Having been a professional kitchen designer in London I consider myself to be an expert in this sector. I love the space planning but also the challenge of finding the next big thing in kitchen interior design. I have designed kitchens for residential and commercial clients and along the way I have found some firm favourites, which I’d like to share with you.
For a long time now I’ve favoured natural wood cupboards both painted and unpainted - gloss cupboards you are dead to me. However, from experience it’s often better to have your worktops in a more durable and easy to clean material such as composite stone, stone or tiles (tiled worktops are going to be big again)
An old fave and one of the best value kitchens on the market – I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you this. Fitted well an Ikea kitchen will last a lifetime. Mine is 10 years old and is still going strong. They always stock a kitchen which embodies the latest trend and can be easily customised with different tops, doors and ironmongery. Watch this space for more on hacking the Ikea kitchen…
Is a London based company hiding in the Business Design Centre in Islington. They are currently installing some of the most perfect bespoke kitchens in London and are so very tasteful and use some fantastic materials. They are at the higher end of the price scale but with their friendly and knowledgeable team you’re guaranteed an amazing kitchen.
A relative newcomer to my interior design library, DeVol make traditional timber kitchens but with a modern twist (new-craft). Their Sebastian Cox range is my current favourite with it’s beautiful, glazed larder cupboard. I also love how they combine painted and unpainted cupboards in one space.
Plain English & British Standard
My old stomping ground as a designer. Despite having been an employee here, I cannot deny that these guys make great kitchens. The attention to carpentry details is obsessive and the cupboards come in such beautiful colours. Again they make traditional that can be installed into any space, old or new and with their slightly more affordable off-shoot company British Standard, it is possible to get one within a half-decent budget
White marble atop white-oiled oak and Pine with a white AGA make for the most sophisticated kitchens at the moment and this company will show you how to do it. With sleek lines, minimal styling with tactile materials, they are probably the most stylish kitchen company at the moment. Their lighting is always interesting too.
For an architect-designed kitchen, in bright orange maybe, this is one for you. Having designed for Tate Modern, The Young Vic Theatre and Fritz Hansen showroom they are high calibre and price but worth it!
Cheep Cheap. Cheaper than IKEA but still good looking. This company have an amazing amount of combinations in it’s ranges and colourways. The Linda Barker (yes remember her from Changing Rooms) collection is definitely worth looking at. They claim to beat any price so give them a try.
Bert & May
With new or reclaimed solid wood door facades and a policy of responsibly sourced products I like tis company a lot. Their kitchens play with textures beautifully and in my opinion they are leading the way in kitchen interior design trends. Combining beautiful stone, brass fittings and ironmongery and their own bonkers geometric tiles, I am so looking forward to installing one in a property soon – maybe yours?
Making architectural alterations to your space may seem like a daunting and expensive venture but you can make brilliant “affordable” interior design transformations on the smaller end of the spectrum. You needn’t employ an architect either as a qualified building company should be able to arrange the necessary investigations to carry out these works.
If you don’t want to have the headache and cost of the ubiquitous extension with over-sized folding doors, simply widening a doorway and installing glazed double doors will bring in light and a little grandeur to an otherwise ordinary space. Use wood for traditional and natural decor or steel for Deco and Industrial.
Glazing Original Interior Doors
As above. Let the light into a previously dark room and give it a new lease of life. Super stylish and simple to do by removing the slim wood panels and inserting cut-to-size toughened glass and new wood beading. You can even do this for the bathroom by using ‘Milk’ or frosted glass. Just think what a difference it would make if you did every door in your dark Victorian London home.
Exposing Beams and Features
This can be messy yet done in a day. Any handyman or builder can set to work on removing plasterboard to reveal your lovely London Brick or architectural features such as hidden fireplaces, alcoves and beams. Areas can be picked out with different colours, wall mounted or table lights or styled with keepsakes, mini-library or be the backdrop to a stylish and cosy seating area.
An invisible glass balustrade or striking forged metal façade protruding slightly from the exterior wall, a Juliet balcony is halfway between a plain window and a balcony and comes with added drama to a room with more light to boot. Your builder will have to make your existing window aperture larger and install French doors (see above). See Oriel and Dorma windows for a larger scale alteration.
Roof lights and Tubes
I recently had a client whose house was long and dark with not many windows, the solution for the flat roof was simple and we planned in four large roof lights, but in the hall and living room they were foxed on how to get more light into the centre of the house. The answer was a Sun Tunnel which you can add anywhere there is 6m or less between your roof and ceiling. So we dropped one from the roof into the open plan hallway to great effect -happy clients who didn’t have to move house
For many of the above you may need planning permission. See www.planningportal.co.uk for details. A standard domestic application costs from £172 depending on your location.
