Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Kitchen of the Week: A Japanophile’s Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast

Search

Kitchen of the Week: A Japanophile’s Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast

August 18, 2022

Brothers Hugh and Howard Miller trained as architects before turning their attention, as the duo H Miller Bros, to kitchens, furniture, products and sometimes even gardens (they won a silver gilt medal for their Urban Foraging Station design for at the Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year). Their work is people-centered and their latest kitchen, made for a family of keen cooks in Hove on the south coast of England, is typical of their pragmatic and deeply considered approach. Let’s take a closer look.

Photography by Robert Holmes.

Kitchen of the Week A Japanophiles Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast portrait 6_11
Above: The vast elm island dominates the space with plenty of room for prepping and an integrated stove. Chevron details in the cabinetry add interest and draw each area of the kitchen together. The countertops are White Attica quartz from Caesarstone.

Their client Regina, a former food writer, had previously lived and worked in Saitama, Japan, and along with her husband Joe, was keen to integrate the country’s design spirit into the new family kitchen. It’s a passion shared by Hugh, who travelled to Japan in 2015 on a research fellowship to study woodcraft. The design principles he discovered there have since been embedded into his practice, and he continues working in the country as a visiting lecturer at Osaka University.

The kitchen was crafted almost entirely from a single native elm tree. “It’s an unusual timber,” says Hugh “with a beautiful rich grain, which seemed like the perfect analogy for the subtleties of Japanese design.” Each element of the kitchen has exquisite details and intriguing features, such as the central island’s legs which are based on the traditional Japanese formula of the sun. “We like to think of each element of our kitchens as its own piece of furniture, where solid hardwood is detailed and jointed, panels are connected and plugged with contrasting dowels, and ironmongery is set in by hand. I guess the concept is about detailing, articulation, and thoughtfulness. We want our projects to be unique, special spaces that stand the test of time.”

Kitchen of the Week A Japanophiles Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast portrait 6_12
Above: The larder cupboard ticks all those boxes with its sleek sliding doors inset with partially obscured glazing. Everything can be neatly tucked away in here – including the bespoke bread box – but it’s also easy to grab items from eye-level shelving. Alongside this, a Fisher Paykel fridge freezer is incorporated into cabinetry.
Kitchen of the Week A Japanophiles Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast portrait 6_13
Above: Another clever addition: a bespoke island box for housing favorite knives, cooking utensils, and ingredients in drawers that sit on top of the island and next to the hob. Crafted in walnut, it features a notch for propping up a device so that you an easily read a recipe or follow a video.
Kitchen of the Week A Japanophiles Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast portrait 6_15
Above: The back of the island has storage for tableware, much of which was made by the Liverpool-based potter Attila Olah. These cupboards and drawers allow the children to lay the table without venturing into the cooking space.
saitama kitchen 1000px 1
Above: The elegant A-frame dining table was also made bespoke in elm while Regina added the Pierre Jeanneret teak and cane chairs.
Kitchen of the Week A Japanophiles Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast portrait 6_16
Above: In another nod to Japan, Hugh created a traditional ‘Tokonoma’ home shrine in elm which houses the family’s collection of mementos and objects and runs alongside the dining area.
Kitchen of the Week A Japanophiles Handcrafted Kitchen on the Sussex Coast portrait 6_28
Above: One of the many upsides of hiring fastidious and pragmatic designers: each drawer designed to your specifications. There’s zero chance of losing the ice cream scoop or spending five minutes trying to find the zester in these cabinets. As well as being made with sliding panels that reveal additional sections, the drawers have been lined in a cheery yellow vinyl from the The Coloured Flooring Company.
saitama kitchen full size 4
Above: Verdant houseplants are a regular feature of the brother’s kitchen designs: “It brings a space to life and it usually looks awesome against the oranges and browns of the wood we use,” says Hugh. While most of the plants here are just placed on regular shelves, a special herb planter was incorporated into the worktop with drainage plumbed into the kitchen.

For more Japanese design inspiration, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0