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The Modern Country Kitchen: With the grain

Having fallen in love with a modern country kitchen in Mangotsfield, Carine Butcher finds out how the look was achieved

As soon as you step through the door, you know you’re entering a special space. Now transformed into a country kitchen with dramatic high beam ceilings, it’s an old grain store in Siston, Mangotsfield I find myself in, with plenty of room plus some nifty modern gadgetry subtly added in.

Originally, the kitchen space was part of grain stores which also housed cattle carts and it has become part of a mammoth project to renovate the entire house into a modern country home while keeping some of its old charm. Liza, the owner, knew exactly the look she wanted. She had the vision, passion and ideas to achieve a light, airy kitchen with those amazing wooden beams helping to make it feel open and fresh. Liza worked closely with Gardiner Haskins’ kitchen designer Alec Yull who has been designing kitchens there for nearly two decades.

The exposed, uneven, original stone walls, combined with traditional country shaker-style units, give character to this gorgeous fitted kitchen, with the Prentice Windsor cabinets painted in Farrow & Ball ‘Pigeon’. Skilled carpentry from Gardiner Haskins’ kitchen installer ensured a perfect fit for the tricky wall spaces.With lots of interior design experience herself, Liza knew the colours she wanted and wouldn’t do anything different. She matched the flooring to the green-grey cupboards and the orange-gold in the granite worktops too. The granite worktops were harder to source, so Alec recommended going to Basingstoke to see them in the showroom in situ. Once Liza saw the worktop she could easily imagine it in the kitchen and knew it would be the right choice. The lines and colours of the granite appear textured but are actually smooth to touch. You can’t help but reach out and trace your finger along the grain.

A 1940s cream Aga was lovingly restored for the project and works very well, contrasting with the deep shade of the traditional shaker style and keeping the vast room warm through the colder months. Cosy underfloor heating adds more warmth to the room, making it extra snug, while the original farmhouse sink has also been restored to its former glory.

Storage was another requirement on Liza’s wish list and Gardiner Haskins’ kitchen delivers plenty of that. There are deep drawers for pots and pans, a huge pantry with handy chalkboards on the inside for shopping lists and plenty of shoe storage by the back door to keep clutter at bay. An especially lovely touch is the drawer rack for red wine, just above floor level so that it stays at room temperature (with some help from the underfloor heating).There’s a space for everything in this thoughtfully planned and well fitted kitchen, with special attention given to Liza’s requirements plus a few other modern tech features to make guests go “ooh” and “ahh”. A mini sink installed on the kitchen island has boiling water to hand – literally on tap, with no need to boil a kettle. The Neff extractor fan rises up from the back of the kitchen island hob like a control panel in a spaceship – a favourite feature that makes for a great talking point when entertaining guests.

Liza talks excitedly about Alec as a brilliant designer and Paul, the installer, as “a gem” – both pay incredible attention to detail, she says. The kitchen furniture was hand-carved to fit the tricky curves of the walls and Alec project managed the entire process, giving Liza one easy point of contact to keep her updated.

To my mind, the room has the wow factor not just because of the huge space but the way Liza has worked with Alec and Paul to pull together a unique fitted kitchen in a class of its own. Bravo…

• For help with your own project, visit gardinerhaskins.co.uk

Featured image: We’re into those Prentice Windsor cabinets painted in Farrow & Ball ‘Pigeon’ – that 1940s restored Aga is a bit of alright too