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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Above: The pots and pans drawers are fitted with vintage hanging knobs sourced from Silbury Antiques.
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.”
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:
- A Kitchen for the People, Courtesy of Prince Charles
- In the Kitchen with Skye Gyngell, London’s Chef du Jour
- Kitchen of the Week: A British Standard Kitchen in Bold Blue
- Rehab Diary: A Kitchen in a Shepherd’s Hut