Written by Jo Messenger

Shaker style kitchen makeover

Ruth Kalbraier, who has recently started a therapy practice, lives here with her husband Robbie, managing director of a property development company, their daughter Holly and Leonberger Skye. Their brief was to design a Shaker style kitchen as part of a whole property renovation with an open-plan layout designed for family life and entertaining.

Can you tell us about your previous kitchen?

“It was old, dated and needed completely modernising. But it was extending and renovating our house that gave us the space we needed for a brand-new open-plan design that was more suited to family life as well as entertaining – and which would be more practical with having a dog the size of a small pony!

Before shaker style kitchen renovationShaker style itchen finished with breakfast bar and grey units

How did you want to redesign the space?

“We had lots of ideas about what we wanted and how we could envisage the layout, many of which came from walking around the kitchen company’s fantastic showroom. The design team at 1909 Kitchens did a great job of pulling all of our requirements and ideas together into a finished look. A top priority for us was having a peninsular unit to help section off the open-plan layout, while allowing natural light to flow through the whole space. We wanted a Shaker style kitchen design and love how the Putty shade we chose for the cabinetry changes depending on the lighting and time of day.”

“Plenty of storage was important, so a large bank of wall units incorporates a fridge, freezer plus a big double-fronted larder. This particular feature provides a talking point when we’re entertaining, as we use it as a small bar, but it’s also a great place to keep the appliances we use on a daily basis, like the coffee machine and blender. They are kept out of the way, but always within easy reach.”

The couple chose a neutral colour palette to highlight the workmanship of the units, adding detail with a William Morris blind. Photo: Paul Craig

What were your must-haves? 

“Having an Aga really suits our way of life. However, we made sure that the kitchen design included space for a conventional oven and hob too, for those rare occasions when it does get warm and we switch it off. Having both options is also really useful when cooking for large numbers. Fortunately, the overall process of choosing the kitchen we wanted and collaborating with the designers on the layout went seamlessly.”

The kitchen design includes a built-in oven with a narrow induction hob next to it for busy times or when the Aga is turned off in summer. Photo: Paul Craig

Did you have a project budget in mind?

“Not as such, as the kitchen was incorporated into the renovation of the whole house. We did save money where we could, however – like buying our Aga secondhand.”

Was there anything that cost more than expected?

“Probably not solely in the kitchen, but in the overall house project all the little finishing touches and details always seem to cost more than you think they are going to!”  

Providing plenty of space for utensils, ingredients and everyday essentials, the larder also doubles up as a bar when the couple are entertaining. Photo: Paul Craig

Did you learn any lessons? 

“We were really encouraged by the design team at 1909 to think about how we wanted to use the kitchen, which helped when we were pulling ideas together. Also, investing in the good- quality materials that we have, such as the oak units and hardwearing quartz worktops, really has paid off. Not only does the kitchen look beautiful, but it’s also practical, durable and easy to keep clean – and the classic design means that it won’t date too quickly either.”

How do you feel now that it’s all finished?

“A massive sense of achievement, and also relief. We are so excited to be able to fill the kitchen with friends and family and cook endless amounts of food!”  

The curved edge of the peninsular unit softens the overall look of the shaker style cabinetry. Photo: Paul Craig

Project costs 

Cabinetry: £34,000
Worktops: £6,000
Appliances: £3,986
Wall tiles: £180
Flooring: £3,300
Sink & tap: £428

Total spend: £47,894

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