Arran & Sue's Shaker Kitchen Renovation

Bespoke Shaker Kitchen design with a large island in the centre, painted in a dark charcoal. Four stool seats are placed around the island that are in the same stone colour as the main kitchen units.

Arran and Sue embarked on their kitchen design journey late last year, We were delighted to catch up with them and see the outcome of their hard work. Working with our design team, their aim was to create an inclusive social space to entertain family and friends, we must say they have achieved exactly that. Read to find out more about their project.

Please tell us a little bit about yourselves and why you decided to renovate your kitchen.

We have spent the whole of our working lives in education and although in differing fields, both as teachers of design. Although neither of us originated in Leicestershire, we have been in our current home in Loughborough for 29 years and have been extremely happy here. Having both now retired, we felt that this would be an opportune time to develop our home to allow Sue, as a food specialist, to finally have the kitchen that she had always wanted.

What was the inspiration behind your kitchen or things you knew you wanted in the design?

The criteria for the new kitchen was that it needed to be a flexible space, the main priority being that it had to be an efficient working area to allow not only for the day-to-day living needs but also for the more creative aspects of the culinary world. The aim was to create an inclusive social space when entertaining family and friends, and the extension to the house, along with efficient kitchen design has allowed us to do this.

Key requirements for us were that the kitchen had to be of high-quality construction to provide longevity and ergonomically designed. As a new kitchen is a major investment, we wanted a bespoke solution that would fit our exact requirements, we visited a variety of showrooms, but our minds were made up after our very first visit to ‘The White Kitchen Company’ where Rima and Chris answered all our questions in a non-pressurised way – giving us confidence in their product.

We love how you have mixed both dark and light elements into your design. What made you decide on colours and finishings for your kitchen?

The kitchen was designed around a large island unit, and this created the opportunity for us to explore different colour combinations. From the outset we wanted a shaker style with simple cabinetry furniture, using a very neutral colour palette that wouldn’t date. With our background in design and as the project progressed, we experimented with many colour combinations with the help of colour cards, mood boards and finally painting samples directly onto the walls – this was vital as colours can appear dramatically different in varying light levels during the day. As the new living area is quite large we wanted to make a feature of the island unit and the contrasting darker colour allowed us to do this. We chose ‘Slaked Lime – Dark’ from the Little Greene Company, a warm neutral colour for the main part of the kitchen and ‘Railings’ from Farrow and Ball for the island – a soft black with blue undertones. These tones have been carried through to other furnishings within the room which is still in progress.

After considering many options for the work surfaces we eventually decided upon quartz being the most versatile for us and opted for Silestone Eternal Calacatta Gold in a Suede finish which works well with the other colours in the kitchen. This was supplied and fitted by ‘Rock Revelations’ who were recommended by the White Kitchen Company and who provided an excellent service and were extremely helpful.

Do you have any tips or advice for people just starting out with their kitchen design?

Listing your exact requirements is a key starting point, bearing in mind that everyone has a budget to work to and often people have differing criteria. e.g. not everyone wants a large American-style refrigerator, but we felt that the walk-in larder unit was essential. Think carefully about the function of units along with the layout of the kitchen and how it will be used on a daily basis. We had the room to create a separate drinks station for tea and coffee with a small sink positioned away from the main part of the kitchen so as not to interfere when food preparation is taking place. This has proved very successful.
Planning is essential in any project such as this and no matter how much time you put over to this there will inevitably be changes and refinements made along the way, often due to unforeseen circumstances – especially if final building work has yet be completed. The White Kitchen Company have been very understanding and supportive in this aspect, and our design was ‘tweaked’ a number of times along the way.
Budget must always be a key consideration, consider where you can save money to stretch that budget a little further. We fitted the kitchen ourselves along with the flooring and decoration and thought carefully about what appliances we could reuse from our original kitchen rather than buying new.
We are delighted with our kitchen and the very positive comments that we have received from family and friends.