A bow-ended Georgian drawing room makes a beautiful kitchen, thanks to a designer who’s willing to bend the rules
When the owners of this house in Aberdeenshire embarked upon the full-scale renovation of their property, they had particularly high hopes for their new kitchen. Not only was it to be moved to the front of the house to take advantage of the lovely views over the gardens, it was going to be housed in the former drawing room, a gloriously expansive space measuring 9.5 x 4.5 metres. As such, they reckoned, it couldn’t fail to be an impressive venue both for family dining and for laidback evenings with friends.
Such high expectations might have daunted another designer, but Emma Fraser of Murray & Murray was more than happy to take up the challenge. She could immediately see the room’s potential and liked the idea of trying to retain some of its elegant period features while still transforming it into a room with a very different purpose.
First of all, though, she had to take into account three very specific requests from the owner. The first was that the splashback should be made from some beautiful hand-made tiles that the owner had sourced, and that the colour scheme of the finished kitchen should reflect the colour of these tiles. The second was that the family’s beloved pet dogs should have space for a bed somewhere in the kitchen. And the third was that there should be somewhere to display the fine pieces of china that the owners had collected on their travels around the world.
With so much space to play with (as well as the generous footprint, the ceiling was well over three metres high), none of these requests felt insurmountable. More pressing, Emma felt, was to give the kitchen a classic look to tie in with its grand surroundings but still keep a homely atmosphere with lots of personal touches. “We wanted to be sympathetic to what the room was once used for while making the space functional for everyday family life,” explains the designer. “The furniture style played a large part in getting this right – it was designed to have a freestanding look as well as concealing everyday essentials such as fridge drawers, waste bins and a TV.”
A Georgian style of cabinetry door was chosen, set into a plain frame with traditional butt hinges.
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The brief To create a large family kitchen that would be sensitive to the room’s former incarnation as a formal drawing room. It had to include a display area for the owners’ large collection of china and a bed for their pet dogs.
Works required A full kit-out job was required, along with the installation. Since the whole house was being renovated at the same time, the kitchen designer had to work very closely with the architect and building firm to ensure that everything was ready for the cabinetry to be installed.
Biggest challenge Ensuring that the Georgian architecture of the room was retained and reflected in the design, while still allowing the space to be a fully functional family kitchen.
Designer Murray & Murray, 01592 774363
Photography Kevin McCollum
Words Judy Diamond