Clare and Edward Stratton have brought their Victorian city home to life with an impressive extension, design expertise and luxury furniture
A striking, curved island unit takes centre stage in this immaculate, bespoke, open-plan kitchen, which features flush, real oak veneer cabinets stained in a gorgeous smoked oak topped with a Corian work surface. All cabinet interiors have been sprayed in turquoise to add excitement and provide a luxurious contrast when the doors are opened, just as a Savile Row tailor features a bright lining in a luxury suit. The doors have a horizontal groove, which form both the handles and create a decorative finishing touch, and high performance Gaggenau appliances make entertaining instantly more relaxed.
Clare and Edward Stratton knew they were looking at a big project, which would call for extensive building work and a major refurbishment, when they snapped up a detached, two-storey Victorian property in trendy Notting Hill. For behind the façade, the family, which includes daughters Anna, 14, and Lucy, 16, and pet dog, Barnie, found tired-looking rooms, a drab kitchen and an unsightly, uninsulated extension.
Clare explains, ‘The whole house was uninspiring. We were determined to make this space our own so we embarked on a three-year build project. It was huge – we demolished the extension and rebuilt one double the size. We extended underground to create living accommodation in the basement. They knew what they wanted so it was simply a case of finding the right people for the job.
Above Sprayed in a striking shade of turquoise, the interior of the cabinets contrasts the rich smoked oak exteriors when the doors are opened
Right The sweeping island unit, housing a wet zone with a boiling water tap and hob, creates a place for Clare and Edward to prepare food as they chat with friends and family
The breakfast bar and the island work seamlessly together for a coherent feel to the kitchen area
Opposite Top left The bespoke, elliptical light fittings over the island unit and above the 1950s-style diner were designed by Clare and feature intricate strings of beads
Top right The work surface is made from ultra durable Corian to withstand general day-to-day living with ease
Bottom left Breakfast bar stools upholstered in turquoise leather create comfy seating around the breakfast bar
Bottom right The Kohler sink has an elegant Vela monotap stainless steel tap for a sleek finish in the wet zone
The couple called in Charles Doe Architects, who designed a teardrop skylight to bring light flooding into their new extension and they enlisted Andrew Hall of luxury, bespoke furniture makers Woodstock Furniture for the kitchen. Andrew was their favoured choice as he had designed and installed the family’s much-loved kitchen in their previous home.
Andrew worked closely with Clare every step of the way to make sure the couple achieved exactly what they were looking for in this vast space, which is split-level between the kitchen and living zone, where the skylight has been architecturally designed and engineered to create a striking feature, forming an intrinsic part of the open-plan space. ‘We specifically designed the kitchen to work with this skylight and the curve in the island unit was crucial,’ says Andrew. ‘We experimented with a number of possible shapes before Clare and I chose this one, which fits in perfectly. A neat, stylish and welcoming space was important to Clare, who says, ‘We wanted a kitchen living area which would form the heart of the family home – a place to hang out together.’ The couple’s vision was to create the ultimate, inviting space where the family would spend most of their time and entertain, so it was important this open-plan kitchen would cater for all their needs, but look ultra stylish, too.
A seamless bank of tall units provides a perfect backdrop for the kitchen area, housing high performance cooking and cooling appliances and plenty of hidden storage solutions. The central island features a sleek hob, which sits flush to the work surface, making it the perfect platform for cooking with a couple of integrated dishwashers in the cabinetry, which are musts when entertaining. Andrew of Woodstock Furniture designed the ultra stylish, bespoke kitchen cabinets to look warm and inviting in a real oak veneer, which has been stained in a gorgeously rich, smoked oak colour. The base units have been topped with a durable Corian work surface and a 50sstyle dining area with a high table and bench seat with distinctive turquoise upholstery complete the look. Andrew says, ‘The kitchen fits into the space perfectly with the vast, curved island reflecting the skylight curves and a limited palette of materials and colours creates a cohesive, comfortable space.’ Clare really was hands-on throughout this project and she says, ‘I came up with the idea of a walled spiral staircase leading down to the basement behind our dining area, as this picks up on the curves of the room as do the sofa and chair.’ She also cleverly designed the striking light fittings and she chose a gorgeous, crushed velvet, curved sofa, with the help of her interior designer Gilly Chance of Stavedene Designs, all of which work in harmony with the look of the kitchen.
Above The bespoke, retro-style dining area with a high table and bench seat make a perfect place for relaxed family mealtimes
Right An open-plan dining area leading into a reception room demonstrates versatile open-plan living at its best, with sliding doors
Clare was so delighted with the results that she commissioned Woodstock Furniture to carry out more work for the family including his and her studies and an en-suite bathroom. She says, ‘I absolutely love the vast, open space with the skylight and sliding doors offering views out onto our patio. I’m so happy with the island and kitchen diner and the stained oak is superb. We congregate here to eat our meals and relax together so this room is very much the centre of family life.’