Choosing an English kitchen

Famed for its cabinetmakers, Britain has a wealth of skilled artisans producing English kitchen cabinetry and furniture for period homes, from traditional and classic to rustic and reclaimed options. Paula Woods picks some of the best examples

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Today, the English kitchen is very much the heart of the home and, wherever you live, you’ll find British cabinetmakers and companies offering a wide range of services and designs, locally and nationwide.

Buying bespoke is naturally the most expensive option, but in return you can expect impressive levels of service throughout all stages of the project. Opting for a company that offers a range of units customised to your requirements can help keep down costs, while off-the-peg solutions can be a budget-friendly option, although you will need to choose from the cabinetry ranges and finishes provided.

Fitted, made-to-measure cabinetry, designed to accommodate structural anomalies or architectural features will, inevitably, make the most of all available space. Meanwhile, furniture that is freestanding – the only option available until the 1930s – is regarded by many as more in keeping with the traditional home. However, for the best of both worlds, you may prefer a combination of the two, or consider purchasing freestanding items that can be pushed together to form continuous runs, when required.

In terms of style, a popular option for the period home is the simple Shaker kitchen as it can work in any setting and offers maximum versatility. Intricate raised and fielded panelled doors tend to be the domain of the Georgian or larger Victorian home – with double panels, pilasters and cornices also offering grand styling.

Soft, pared-back panels sum up restrained Edwardian utility, while the key to successfully incorporating more contemporary designs lies in simply ensuring the overall look still remains in keeping with your property.

English kitchen heritage

Carpentry and woodworking has been the family trade for the Middletons for many generations. Today Jasper Middleton, founder of Middleton Bespoke, designs and creates custom-made kitchens at his Sussex workshop. The cabinetry is fashioned from English woodland timber, and can be finished in Mylands of London’s paint colours. Prices from around £20,000

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Ready-made Georgian

British Standard offers early Georgian timber designs in handcrafted cupboards, worktops and upstands. Prices start from £400 per unit, £7,000 for a kitchen.

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Designer collaboration

Founded in 1989 by Philip deVries and Paul O’Leary, Loughborough-based Devol has built a reputation for classic English and Shaker kitchens. A new addition to the range is the Sebastian Cox kitchen that uses sustainable British timbers to bring a modern twist to traditional style. Kitchens from £8,000, and Sebastian Cox, £15,000.

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Modern outlook

Those wishing to introduce subtle contemporary styling to their period home might like to try Mereway Kitchens’ Virginia, part of the new Town and Country collection. Handcrafted in the Midlands, it features simple slab drawers and pared-back panelling for a sophisticated finish. From £10,000.

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Versatile option

For craftsmanship on a budget, Somerset-based Creamery Kitchens offers individual handmade furniture pieces that can be linked together, to allow for an informal or virtually fitted look. The Classic range features cockbeading, wooden knobs and a choice of painted finishes, for rural styling. From £5,000.

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Added accent

For a wide selection of modern and traditional designs to suit all budgets, take a look at Wren Kitchens. Made in North Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, the Linda Barker collection includes the Framed kitchen, available in 40 shades in matt, eggshell or gloss finishes. From £216 per 60cm base unit and £4,806 for kitchen shown.

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Urban vibe

Smallbone of Devizes offers an array of bespoke timeless designs, ideal for the older home. The latest Brasserie kitchen, handcrafted in the company’s Wiltshire workshop, pairs pickled oak, selected for its distinctive knots and character, with complementary painted cabinetry. Priced from £40,000.

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Dynamic duo

Laura Ashley has collaborated with Yorkshire kitchen company Symphony to offer an exclusive collection of kitchens in a variety of handpainted, gloss and oak finishes. Harwood, in Pumice and Ivory, is priced from £17,000.

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Rural charm

Predominantly influenced by classic English country house style from the 18th and 19th centuries, Chalon’s handcrafted freestanding timber cabinetry features a distressed paint effect, developed to emulate natural ageing. Prices from £30,000.

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Georgian values

Humphrey Munson’s handmade cabinetry combines classic designs and traditional joinery with modern technical innovation. The bespoke Nickleby is shown in Little Greene’s Lead. From £35,000.

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Edwardian classic

Are you inspired by Downtown Abbey’s kitchen? Martin Moore specialises in bespoke quintessential English designs, all handcrafted at its workshop in Yorkshire. This Classic kitchen, handpainted in Light Cream, epitomises turn-of-the-century styling, and is priced from £35,000.

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Pastoral influences

Eastburn Country Furniture designs and makes bespoke solid wood freestanding and fitted kitchens, handcrafted from new or reclaimed materials. Prices start from £500 for a single unit.

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Industrial touch

London-based Holloways of Ludlow is happy to mix old and new in its bespoke cabinetry. Here, reclaimed oak floorboards add an urban edge to a kitchen island. From £25,000.

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Salvaged inspiration

The brainchild of Dani Murru and Naomi Doran, Relic Interiors uses mainly recycled timber to create bespoke kitchens in its London studio. The timbers are ethically sourced and each design is unique. Prices start from around £1,800 for a 100cm base unit.

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