Cast study: Brilliantly crafted

Darren Chung Photography
American walnut on one side balances the painted cabinets of the other

Traditional techniques and materials produce a kitchen of enduring beauty

When you are the proud owner of a 17th-century grade-II listed property in the heart of a historic city, you really can’t make do with any old scruffy kitchen. It just wouldn’t feel right. But that’s exactly what the people who own this house were faced with every time they made a slice of toast or boiled the kettle: a reminder that the room just did not live up to its surroundings. They realised they needed something out of the ordinary, something that showed off traditional British craftsmanship and that had the classical elegance worthy of their beautiful home.
There was only one place to turn: Humphrey Munson, a firm with a history of fine cabinetmaking stretching back to the late-1800s and which today specialises in creating bespoke kitchens using time-honoured techniques.
Peter Humphrey, the design director, was impressed by the possibilities offered by the room. “There were high ceilings and 30 square metres of floor to play with, as well as stunning natural light flooding in through the French windows,” he recalls. “We wanted to create a kitchen that would be perfectly in keeping with the age of the property and give a real sense of history and heritage.”
The owners had asked for the “ultimate classic contemporary kitchen”, built using a variety of materials, finishes, tones and textures for a sense of both luxury and cutting-edge design. They also wanted high-end appliances, which were to be integrated with a minimum of visual clutter.

Taking all these factors into consideration, Peter believed that the Spenlow range, from Humphrey Munson’s own inhouse designers, would be an ideal match for the brief, as he explains: “The mixture of natural wood and painted cabinetry is a key feature of the Spenlow kitchen design. It is made either in oak or in American walnut, as in this case. The walnut gives a feeling of quiet luxury – it’s such a spectacular finish – but really the luxury comes from the perfection of the cabinetmaking.

Darren Chung Photography

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 96-100, issue 102.

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Brief To create a kitchen worthy of the owners’ beautiful home and to make it look striking: “Fully co-ordinated finishes are great for small spaces, but for this kitchen the brief was to create something with drama and definition,” says designer Peter Humphrey.
Biggest challenge “One of the principal challenges of the space was the very high ceilings,” says Peter. “The bank of tall cupboards (containing various appliances as well a lot of storage) is finished in American walnut and could have become an overly imposing feature. But because of the high ceilings it works perfectly.”
Works required The old kitchen was cleared out and this new one, with hand-built cabinets, was put in its place. The firm also designed and built the chimney.
Budget The overall budget for the room was £75,000. Of that, £30,000 was spent on the cabinetry (including installation), £6,500 on the Silestone work­tops and much of the rest on the hi-spec appliances. The Wolf range cooker, for example, cost £16,425, with £13,000 devoted to Sub-Zero refrigeration.
Designer Humphrey Munson, 01371 821300
Photography Darren Chung
Words Judy Diamond