A run-down Victorian villa in Oxfordshire was demolished to make way for a brand-new house.  It retained the generous proportions of the original building, but with much larger areas of glass and a purpose-designed footprint, it is the perfect modern home for a couple and their three teenage children.

The clients came to 
Martin Moore through a friend’s recommendation and the kitchen design started while the house was still in the planning phase. This enabled the designer, Alex Hughes of Martin Moore’s Amersham showroom, to work with the architects and builders right from the beginning, aligning all the services and amenities.  The overall concept was definitely to ‘think big’.  Everything in this kitchen is on a grand scale and the design grew outwards from the central focus of one of the largest islands which Martin Moore have ever made.

Another must-have was the Aga.  Moving to the new house meant leaving a much-loved Aga behind, but there was the cheering prospect of a brand new one at the heart of the new kitchen. Situated just opposite the Aga, the sizeable central island is the multi-purpose heart of the room; as much a social hub for the family as a prepping area and laying out space.  A steam oven faces the Aga, creating a cooking zone, and a prep sink makes a practical addition to the island’s functionality, as does a deep fridge drawer facing the main sink.

The clients’ original brief actually called for two islands; the second being for a teenage daughter who loves to bake and needed a working zone of her own.  A second fixed island proved impractical in the final design, but was cleverly replaced by a Martin Moore Cook’s Table.  A large freestanding dresser adjacent to both the cooking zone and dining area holds the majority of the everyday china, glass and cutlery.

Although this is such a large kitchen, its ergonomics and functionality have been very carefully planned.  Because every Martin Moore kitchen is entirely designed and handbuilt as a one-off, every element of the space and the clients’ needs can be given due recognition.  Alex visited the clients in their old house and together they measured the existing shelving and drawer capacity, plus contents, and estimated exactly how much space the new kitchen should provide and how it would be organised.  They also discussed how the clients liked to shop (often, for fresh food) and cook and tailored the larder, fridge and freezer space accordingly.

Clever, purpose-designed, storage abounds, including deep drawers on either side of the Aga, which conceal internal drawers with special dividers for a knife block and utensils.  More vertical dividers under the prep sink provide dedicated storage for chopping boards and Aga trays. 

The clients had already chosen the fabrics for their blinds and upholstery, so the kitchen was handpainted in complementary colours, taking a palette of warm neutrals through the whole space from the working zones into the family dining and sitting room areas beyond. This unity creates a calm atmosphere with the colours changing subtly in response to the natural daylight which floods the room.

The kitchen also has a spacious walk-in pantry with traditional cool-shelves in Carrara marble. The long open shelves above the worktop provide storage for oils, preserves and dry ingredients, whilst the shelves below hold big bowls, party platters and large pieces of cookware. Wicker baskets under the sink provide root vegetable storage. 


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