Before and after: Shaker-style kitchen makeover
Elizabeth Frost transformed her Seventies kitchen with a modern Shaker-style scheme.
When Elizabeth and Robert Frost inherited a house in the Cotswolds from Robert’s mother, they knew they wanted to keep the fourbedroom property for all the family to use. ‘We’ve been coming here for holidays and weekends with the boys for nearly 40 years and it holds many special memories for us,’ explains Elizabeth.
The house hadn’t been touched since the Seventies, however, and the couple’s priority was to renovate the kitchen. The original layout was split by a run of low units. Period wall tiles and tired lino flooring all added to the old-fashioned look. In bringing the room up to date, Elizabeth was determined to create a more effcient and social space. ‘I wanted an island central to the design, as a focal point and a place to gather,’ she says. ‘When both of our sons are here with their families we do a lot of cooking and socialising in the kitchen.’
After doing some research, the couple paid a visit to Wren Kitchens and fell in love with the classic styling of the Linda Barker range. The house is in the Cotswold stone cottage style,’ Elizabeth explains, ‘so we wanted to make sure that the scheme didn’t seem out of kilter.’ This Shaker-inspired design – painted in sea foam, a soothing duck-egg hue, and teamed with antiqued cup handles – provided the right balance between classic and contemporary.
‘We were originally thinking of a dark-grey kitchen,’ she adds, ‘but we’re so happy we opted for sea foam: it gives the room a lovely light, fresh and airy feel.’
A favourite feature is the natural-oak worktop. ‘I adore its look, but in hindsight we didn’t quite appreciate how much maintenance it would involve,’ Elizabeth explains. After installation and its initial two or three coats of oil, the worktop required a light sanding and re-oiling after the first six weeks or so, and then again every four to six months, depending on wear and tear. ‘It’s a labour of love,’ laughs Elizabeth. ‘If we ever do another kitchen, I could be swayed by a more practical surface.’
The couple also opted for patterned lino floor tiles with a soft grey tone that blends with the kitchen units: ‘We love that it doesn’t feel cold like ceramic tiles,’ Elizabeth says, ‘and it’s really easy to clean.’
All-important finishing touches haven’t been overlooked: for example, blinds by Villa Nova in a modern floral print in soft greys and burnt orange add contrast and keep the look fresh. Walls painted in Little Greene Absolute matt emulsion in slaked lime help tie the scheme together. Replica Tolix bar stools are the perfect spot on which to perch for breakfast, and are also a nod to industrial style – as are the Toulan pendant lights from Garden Trading.
‘We couldn’t be happier with our new kitchen,’ beams Elizabeth. ‘It’s light and airy, and much more spacious than we thought it could be. It ticks all the boxes for the whole family. Gathering here together really does make it the heart of the home.’
Words: Louise Rastall, Photographer: Max Attenborough