Alexa Jacobs, a senior kitchen designer and showroom manager at deVOL Kitchens , recalls when a pair of new homeowners walked into the store seeking some guidance.
“They came in on a very hot summer’s day back in July 2021,” she says. “They were in the process of purchasing an 1870s Victorian property in North London, and it needed a good dose of TLC—the place hadn’t been touched in years!”
This was the first property the couple had ever purchased, and it also happened to be their initial foray into renovations, so Jacobs knew they felt pressured to get it right. The existing kitchen was tucked away in a corner of the home’s lower ground floor, and they wasted no time deciding that it was much too small for modern living. Instead, the couple aimed to turn the entire front of the home into a shared kitchen and dining room, complete with an old-meets-new aesthetic.
Landing on a Layout
“It had great potential from the very beginning,” Jacobs remembers. “There were tall ceilings and windows with existing period details, so we knew we had very good bones to work with. The overall layout came together quite quickly, and it was mainly the smaller details that we took our time over.”
Jacobs shared a kitchen that the pair’s neighbors recently completed as inspiration, and they gravitated toward its simplicity. That “pared back” look worked well with the Georgian-inspired craftsmanship of deVOL’s Classic English collection, and everyone agreed that open-countertop cabinets on either side of the range would be effortlessly of-the-moment. Once that was figured out, they went to work determining the layout.
“With it being quite a large space, and knowing that the sink and the cooker were positioned at two ends of the room, it was easy to see that a prep sink on the island would be a useful addition,” Jacobs says. “With the owners being keen cooks, we wanted to ensure that everything was close at hand on the island.”
There’s a mini-fridge built into the island and a larger refrigerator and freezer on the other side of a glazed partition wall, a strategic compromise considering that the full-size piece was too clunky next to the pantry and the owners wanted all the appliances out of sight. “Another area we struggled with was how to install a ducting channel from the extractor to the outside. We knew that the chimney was functioning, however, it was extremely tall and stretched over eleven meters from the lower ground floor to the top of the house,” Jacobs says. “The builder came up with the idea of making a hole in the side of the chimney and bringing the ducting channel over and out. We then made our cornice slightly taller than normal to hide it all away.”
A Bespoke Paint Palette
But, of course, the real showstopper of the room isn’t its functionality. The kitchen feels as fresh as the day the owners came into the deVOL showroom because of the bright yellow and earthy brown shades they chose for their cabinetry. “We discussed having a two-tone scheme right from the initial meeting, but the choices changed throughout the process,” Jacobs says. “They ended up using bespoke colors that we mixed up in our workshop. Their final choices are so original, being brave really paid off.”
Plain lime wash walls, light gray doors and shutters, Carrara marble countertops, brass hardware, and reclaimed wood on the island were also picked out—all complementing the original floors—crafting a kitchen from a one-year timeline that feels classic yet cool.
“Being led by the shape of the room and having the cooker in the chimney breast steered us in a certain direction, and the end result is something wonderful,” Jacobs says. “With this in mind, my takeaway would be to always be guided by the features and architecture, which will create a unique and considered design.”
Get the Look
The vintage, industrial design of this light fixture is the perfect marriage between modern and antique. The white lampshades are sleek and sophisticated, while the brass fixture makes the space feel well-loved.
A copper sink complements the earthy brown and yellow tones of the space. It can blend in nicely with a dark wood countertop, or highlight the brightness of a marble counter.
These brass pull handles are a timeless addition to any kitchen. They're low profile and come in a variety of sizes to suit any need.