Heritage kitchens

A bank of cupboards and long table lead the eye to a large sash window. A tonal palette of dark...
A bank of cupboards and long table lead the eye to a large sash window. A tonal palette of dark blue, natural wood and Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin highlights the decorative plasterwork. The marble work-top adds a modern heritage twist.
In these uncertain times, our homes are more important to us than ever. In this extract from Heritage Style, Selina Lake celebrates the new nostalgic mood in interiors and shows how to create inviting kitchens that are full of intriguing personal touches.

Kitchen and dining areas

The place where meals are made and friends and family gather — our kitchens need to be both functional and inviting.

If your kitchen just needs refreshing, consider repainting your cupboards and adding smart new handles. A full redesign can be daunting and expensive, but the heritage-style look is timeless and will not date.

Wooden fitted kitchens, vintage freestanding units (such as butcher’s blocks) and even restaurant-style stainless steel fittings can all work with this aesthetic; just steer away from anything ultra modern. I especially love Shaker-style cupboards with brushed metal or polished brass hardware.

An inherited, antique or artisan-made dining table is ideal for entertaining. Add a mix of chairs, benches or stools from different eras made from various materials.

The shelf above this kitchen sink is made from reclaimed wood.
The shelf above this kitchen sink is made from reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed and reimagined

Reclaimed materials have their own history — for instance, display shelves made from reclaimed wood might have grooves, stamp markings or nail marks, which will add character to your kitchen. Salvaged and vintage items are key to bringing the heritage look together, especially in a newly-built property, as these finds show signs of age and patina that will ground your interior’s scheme.

You can source reclaimed accessories at antiques fairs, markets, junk shops and online. Heritage items to look out for as you decorate your kitchen include painterly artworks, wooden chopping/cutting boards and stoneware pots and jugs/pitchers.

Classic good looks

Marble surfaces and a restrained palette will add an elegant feel to your kitchen. This kitchen combines subtle charcoal and navy tones with off-white and natural stone. I like the idea of the island unit being a darker hue than the wall-mounted cupboards.

This classic kitchen features a Carrara marble splashback, a blue fossil stone countertop and...
This classic kitchen features a Carrara marble splashback, a blue fossil stone countertop and antique glass lights.
To give your kitchen classic good looks, choose well-made and thoughtfully-designed cupboards and smart brass handles, limit yourself to a few carefully-chosen colours and materials and make sure you incorporate clever storage so that you can hide away clutter.

Clever colour

Matching the kitchen cabinetry to the walls and woodwork/trim is a paint technique called colour drenching.

The wall cupboards have been replaced with a long shelf, and a brass rail underneath is home to...
The wall cupboards have been replaced with a long shelf, and a brass rail underneath is home to everyday mugs, copper pans and enamel ladles. Collections of oil paintings and French confit pots add personality to the space.
The colour that interior designer Sarah Brown has committed to in her kitchen, shown here, is a chalky pink. It works well with the hints of black, brass and natural wood from the appliances and accessories chosen for the rest of the space.

Colour drenching is a great technique if you are planning a makeover of an existing kitchen. Most cupboards can be repainted, but just make sure you do your research and prep the area with a good primer. Continue the colour across walls, ceilings and woodwork, ensuring you use the right paint on each surface.

This technique would look lovely in dark tones as well as light ones.

The book

Heritage Style by Selina Lake, published by Ryland Peters & Small. Photography by Rachel Whiting. Distributed by www.bookreps.co.nz.

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