Inspirational Kitchen Design
Fitting a new kitchen in a period home requires proper planning, plenty of research and sympathetic consideration.
If you are renovating a period home, it is most fitting to choose a kitchen that matches the architectural style of the home.
Take inspiration from the history books to create your own dream kitchen brimming with authentic period details. However, a kitchen can be modern but incorporate heritage colours and finishes to help create a link to the era of the home. For a fresh looking kitchen, consider two-tone cabinetry. For example, painting the lower cabinets in a darker colour such as navy, dusty blue, sage or a federation green looks stunning when teamed with brass, bronze or leather cabinetry handles or knobs. Painting the overhead cupboards in an off-white such as parchment will create a contrast that will make the kitchen feel light, open and airy while still providing the opportunity to include colour.
For an authentic period-style kitchen consider opting for a range cooker and butler sink, both of which will bring a touch of class. They have been around for hundreds of years and today continue to be popular choices for period homes or farmhouse kitchens.
The Georgian period (1714-1830) covers the reign of four King Georges, including the Regency period of George IV as Prince of Wales. Since it encompasses more than a century, it would be impossible to define a single design style for furniture of the era but today’s interpretation within kitchens is easily recognisable, not to mention incredibly popular. Pitched somewhere between the austere simplicity of a flat-framed Shakerstyle door, and the more ornately decorated Victorian style, Georgian kitchens are characterised by having a very strong classic look that can be made grander with impressive panelled mantels and imposing full-height larders, or kept simpler for a cottage or farmhouse kitchen.
Georgian kitchen details
- Raised and fielded panel doors, often with bolection (projecting) moulding
- Drawers edged with cock beading or pencil moulding for delicate detail
- Painted finishes – often greys and blues
- Grand mantelpieces with raised and fielded panels and solid corbels
- Granite or marble worktops
- Butler’s sinks and French farmhouse taps
- Bronze drop handles, cup handles and knobs
There are two approaches to the Victorian kitchen, and they couldn’t be further apart. On the one hand, there’s a utilitarian interpretation based on the butler’s pantry or scullery that was the true working kitchen in Victorian homes. The focus is on a range cooker with free-standing furniture, open dressers and a large, well-worn table centre stage. More often, the kitchen cabinet design we associate with the Victorian era today is styled on the upstairs parlour or dining rooms, although you will often see elements of the ‘below stairs’ kitchen incorporated – for example, a butler’s sink, glass dresser or solid range cooker.
On the other hand, you will find Victorian kitchens where flourishes are deemed as important as functionality. Again, the Victorian period embraced many furniture styles during the Queen’s long reign (1837-1901) but, generally, Victoria- inspired kitchens have higher levels of decoration than Georgian-style kitchens, with elaborate scrolls and corbels, dentil moulding and carved pilasters all frequent features.
Traditionally, kitchens with cathedral arch doors and barley twist pilasters (influenced by the Gothic revival) came under Victorian classification but they have been toned down somewhat in recent years, while wicker baskets and open wine racks remain strong.
Victorian kitchen details
- A large cook’s table or island unit
- Freestanding furniture such as a glassware/crockery dresser
- Ornate cornicing, twisted pilasters and cathedral arch doors
- Pulley clothes dryer above a range cooker
- Scullery-style wet area with butler’s sink
- Copper accessories
- Cream or white painted cabinetry mixed with oak or teak worktops
- Moulding and intricately carved corbels
Sleek and Chic
Looking equally at home in a modern apartment or a period home, the latest high-gloss laminate, lacquer and solid-surface cabinets are a fussfree, contemporary option. Great for those who want a streamlined look, they are packed with innovations to keep your space hard-working and clutter-free. If high-gloss isn’t for you, choose matt-finish units but keep them flat-fronted with minimal handles for that contemporary touch.
If it’s a linear look you’re after, opt for handleless cabinetry. Most have pull recesses or push-open mechanisms, or choose electric fittings that open doors with the merest touch.
High-gloss finishes are popular but look out for softly textured matt doors. If you’re on a budget, laminates are inexpensive and hardwearing, but if money is no object, then durable lacquer or a solid surface such as Corian looks sophisticated.