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Kitchen of the Week: Studio Maclean Creates a Bespoke Harlequin Design for Queen of Pattern Lulu Guinness

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Kitchen of the Week: Studio Maclean Creates a Bespoke Harlequin Design for Queen of Pattern Lulu Guinness

April 4, 2024

When designers Jason and Jenny Rose Maclean relocated from London to the Cotswolds in 2022, one of their neighbors turned out to be Lulu Guinness. Years back, Jenny worked on Lulu’s fashion team creating her signature life-of-the-party evening bags and clutches (if you’ve ever noticed someone toting a bag that looks like a pair of red lips, basket of hydrangeas, or bird on a nest, chances are it was a Lulu).

The timing was just right for the three of them to be back in each others’ orbits. Jenny and Jason together run Studio Maclean: we’ve featured their former Stone Farmhouse in Southwest France and first Kitchen System. And, of late, they’ve created their “Dot range” of furniture and kitchens starring pale wood printed with bright geometric patterns. Lulu’s Cotswold’s house, part of a Grade II-listed, converted Victorian girls’ school, was in a need of a new, bigger kitchen, and something bold and bespoke fit the bill. The harlequin-patterned results have just been unveiled. Join us for a first look.

Photography by Chris Tubbs, courtesy of Studio Maclean (@studiomaclean).

at jason and jenny&#8\2\17;s suggestion, the kitchen occupies a prime new l 17
Above: At Jason and Jenny’s suggestion, the kitchen occupies a prime new location: a former parlor with its original bay window overlooking the garden. And though the back wall has a concentrate of color and pattern, it’s surrounded by breathing space. The fluted island is handmade oak fitted all around with cupboards and dovetailed, soft-closing drawers, including hidden storage in the curved sections. The counters and block-shaped island base are solid composite marble imported from Italy.

The breakfast table is surrounded by scalloped-back lucite chairs. Lulu pulled them from her deep vintage holdings, along with the trio of 1960 Venini Triedri pendant lights. The wide-plank wood flooring is original.

studio maclean&#8\2\17;s dot designs are composed of digitally printed oak  18
Above: Studio Maclean’s Dot designs are composed of digitally printed oak panels—in this case in a custom diamond design (but, more often, a single graphic circle encompasses several cabinets). The impulse to introduce surface pattern comes from Jenny’s background as a fashion designer; she and Jason have been perfecting their technique for years—they made their first printed kitchen for their own home.

Lulu looked at 17th-century European painted furniture as a reference, and, after considering several Studio Maclean print options, went with the harlequin design in a rich green. “Our idea was to cover the main units in the print, but to break them up with a solid island and solid textural worktop and backsplash,” says Jason. “So, although it’s patterned, solid elements balance the whole effect.” Also, he might have added, their client is someone with an appetite for maximalist decoration.

The back wall has four drawers and eight cupboards—the fridge is tucked behind two of them to the left of the induction stove, which is by Smeg (“modern and streamlined with a nod to vintage, which works well here,” says Jason). The stainless-steel sink with drainboard/work surface is by Franke.

the composite marble evokes a harlequin pattern in free fall. the range vent co 19
Above: The composite marble evokes a harlequin pattern in free fall. The range vent cover is made of the same reeded oak as the island.

When asked about her house renovation, Lulu told The English Home, “My friends call it ‘Lulu-fying things… I have no rules. I’m a creative and I don’t stop, whether it’s interiors or fashion.”

&#8\2\20;green was important to lulu—it feels right for the building 20
Above: “Green was important to Lulu—it feels right for the building and its surroundings,” says Jason pointing out that there are actually three shades in the print, most of which are opaque enough to the let the oak grain show through. “Tonal greens add depth and are easier on the eye than a single color.”

How exactly is the wood digitally printed? “We work with a well-established manufacturer who have developed the technique with us and allow us to be hands-on,” is all Jason will say emphasizing that they experimented with a variety of base materials before focusing on oak, and “always run several test prints to achieve the finished result.” As for durability: a proprietary finish—”something we also developed over time and testing”—is added to the panels to ensure they’re able to withstand food splatters, scrubbing, and other kitchen wear and tear.

the green paint on the island was custom mixed to match the tones of the harleq 21
Above: The green paint on the island was custom mixed to match the tones of the harlequin print. Lulu added a vintage companion sideboard.  For more kitchens with fluted detailing, see our Trend Alert. The leaded glass windows with deep sills are original and protected under English heritage laws. The paper Two-Tone Geranium stems are by our friend Livia Cetti of The Green Vase.

Three more favorite examples of kitchens with color and pattern:

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