For my first, new interior design blog entry, I decided to go out to my local interior design, London shopping area - Crouch End, North London and document the home interiors shops that I rate and recommend that you visit too. Plus all of these stores are within a 1mile radius so it has a high concentration of great stores for it’s size.
Crouch End prides itself on its collection of independent, boutiques, whose owners are full of interior design tips. The area that shuns bigger chain stores which gives the area the village feel it’s locals prize also has lots of independant café’s and bars to make a stop, sip ‘n‘ shop interior design day, so do venture out to N8
I love tiles, and when it comes to geometric patterns for both the traditional Victorian hallway or in contemporary colours to put anywhere you like, this shop which stocks ‘Olde English’ is a great resource. I sourced these tiles for a recent restaurant project in Knightsbridge which, used them beautifully to create an Oligarch’s grandmother’s toilet - yes this restaurant is very quirky and has been visited by royalty too. Take a look here http://www.marivanna.ru/london/
155 Tottenham Ln, London N8 9BT
In their own words (lazy of me I know but they put it best)
“The best designed home accessories from Donna Wilson to Reiko Kaneko, from Marimekko to Normann Copenhagen and more. “
Perfect for home interiors gifts and treats for your own home.
14 Topsfield Parade, Tottenham Ln, London N8 8PR
Floral Hall Antiques
If you’re a Francophile and appreciate beautiful furniture, this home interiors store updates it’s stock, direct from France, every four weeks. Concentrating more on large pieces then knick-knacks this is a serious place for a beautiful and unique dining table or industrial, decorative curio.
Crouch Hill, London N8 9DX
Jealous Gallery & Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre
In our opinion a room isn’t finished until there’s art up on the wall and if you have a cheeky sense of humour, Jealous is the place to go to. Graphic, surreal, ecclectic and sweary it’s all here. Pictured is their current takeover of the ‘Ply Gallery’ in the gorgeous art deco ‘Hornsey Town Hall’ which is always worth a visit for culture and drink (open daily).
27 Park Rd, London N8 8TE
The Broadway, London, N8 9JJ
Cassius & Coco
A cute and well-curated shop selling some of my favourite London Interior Design brands. There’s a heavy emphasis on current trends such as ‘new-crafting’ (my term for traditional crafts with a contemporary spin) and gorgeous soft furnishings. It’s also great place to buy cool presents for your favourite friends (and yourself).
31 Park Road, London , N8 8TE
If you like orange AKA 1950’s, 60s and 70’s furniture, in fantastic condition, then do call into Solomon. For rare and statement pieces you could base a whole room around, this’ll get your interior design creative mind whirring. Our fave for wow lighting.
37 Park Rd, London N8 8TE
A beautiful Tardis-like store (check out the back room too) which supplies smaller interior design pieces and furniture from France. Tastefully curated, and giving off an air of a stylish flea market store. I always go for the do-it-yourself light garlands (pictured), oilcloths and vintage posters.
39 Park Rd, London N8 8TE
Of Special Interest
The paradox of London country house can be bought here. You can buy beautiful neutrals in furniture and accessories and top off the look with the best smells and minimal candles in town. I love this store for the friendly owners and the attention to detail on it’s bespoke furniture and styling, which helps you to envisage the look in your home. They’re also an outlet for Mudd & Co simple, handcrafted kitchens which look good in any style of London home.
44-46 Park Rd, London N8 8TD
The Urban Flower Co
Bringing the outdoors in and making a house a home is a good floral arrangement – simple as that, but if you’re doing flowers, make them special, which they all are here. This boutique florist stocks the most fashionable blooms, cacti and succulents *walks into shop and takes deep intake of breath – mmm ahhh
47 Park Rd, London N8 8TE
Rocco Borghese Artlights
Did we already mention wow lights? Well these are WOW! lights. I’m yet to have a project to install one of these amazing glass pieces but as soon as I do……
The creations here are beautiful and bonkers at the same time, Pink Flamingo Chandelier anyone? Offering a high-quality, completely bespoke service you gets what you pay for and no one else will have the same (home interiors win!)
59 Park Road, London N8 8DP
Junk n8 Disorderly
Second-hand, no, pre-loved with a heavy emphasis on real wood and quirky decorative pieces. Too neat to be a junk shop but does have a suitably eclectic mix of furniture and accessories.
Weirdly no website but do pop in
26, Veryan Court, Park Rd, London N8 8JR
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog