Historic Houses Kitchen Award - Winner Announced
Historic Houses Kitchen Award (in association with Country Life, sponsored by Neptune) has just been announced, but stop the press there are two winners. Even more exciting is their great difference in opinion as to what makes a great kitchen. They both have historic houses with all the challenges and perks that come with owning such an amazing building.
Wolterton Hall, in Norfolk, is Grade I listed so it was decided the kitchen should not make any permanent impact on the fabric and needed approval by Historic England. Wendy de Capell Brooke of Great Oakley Hall, Northamptonshire was more fortunate with a less restrictive Grade II listed Tudor property. But she has five children to fit into her kitchen.
This is where we find the great divide. Over the last decade, there has been a great push toward living in our kitchens. Creating open plan spaces with sofas for reading, relaxing or having a cosy chat.
Breakfast bars to full-size farmhouse tables, enabling the chefs to feel integrated into the house and ease the congestion of shuffling food from one room to the next.
Wendy champions this trend, integrating a farmhouse table big enough to fit a whole class of children around, breakfast bar and lounge area equipped with a television to keep them quiet while you finish your wine. These are the perks of owning a historic house, most come with oodles of space.
However, Peter Sheppard the driving force behind the renovation of Wolterton Hall kitchen strongly disagrees. He feels the kitchen is for preparing food, maybe to have a drink with a friend but not for eating.
You see this in his choice of furniture, absolutely no sofa in sight just two tub chairs by the fireplace and a desk chair by the window for reading or writing recipes.
All his energy has gone into creating what could be a professional kitchen, with the most impressive integrated fridge, freezer, wine chilling unit.
But though his focus was on creating a room dedicated to cooking not lounging it still feels extremely inviting and personal.
I suppose, like all design projects this debate hinges on who is in your life and how you live it. Those of us with children know the level of destruction that can be caused, by leaving the little darlings alone for too long while you stir the risotto. If you love to entertain, you may miss the conversation being isolated in another room but you may be grateful they cannot see you dropping the steak or burning the cream. This is what great design is all about, making your home work for you.
Photos supplied by : Country Life, Photographer Simon Brown