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Kitchen of the Week: A Brightly Colored (and Cost Conscious) London Kitchen

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Kitchen of the Week: A Brightly Colored (and Cost Conscious) London Kitchen

August 8, 2019


Like so many people, Alexandra Evans and her husband, Tom, had always been cautious about color: “We had to think about resale value, so we painted everything white,” she says. Then the couple bought a 1914 fixer upper in Richmond Park, in southwest London, for themselves and their three children, ages 4, 9, and 13. Feeling as if they had found their “forever home,” they decided it was time to welcome in the bright and the bold.

Working with a trusted carpenter and crew, they embarked on the remodel themselves while also holding down their day jobs: He’s a lawyer and she’s the policy director for the British Board of Film Classification. And for the trickiest room in the house, the kitchen, they turned to Plain English offshoot British Standard, which offers readymade “sensible cupboards at sensible prices for people with good taste but modest means.” The kitchen tally? £12,500 (approximately $16,000), plus carpentry and fitting costs of £5,000 ($6,367), many gallons of blue paint included.

Photography courtesy of British Standard.

British Standard bright blue kitchen, a budget-conscious remodel in London

Above: The design was inspired by the couple’s love of midcentury furnishings and by Alexandra’s grandmother’s kitchen: “I’m always trying to capture the style and joyfulness of my granny’s house.” It occupies the footprint of the previous kitchen, which hadn’t been touched in decades. When Tom fixated on the Little Greene Paint Company’s Deep Space Blue, it became the room’s defining feature. “Paired with a band of white, the blue pulls everything together and works really well as a splash back,” says Alexandra.

Colorful kitchen remodel in London with a red Smeg refrigerator and blue British Standard cabinets

Above: A new window wall with French doors connects the space to the garden. “Our motto is, If it makes us smile, then it’s in,” says Alexandra, by way of explaining the red Smeg fridge and overall homemade look.

Colorful kitchen remodel in London with blue British Standard cabinets

Above: The biggest challenge of the remodel? “It’s not a huge room and we couldn’t work out how to create the big communal eating space that was so important for us,” says Alexandra. The solution was to ditch the previous L-shaped counter layout to make room for a booth-style seating area. It’s composed of a midcentury table and antique church pews. The family are flea market regulars and use the open shelving and glass cupboards to display their finds.

Colorful kitchen remodel in London with a Villeroy & Bosch Belfast sink and bridge faucet

Above: The Belfast Sink is a Villeroy & Boch purchased on eBay and fitted with a brass bridge faucet from architectural salvage company Cox’s Yard. The counters are iroko, a tropical hardwood, that Alexandra and Tom spent many evenings finishing with a Danish clear oil to bring out the graining. Note the handy under-the-sink cupboard.

Antique drawer pulls on blue kitchen drawers

Above: The pots and pans drawers are fitted with vintage hanging knobs sourced from Silbury Antiques.

Midcentury wood dining table and Illusion Feature ceramic tiles from Tons of Tiles

Above: “We love the communal feel of squeezing in as many people as possible at the table,” says Alexandra. “Our record is 12 during a birthday sleepover.”

Blue British Standard kitchen cabinets and Illusion Feature ceramic tiles from Tons of Tiles

Above: The tumbling block floor is Illusion Feature Grey ceramic tiles from Tons of Tiles; £3 ($3.79) per tile. Marine-Style Flush Pulls work well here because they prevent knob bumps.

British Standard blue cupboards in a London utility room

Above: The design extends into a utility room that Alexandra describes as a “mini version of our kitchen.” The hanging enamelware light is from Labour & Wait and traveled with the family from their previous home.

Here are four more designs that make use of British Standard cabinets:

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