The Courthouse Kitchen

Having lived in the unique property for some time and having already started a family, the owners of this former courthouse in Surrey wanted to make their home really start to work for them and their family. They decided to extend and remodel the house and make their kitchen a space to enjoy day-to-day family life, work life and their love of hosting family and friends.

The grounds of the property border the Crown Estate woodland, which is populated with ancient oak trees, so the couple wanted this to be sympathetically reflected in the natural textures and tones used within the kitchen. 

A feeling of indoor-outdoor living was critical to the owner’s dream of creating a kitchen and living area that would allow them to host large family barbecues and entertain outdoors in all seasons. It was important to create free-flowing movement between the home and garden to host long summer get-togethers that could continue into the evening. The previous kitchen’s position and layout restricted movement between the different areas of the house, so they decided to open up the space. 

Described as ‘Modern Shaker with a heritage twist’, the design is really about blending well-considered handcrafted cabinetry with a minimal, less-is-more approach.

The familiy commissioned local Surrey kitchen designers Shere Kitchens to custom build their cabinetry, which includes a large central island that is hand-painted in a soothing ‘Smoky Green’ finish and topped with Cosmopolitan White Caesarstone. The cabinets are made by hand in one huge piece, delivering cleaner lines and seamless framing, which creates an exceptionally bespoke look. The Shaker style doors also have bespoke narrowed profiles paired with flat panel drawer fronts, to make the large imposing island feel sleek, understated, and elegant.

The island is a key design feature.

When combined with the oak table and open shelving, the island works perfectly to highlight the tones and textures of the forest and create a wonderful sense of calm. The offset positioning allows plenty of space for guests to gather around to chat. It has become a real hub for so much more than food preparation. It’s now a place for family breakfasts, and relaxed suppers, as well as a good spot for drinks with friends.

The space is bright with a crisp monotone white aesthetic that acts as a blank canvas for the artistry of the bold island and the warm wood highlights provided by the key furniture pieces. This is only amplified by the light that bounces around the room as it streams in from the large skylight – perfectly positioned in the centre of the raised extension ceiling, mirroring the large oak table sitting directly beneath it.

To achieve even more of a light, airy and clutter-free look; a lot of emphasis was placed on getting the layout and design details right. This was essential to ensure that there would be a place for everything, with lots of stress-free storage in the form of easy-to-reach bespoke cupboards and drawers.

‘We favour Shaws sinks as the look is timeless and the handcrafted, artisan ethos aligns with our own.’ – Shere Kitchens

The position of the sink was chosen with functionality as a top priority. The owners selected a Shaws Shaker Double 800 because it has ample room for oven dishes, as well as for the everyday crockery rinse before loading the dishwasher. It’s also deep enough to hide a stack of party plates whilst entertaining. The great thing about the Shaker Double 800 is that it is as practical as it is pretty, and the slimmer dropped central dividing wall suits contemporary cabinetry.

The sink has the fridge and dishwasher to the left, the hob and bins to the right, and the food prep area on the island. It’s also right next to the breakfast pantry and coffee station so there’s easy access from the cupboard (with cups and tea bags), to the boiling water tap.

For a family-centric couple, it was important to acknowledge their South African ancestry and they wanted the interior design scheme to incorporate family heirlooms. Working with interior stylist Belle Hadley, and having recently inherited some traditional wooden barrister bookcases, they decided to utilise them in the kitchen to store and display books and favourite things. This heritage twist is threaded throughout the design of the kitchen, with the hand-turned oak pedestal table, and open shelf (which is stained to match the heirloom bookcases). Coupled with the flooring that’s been matched across the limestone interior tiles and porcelain patio tiles, the flow from indoor to outdoor is further enhanced and adds to the cool, crisp look.

The result is a space that is more than a room, it’s a wonderfully open space for living and entertaining with a subtle, yet stylish nod to family heritage.


Images courtesy of Shere Kitchens and Julia Currie Photography