The cat and the bird

Winter of 2009, Niva, Denmark. Home for the time.

Never did find out who won this epic battle.

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My kitchen

I think the hardest thing to do as a designer, is your own home. Suddenly, it becomes personal and you are open for judgement if you get it wrong. Strangely, it is more stressful, as every little decision counts, and you doubt your own concepts.

For this kitchen renovation, it was a complete gut and refit. I had to use the same structure as the house is block built and largely open plan, plus the only two walls are holding up 5 tonne of upstairs bedroom area. This meant – no moving walls, they are holding the upstairs.

I did what I would do for a client; established a detailed and robust brief. I asked myself questions; how will I use the space, how do I cook, what about the family. I looked at function and zones; flow of cooking and baking, having breakfast, making dinner, preparing and cleaning up. Will it fit with the existing architecture – or will I create a different look. After this exercise, it focussed me. Strangely, it’s much easier doing it for someone else and I’ve now discovered the emotional investment is the missing element in working for others. This room was personal, it’s a place where I spend hours of my day. My kids love to bake – often just when I start cooking dinner – so I accommodated them by using three hobs, rather than one big one with large bench space both sides. I installed two ovens; one being a multi convection and microwave, next to a standard oven.

This is the second to last room in the house to renovate. The entire house has been redesigned, given new purpose, added on, and in some cases just redecoration was in order. Style, well it is a reflection of us, a culmination of influences from countries we have lived in, eras we like, pieces we enjoy and the way we like to live.

I wanted this room to be my haven, a pleasure to be in, not a chore like it’s predecessor. It had to flow from one activity to another but not hinder anyone else wanting to use the space. This room is meant to be shared and filled with chatter, clatter and gorgeous food.

The materials and colour palette were informed by the materials, cabinets and colour palette from the rest of the house – in this room, all these element are pulled together.

Only one area bugs me – the splash-back, that baby takes maintenance. Wish I’d convinced my other client (husband) that tiles were going to look good and add some much needed texture to the vast space.

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An existing concrete support beam had to be accommodated, it visually split the room in two awkward spaces and drew unwanted attention – plus it was wonky – terrible original gib and plaster work. My plasterer had his work cut out for him.

The beam became an element to integrate and meant designing a bulkhead around the other two support walls. I built three new wing walls to enclose cabinets. This bulkhead enclosed the room to its own space whilst giving space to install target overhead downlighting. I used LED cabinet lights; smaller and less obtrusive.

In the beginning…