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.
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.”
For more Japanese design inspiration, see:
- 20 Best Online Shops for Japanese Housewares
- Kojima Shōten: Classic Japanese Lanterns Reimagined
- Spirited Away: A Traditional Japanese Home in the Countryside