Mark Wilkinson Furniture design kitchens.

made in britainNick Bell, Mark Wilkinson Furniture’s creative director, is 6ft 3in and weighs about 14 stone. ‘I’ve done a few things during my 20-year career, but cramming myself into one of the display cupboards is a first,’ he says, unwinding himself after our photoshoot. ‘But it has proved something: what we make is both strong and spacious–I could’ve had a small guest in there with me.’ Although Mark Wilkinson remains very much at the forefront of the design process, Nick has recently risen to be both the face of the brand and the energy behind its current expansion.

The story began with the Cook’s kitchen, a clean and classic painted-wood design that was distinctive for its over-sized drawer- and doorknobs. It’s a look that has been copied hundreds of times over, but, in the 1980s, it was synonymous with turning the kitchen from a functional space into a stylish and comfortable heart of the home.

‘Today, anyone can design a Shaker-style kitchen—the fun we have is trying to make it unique,’ explains Nick. ‘We’ve just added a new collection to our range called the Portobello, which would sit as happily in a Holland Park town house as a cottage in the Dales. The key is being able to adjust the details according to the setting.’

Every kitchen is handmade by the company’s joinery in Devizes, Wiltshire. The process starts with a client and designer sketching ideas in the showroom. These are converted into computer-generated images, then the client is delivered a door sample with the correct paint finish and decoration to make absolutely sure. ‘In order to produce something that we’re confident will last for the full 25-year guarantee, it’s imperative that we use the best joiners and the best materials and that can only happen here.’

For more information telephone 01380 850007 or visit www.mwf.com

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