From a blank canvas, garden designer Bridget Elworthy created a relaxed — and warm — country kitchen in an old stone house.
When Bridget Elworthy, one half of The Land Gardeners, first arrived at this Jacobean manor house, the kitchen comprised four plasterboard walls and a concrete floor.
‘The first thing we did was to lay a stone floor — sourced from a local reclamation yard — with the hot water pipes running underneath to add some warmth,’ explains Mrs Elworthy.
‘Next was the Aga — absolutely essential in old, cold houses.’
Instead of kitchen cupboards, she used a mixture of fabric curtains made from antique French linen sheets for the under-counter storage and open shelves above. ‘I love to see where everything is and it’s so much easier when we have guests who don’t spend ages opening and closing cupboard doors in search of things.’ A trio of rise-and-fall pendants from The French House provide the main source of light.
A countertop of Carrara marble provides the main preparation surface. ‘I like the tomb-quality marble rather than anything polished. I never worry about stains as they disappear after a week.’ The long shelf above is where items in regular use can be found, such as plates, glasses and mugs.
Shelves also double as display areas for a few favourite finds, including a delicate Swedish vase that was a gift from her friend the designer Lulu Lytle of Soane. Simple white glazed metro tiles form the splashback.
The large farmhouse table and benches that occupy the centre of the room are antiques. ‘My decorating style starts from quite a low base. I don’t like buying anything expensive and would much rather rummage around markets,’ she says.
‘Two things that are always present on the table are the collection of silver candlesticks and bunches of flowers from our garden.’
See more about Bridget at www.thelandgardeners.com. This kitchen appears in ‘At Home in the English Countryside: Designers and Their Dogs’ by Susanna Salk, with photographs by Stacey Bewkes, published by Rizzoli
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