. Under the plant shelf, the aged brass hanging rail is one of the few elements available à la carte from deVol; they coming in different length starting at £100, and companion S hooks are available too (none are on the website yet; inquire directly).
The Elemental Kitchen is a new direction for deVol. Take a look at the company’s mainstay designs:
- The Refined, Rustic Kitchen, Sebastian Cox Edition
- A Statement Backsplash in a Grand Green London Kitchen
- A Fairy-Tale Kitchen in Somerset for Rocker Pearl Lowe