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Kitchen of the Week: A Subtly Splendid Kitchen in North London

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Kitchen of the Week: A Subtly Splendid Kitchen in North London

June 23, 2016

Led by cofounder and creative director Katie Fontana, Plain English specializes in kitchens that ingeniously meld past and present, beauty and utility. Case in point, the new Mapesbury Estate design, a kitchen that rests easily in a new addition to a Victorian house in North London, steel-frame windows, a grand walk-in larder, and the family’s beloved old Aga included.

Photography courtesy of Plain English.

situated at the back of the house, the open kitchen and dining area is in a sky 9
Above: Situated at the back of the house, the open kitchen and dining area is in a skylit L-shaped extension added to a reception room.

Window walls with French doors by Clement—a family company specializing in steel-frame glazing “since Queen Victoria was on the throne”—open the space to the garden on three sides.

&#8\2\20;the brief was that the kitchen should have a run of cupb 10
Above: “The brief was that the kitchen should have a run of cupboards along the back wall under the roof light, and there was to be a large island running straight down the center of the space,” reports Fontana.

She responded with a mix of classic and clean-lined cabinetry set off by a dramatic wall of Cararra marble that “runs from the worktop all the way to the roof light, so daylight floods in from above and the quirky cranked Aga flue rises up in front.”

to balance the traditional look of the cupboards, fontana introduced a
 11
Above: To balance the traditional look of the cupboards, Fontana introduced a kitchen island from the modestly modernist Osea collection (see Steal This Look: Plain English Osea Kitchen).

It’s topped with Belgian fossil stone, a limestone, and incorporates the prep sink—Kohler’s Icerock undermount with a Barber Wilsons bridge faucet— “so that you face the garden when washing up.” The island has screened cupboards on one side and on the opposite, consciously out of view, an electric backup oven across from the Aga and a dishwasher to the right of the sink.

cabinets with panel moldings—plain english&#8\2\17;s spitalfields&#x 12
Above: Cabinets with panel moldings—Plain English’s Spitalfields design—are painted Army Camp from the company’s own collection (see Bespoke Color from an Accidental Decorator).

Note that the painting extends to the bin pulls. The “catering sink” has a May-December pairing: a Barber Wilsons brass faucet and a Quooker boiling water tap.

this is a family that cooks: a gaggenau gas range stands next to the aga. the c 13
Above: This is a family that cooks: A Gaggenau gas range stands next to the Aga. The cabinets end with a “counter-standing” china cupboard.
where to house the owners&#8\2\17; &#8\2\20;american style fridge&# 14
Above: Where to house the owners’ “American-style fridge”?  The kitchen opens to the larder, which Fontana says was the trickiest part of the design.
the larder stands where a fireplace had been removed, resulting in &#8\2\20 15
Above: The larder stands where a fireplace had been removed, resulting in “two brick piers that split the wall into three bays,” explains Fontana.

“It was a rather awkward, ugly wall, and I decided the best thing was to cover it and make an enclosed larder using our metal screens and obscured glass.” Two bays now have tiered fossil stone pantry shelves and the third houses that hulking fridge. As a final detail, Fontana added a metal cupboard to the front of the larder; topped with a shelf of black-and-white marble, it serves as the bar and cocktail staging area.

a towel bar is conveniently positioned at one end of the kitchen island, which  16
Above: A towel bar is conveniently positioned at one end of the kitchen island, which is long enough to have room for recessed seating next to its row of cupboards.

Some favorite Plain English kitchens:

N.B. This post is an update; the original story ran on June 23, 2016.

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