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Rebecca, Martin & their Suffolk kitchen

Rebecca, Martin & their Suffolk kitchen

A forever kitchen for their forever home. That was the goal for Rebecca and Martin’s project. One that was planned and managed entirely by the couple in the space of just a few months – with a little help from the Neptune kitchen inspiration book.

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Situated close to the picturesque Peak District, this semi-detached Edwardian stone house in Derbyshire is home to Rebecca, Martin and their son, Joseph. Built in 1907, many of the original features have been carefully preserved, including the original stained-glass front door and windows. Extensive works, meanwhile, have been carried out over the years to transform the house into the welcoming family home it is today. Central heating and a new roof were high on the list of priorities, as well as a rear conservatory extension connecting the downstairs loo and utility room – once accessible only by exterior doors – to the rest of the house. Finally, some years later, Rebecca and Martin’s attention turned to the kitchen. We stopped by to find out more.

Like many, Rebecca and Martin had timelessness and longevity in mind when they started to think about designs for their new kitchen. As luck would have it, while looking locally for companies that might fit the brief, the couple came across Neptune in a kitchen showroom in nearby Chesterfield. ‘As soon as we saw the collection, we knew Neptune was the one,’ muses Rebecca. ‘And the option to repaint the cabinetry was also appealing if we fancied a change later down the line.’

The design they settled on – after consulting our kitchen inspiration book from cover to cover – was Suffolk, painted in warm neutral Dove Grey, and finished with locally crafted, leathered granite work surfaces. Synonymous with simplicity, the Shaker-inspired cabinetry pairs perfectly with walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s muted Elephant’s Breath, as well as the original terracotta floor tiles the couple were keen to keep in situ.

Although their previous kitchen was also a fairly understated affair, Rebecca and Martin wanted to ensure that, this time around, the layout would be much more practical. ‘We had cabinets with doors along one full wall before, some of which were quite awkward to access. But we also wanted to avoid having cabinets just running around the edges of the space. Although it’s not the largest room, it’s big enough that everything would have felt too far apart. A U-shaped layout, incorporating a peninsula, has given us more work surfaces, storage, and space for seating. It also creates a nice divide between the working part of the kitchen and the entertaining side. There’s even a built-in wine cooler tucked away in the peninsula for guests to easily access!’

Once they’d designed the layout, the project moved swiftly, and structural changes were limited to the installation of French doors leading between the kitchen and conservatory (replacing a narrow single door), and raising the chimney breast to accommodate their Lacanche range. ‘Other than that, we just had to find a solution for a small gap between the range and cabinetry on one side. Luckily, the slim chopping block and tray cabinet was just the thing to fill the space. And it’s practical and looks great,’ says Rebecca, smiling.

Looking back on the project, we ask the couple if they’d do anything differently given the chance. The answer is resoundingly positive: ‘Very little. The kitchen triangle we designed so carefully works brilliantly – everything is always within easy reach when I’m cooking. The only thing I’d change in hindsight is the sink. I’d opt for a double Belfast sink rather than the single design we chose.’

Life in their new kitchen

What’s your favourite thing to do in your new kitchen?

‘Socialising – because the space opens onto the conservatory, which in turn opens onto the garden, we’ve created the perfect flow of indoor and outdoor areas for entertaining.’

What could you now not live without?

‘The pan drawers (I’d never go back to cupboards for pans after having drawers where it’s all so accessible) and our two larder cupboards.’

What’s next?

‘Hopefully a new bathroom, but in a few years, not right now! Other than that, we usually spend a lot of our time on garden projects. Martin is currently rebuilding the wall and putting up a new fence at the bottom of the garden. Once that’s complete, he’s going to be building us a pergola.’

If you’re thinking about fitting a new kitchen, our kitchen inspiration book and stores are a great place to start.