How to create a serene, yet hard-working kitchen

Plain English worked with antique dealer Robert Young to make this traditional kitchen with an effortlessly relaxing colour scheme that marries perfectly with the views over beautiful gardens.

The owners of this Grade II-listed, 18th-century Cotswold-stone house were keen to make sure their new kitchen had a timeless feel, so, with the help of architect and heritage consultant Eva Palacios of Historic Building Studio, a central pillar was removed to increase the usable floor space.

‘After that, our brief was to create a warm and comfortable kitchen for no-nonsense cooking and eating,’ explains Sarah Picton, senior designer at kitchen makers Plain English. ‘The clients are keen gardeners and wanted plenty of storage for kitchen-garden produce, too.’

Certain elements were non-negotiable. In lieu of an island, the clients wanted to continue using an antique prep table made of elm with a hanging batterie de cuisine above. Antique dealer Robert Young sourced further pieces, including the horse weathervane over the AGA and the hanging antique lanterns in copper verdigris.

Cupboards and drawers run along the two external walls, with a double sink centred in front of the window to enjoy views over the garden, which was designed by Arne Maynard. All the windows have low sills and working shutters, which had to be accommodated within the joinery design.

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The bespoke cupboards are from Plain English’s Spitalfields range and are painted in a leafy hue, appropriately called Garden, by Little Greene. These have pulls, lifting handles and knobs in antique brass. The sink taps are in unlacquered brass. These so-called ‘living finishes’ will tarnish attractively over time.

Generous work surfaces, in honed Carrara marble, provide lots of room for chopping and preparing. ‘It was really important that nothing looked too shiny or new,’ says Mrs Picton. ‘The idea was for this room to sit quietly within this rather beautiful building and not feel overly designed.’ Arabella Youens

Plain English (020–7486 2674;; Historic Building Studio (07709 032210;