Emma Cox has created a modern scheme that is sympathetic to the style of her Edwardian home.
Looking for a larger house with a bigger garden and more green space nearby to walk their rescue lurchers, Emma Cox and her husband Stephen Kennedy moved to a leafy area of east London back in 2012. The property’s original kitchen was reasonably new and good quality, but with shiny black cabinets and a concrete worktop, it was far too modern for our tastes,’ Emma recalls. ‘It was also small and the patio adjacent to it was east-facing, so it only had the sun for a few hours in the morning. It made sense to extend the kitchen out to the side and then build a patio across the back of the house, which would be bathed in sunlight all day long.
Emma discovered Mike Taylor Bespoke Kitchens online, and had a lengthy conversation with Mike on the phone before visiting his workshop. ‘Ordinarily, I’d prefer to use a recommendation,’ she says, ‘but I was really impressed by Mike’s website, and even more so when I spoke to him. I just had a feeling we’d work well together.’ They also read the firm’s testimonials – including one from TV personality Mary Berry. Mike had designed her kitchen and, by coincidence, freelance journalist Emma was due to interview The Great British Bake Off star at around the same time as commissioning him. ‘Cheekily, I opened my interview by asking Mary whether she’d recommend Mike. She said yes, unhesitatingly.’
After this shining endorsement, planning permission for the extension was quickly submitted and approved. Mike recommended Piotr Zawisza from Zawisza Construction to do the build. Emma then created a moodboard to show Mike the kind of look they were after, with images from interior design magazines as well some taken from fashion titles to highlight the different shades they liked.
‘We wanted a classic scheme to go with our Edwardian house, but with a touch of glamour and some colour,’ Emma explains. ‘I’m not a fan of the all-neutral look, but we didn’t want anything too wacky, or something that we would get bored of. It was vital for us to strike a happy medium.’
Opting for a modern take on a Shaker-style kitchen, Emma’s two-tone olive green/cream scheme adds colour while maintaining a sense of light and space. Copper handles bring an industrial twist, and were chosen to coordinate with the copper pendant light that illuminates the breakfast bar. Meanwhile, iridescent mosaics create an eye-catching splashback behind the new range. ‘The tiles are the first thing you notice when you walk in,’ says Emma. ‘I love the way they look different depending on the time of day.’
Now that the work is complete, it’s clear that Emma is thrilled with her kitchen transformation – and Mary Berry even provided the final ingredient to turn it into a real showstopper. ‘Mary gave me a great tip: to ask my builders to push the floor tiles as close to each other as they could and use a dark grout where possible, to ensure that dirt doesn’t show up in the cracks. For someone with two dogs, it was invaluable advice and turned out to be the perfect finishing touch,’ Emma smiles.
Photography: Fraser Marr