Mark Wilkinson, OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire, which is bestowed by the Queen) has long been known in the kitchen and bath industry for his unique design style, having created the English Country Kitchen in the ’70s, which switched the emphasis of the room from a utilitarian, working area into a more sociable area. Twenty years ago, the Wiltshire, UK-based designer, with Mark Wilkinson Furniture, (a division of Canburg, Ltd.) introduced The Cook’s Kitchen, a style that takes its design cues from the late Victorian and Edwardian Periods. It’s this design style that is highlighted in this Surry, UK kitchen.
Wilkinson’s clients first fell in love with the location of the 1980s home, which was nestled in the Sussex countryside. They were convinced that, with a small addition or two, it could become the spacious family home they desired. However, the clients wanted something older, something that would provide a period look that would differentiate the home from its neighbors.
The home’s existing kitchen was also a point of contention. The room no longer suited the theme of the home, and the family wanted room to live as a family, with spaces to eat and work, and for the children to play and do their homework in comfort.
After visiting the Mark Wilkinson showroom and meeting with designers, the couple fell in love with The Cook’s Kitchen. Its classic style offered the period look they wanted while also incorporating the latest equipment and technology – as well as providing the ‘wow’ factor they were hoping for.
The couple worked with the Mark Wilkinson design team, which included Leila Conway, SBID, and Simon Hoseim, SBID, along with Helen Matykiewicz who provided technical support. They chose cabinetry in tulipwood with Mark Wilkinson paint in Frenlea, Beach and Rosa hues. The base units are a few shades darker than the wall units, and a third color, with pink tones, maintains the higher level.
Grey has been the trend color for the past three years in the UK and has recently been evolving, first to shades of grey with growing influences from blue, and most recently bringing more red into the mix to create shades of lilac or wisteria. This factored into the color palette, Wilkinson notes.
Golden Glory granite countertops are also accented with a circular, oiled maple preparation block in the island.
Efficient, easy to live in
The kitchen features five separate areas, or zones, providing a practical, comfortable kitchen that is efficient to use and easy to live in. The cooking zone features a Lacanche Cluny range cooker while the sink zone showcases a Villeroy & Boch sink and Perrin & Rowe faucet. A tongue and groove back panel in a pink tone offers a backdrop to the open oak shelves.
The center island zone links all four lifestyle areas and cloaks the support pillar, which was a remnant of the addition that brought the family extra space, as well as a few challenges. One challenge included differing roof levels, which can give an overall unbalanced look, the designer says. Keeping the cabinetry at the same height, and running the paneled area behind the sink, provides a perfect design solution. Making the pillar a feature in the design actually helps ‘hide’ it, notes Wilkinson.
The addition made room for the media zone, which includes a TV, music system and extra power for laptops while providing a place to relax and enjoy the company of family members, even while someone is in the kitchen preparing meals. The hutch/‘dresser’ defines the eating area. An integrated Miele refrigerator and dishwasher enhance functionality of the space while Cappuccino Alea travertine, laid in stone style, accents the floor.
Coupled with some exterior changes, the kitchen incorporates a classic style that matches the original goals and suits the architectural challenges of the home in a stylish, imaginative way – while offering plenty of room for the cook, or cooks, to work.