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Kitchen of the Week: A Zesty Combination of Old and New by an Aspiring Interior Designer

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Kitchen of the Week: A Zesty Combination of Old and New by an Aspiring Interior Designer

Belle Daughtry April 27, 2023

When creative director Charlotte Simpson and her partner, Gavin, moved into their Victorian terrace in southeast London, the kitchen was “by far the worst part of the house.” The roof was constructed from corrugated plastic, a manhole was positioned in the center of the floor, and the bathroom waste pipe ran directly through the middle of the room. Clearly, something had to be done.

They lived in the makeshift space for four years whilst saving up for the overhaul it so badly needed. “I’m glad we had four years of living in the house to really think about how we wanted it to be and how best to utilize the space,” Charlotte reflects. “Previously, we’ve always lived in rentals, so when we bought our first house together, I knew this would be a great time to experiment with different styles and ideas.”

Let’s take a look around:

vibrant, customized british standard cupboards sit atop tiles from handmade ter 17
Above: Vibrant, customized British Standard cupboards sit atop tiles from Handmade Terracotta.

The couple worked with Darren Oldfield Architects to create a space that is “loved, worn, and rustic—only with modern elements.” Adds Charlotte: “We wanted the room to feel as though it had been there for years.” An admirer of the laid-back restaurant interior at The Pig Hotel, which gives “this feeling of being in an antique potting shed”, Charlotte assembled an earthy cast of materials including vintage apothecary dressers, handmade terracotta tiles, graffitied Iroko work surfaces, and wonky zellige tiles. These are held in balance by the clean, simple lines of British Standard Cupboards, which have a fresh snap of Citrine by Little Greene.

the apothecary cabinets—sourced from splendid antiques—sit comfor 18
Above: The apothecary cabinets—sourced from Splendid Antiques—sit comfortably alongside British Standard’s floor-to-ceiling units, which house integrated Samsung appliances and have been customized with reclaimed hardware.

“At first I had in my head that the kitchen units were going to be fully reclaimed,” Charlotte recalls. “But, in reality, we knew we wouldn’t be living here forever, so we had to look at the budget carefully.” The solution was to invest in two forever pieces that the couple will be able to take with them when they eventually decide to move on. “I found two beautiful Ukrainian apothecary cabinets dating from the 1930s. We had to keep them in storage for over 18 months until we could get them into the house. Our initial instruction to our architect was to design the space around these two pieces.”

the backsplash is made up of zellige tiles from mosaic factory. &#8\2\20;th 19
Above: The backsplash is made up of zellige tiles from Mosaic Factory. “The ‘Forest’ tile stripe was inspired by images of Victorian butchers,” says Charlotte. The sink and tap are both reclaimed purchases from eBay; the antique cafe lamps are from Vinterior. The addition of a narrow roof light floods the work area with natural light.
the kitchen worktops and shelf are made from reclaimed iroko sourced from retro 20
Above: The kitchen worktops and shelf are made from reclaimed Iroko sourced from Retrouvius: “These were originally school science lab tops, still retaining in places the scrawls from years of use,” says Charlotte. “We got rid of the chewing gum, though!” The French shop sign is from the Marche Aux Puces de St-Ouen.
charlotte simpson kitchen window
Above: A stained-glass window connects the kitchen to the living room beyond. The brass hooks on the underside of the shelf came from a Victorian train carriage. The walls are Little Greene’s Slaked Lime.

“We tried to put as much thought into the smaller details as we have the bigger decisions,” says Charlotte. The stained-glass window is a bespoke design that replicates an antique pattern Charlotte admired. “I thought it would be a great way to re-utilize an old window that had been bricked up sometime in the past,” she says. “It also helps to bring some much needed light into the back of the lounge.”

the range cooker is from smeg; the discrete ceiling extractor is from luxair ho 22
Above: The range cooker is from Smeg; the discrete ceiling extractor is from Luxair Hoods. Melon Eater by the artist Jonathan Schofield hangs on the main wall in the light-filled dining extension. The canvas is lit by a brushed brass spotlight by Rose Uniacke. Above the table hangs a Venini chandelier in sherbet shades of glass, sourced from Vinterior.

“My interest in interior design has always been there,” Charlotte says. “It’s been a constant niggle!” The completion of her own home has now prompted a professional pivot. Charlotte has recently enrolled at KLC School of Design and now spends her evenings studying interior design. “It’s pushing the thought and experimentation process that I find the most creatively fulfilling,” she says.

Follow Charlotte’s design journey (and take a look around the rest of her home) here.

And for more colorful kitchens, see:

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