Case study: A home away from home

Chantel Elshout Studio created this timelessly modern kitchen space, perfect for weekend and holiday get-togethers.

When the Bowers family purchased their New Forest cottage as a space to escape from the city rat race for holidays and weekend catch-ups with friends, they undertook a major redesign of the space. What they wanted was a home that reflected their lifestyle and personality, but also made the most of the beautiful area of countryside in which it is located.

The original small dark rooms were replaced with a large, open-plan kitchen/dining area, all tastefully designed to be modern, yet not too modern and most definitely in keeping with the traditional aspects of the space. The result is an eclectic home, that is full of character and offers the warmest of welcomes when family and friends descend for some time away from the daily grind.

Contemporary shaker-style furniture in Velvet Blue matt lacquer has a timeless elegance, while the CRL Quartz Verona work surfaces help lift the colour scheme. Tapping into the trend for grey tones in the kitchen, Verona creates a striking contrast to the darker cabinetry around it, while combining seamlessly with stainless steel appliances and white oiled herringbone oak flooring.

A subtle pastel shade that works from traditional to contemporary settings, CRL Quartz Verona emulates the true beauty of natural stone, while being extremely easy to care for. The beautiful veining, which is marble-like in appearance, is emphasised by the colour of the furniture beneath. More than capable of withstanding the demands of modern living, Verona does not need to be sealed, keeping maintenance to a minimum, yet is scratch-, stain- and water-resistant, accordig to the brand.

“We chose CRL Quartz Verona worktops as it’s a very hard-wearing and durable product, and this particular option has a beautiful natural vein and colours that complemented the floors and kitchen furniture,” comments designer Chantel Elshout.

“An under-mounted ceramic sink from Thomas Denby gives a slight nod to a more traditional kitchen and sits well against the worktop, while the tap in brushed nickel matches the appliances, tying the whole look together.”

The hand-made brushed brass handles add warmth to the overall scheme.

With limited wall space in the newly-designed kitchen, ways to maximise on storage wherever possible were employed by the designers. An Abode Pronteau 3-in-1 steaming water tap was chosen to free the worktop of a kettle and ensure the family can welcome their guests with a cup of tea or coffee quickly on arrival, while lots of drawers provide plenty of easy access storage.

“The island worktop was also kept free of any appliances to create a social gathering area and lots of preparation space, as well as being able to lay out a feast when entertaining,” explains Elshout. “We also fitted a very efficient Falmec Pro Zeus extractor, to ensure that all cooking smells were taken out of the room – quite important when you have an open-plan kitchen/dining and living room space.”

Lighting was another important element of the room, which is designed to be used for cooking and dining by day and entertaining by night. Three Golden Bulb pendants over the island provide ample task lighting and can be dimmed down for a softer, ambient light in the evening. Whether switched on or off, this lighting solution is another of the many features of the room that draw the eye and blend modern with traditional.

With the property designed with occasional use in mind, the finished look is streamlined and simple, with the worktops playing a pivotal role. A modern classic space that combines old and new, the revamped cottage is now quite at home in its stunning New Forest location.

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