Mark Wilkinson OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire, which is bestowed by the Queen) is well known for his design style, revolutionizing cabinetry design since the mid-1970s when he created the English Country Kitchen, which switched the emphasis of the room from a utilitarian, working area into a more sociable area. Twenty years ago, the Wiltshire, United Kingdom, the designer with Mark Wilkinson Furniture, (a division of Canburg, Ltd.) introduced The Cook’s Kitchen, a style that takes its design cues from the late Victorian and Edwardian Periods. It’s this design style that is highlighted in this family’s Surry, United Kingdom, kitchen.
While searching for the property, Wilkinson’s clients loved the location of the 1980s home, which was nestled in the Sussex countryside. And with a small addition or two, it could become the spacious family home the couple wanted to share with their two boys. However, she wanted something older, something that provided a ‘period’ look that would differentiate the home from its neighbors.
The existing kitchen was also a point of contention. The room no longer suited the theme of the home, and the family wanted room to live as a family, with spaces to eat and work and for the children to play and do their homework in comfort.
Classic style with ‘period’ appeal
After visiting the Mark Wilkinson showroom and meeting with designers, the couple fell in love with The Cook’s Kitchen. Its classic style provides the ‘period’ look she was looking for while incorporating the latest equipment and technology as well as the ‘wow’ factor when friends and family see it for the first time.
For their new kitchen, the couple worked with the Mark Wilkinson design team that included Leila Conway, SBID, and Simon Hoseim, SBID, along with Helen Matykiewicz who provided technical support. They chose cabinetry in tulipwood with Mark Wilkinson paint in Frenlea, Beach and Rosa hues. Golden Glory granite countertops are accented with a circular, oiled maple preparation block in the island. Rosewood handles and oak accessories provide additional accents.
Efficient and easy to live in
The kitchen features five separate areas, or zones, giving it a less fitted and more lived-in appeal, providing a practical, comfortable kitchen that is efficient to use and easy to live in. The cooking zone features a Lacanche Cluny range cooker while the sink zone – with its tongue and groove back panel and open oak shelves – showcases a Villeroy & Boch sink and Perrin & Rowe faucet.
The center island zone links all four lifestyle areas and cloaks the support pillar, which was a remnant of the addition that brought the family extra space, as well as a few challenges. One challenge included differing roof levels, which can give an overall look that is unbalanced, the designer indicates. Keeping the cabinetry at the same height, and running the paneled area behind the sink, provides a perfect design solution. Making the pillar a feature in the design actually helps ‘hide’ it, notes Wilkinson.
The addition made room for the media zone, which includes a TV, music system and extra power for laptops while providing a place to relax and enjoy the company of family members, even while someone is in the kitchen preparing meals. The hutch/‘dresser’ defines the eating area, further complimenting the country lifestyle.
An integrated Miele refrigerator and dishwasher enhance functionality of the space while Cappuccino Alea travertine, laid in stone style, accents the floor.
Coupled with some exterior changes that included the addition of bay windows and a back porch, the family’s kitchen incorporates a classic style that matches their original goals and suits the architectural challenges of the home in a stylish, imaginative way while offering plenty of room for the cook, or cooks, to work.
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The Cook’s Kitchen cabinetry
Classic style provides ‘period’ appeal
Bridges the various work zones
Serves as a design feature to help ‘hide’ its existence
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(headline) Five Work Zones
The kitchen features five work zones, giving it a less fitted and more lived-in appeal. The cooking zone features a Lacanche Cluny range cooker.
The Villeroy & Boch sink is accented with a Perrin & Rowe faucet and open oak shelves with Rosa-colored tongue and groove paneling.
The center island zone links all four lifestyle areas and cloaks the support pillar, which was a remnant of the addition. Making the pillar a feature in the design actually helps ‘hide’ it, notes Wilkinson.
The addition made room for the media zone where the family can relax and enjoy each other’s company, even while someone is in the kitchen preparing meals.
The hutch/‘dresser’ defines the eating area, further complimenting the country lifestyle.
Captions for 2 accessories photos: mark-wilkinson—cooks—vince_11302332.psd; mark-wilkinson—cooks—vince_11302336.psd
(headline) In the details
Oak accents, including these cutting boards, add interest and provide variation to the cabinetry. Generous Rosewood bun handles are sourced sustainably from Papua New Guinea where Mark Wilkinson was granted a special license to prove this rare tropical hardwood comes from a sustainable source.
This circular extension to the island features an oiled maple preparation block. The Cook’s Kitchen cabinetry’s distinctive style starts with the door fascia, which is a simple, almost Arts & Crafts style. Drawer fronts, which are also simple in style, are deeper than the norm, giving generous storage and enhancing practicality. Cornices feature bold mouldings with upright profiles while skirting boards, as opposed to inset kick-plinths, evoke permanence.