Jo Horder, her husband and two young children moved into this Victorian home in Stockbridge back in 2018 knowing they were embarking on big project house. Jo explains, “We were starting to outgrow our previous home so while we weren’t in a desperate hurry to move, we did keep our eyes peeled for properties that became available in our key location of the small town of Stockbridge.
“My mum lives here and my husband grew up here, it’s only a mile or so from where we were, so we were keen to find something here as it’s a lovely quiet place for families. Property can be expensive though so we knew to get something the size we wanted it would probably have to be a project house.”
The home they bought was definitely that. It hadn’t been lived in for over four years, and hardly touched for twenty. A large four bedroom Victorian property, it had had the same owners as the adjacent property and they had partly combined the two homes, so it would need to be restored back into one coherent family home.
“It was perhaps a bigger project than we had originally planned but we decided to go for it as we could see so much potential and loved the location. We lived at my mums for the start of the project as we literally had to gut the house, rectify damp walls, fix poor electrics and reconfigure some of the spaces so our new home could take shape.”
“The kitchen was always going to be phase two of the project. With the house in much better shape we moved back in and could start planning that final space as we decorated the rest of the home. The existing kitchen looked a bit like an old laundry room. It had really low ceilings and only one window along the back wall, and above was a small and pretty unusable loft space. It definitely called for being knocked down and we could then rebuild the space with a 3m extension added within permitted development rules, and creating much higher ceilings by combining the current kitchen and loft height.
“The house did have an amazing pantry style room off from the old kitchen so we were keen to keep that and make sure it connected to our new kitchen space.”
With building work starting Jo started to plan the details of the kitchen design. “I really wanted to create a large and bright open space that we could all live in as a family. The rest of the ground floor rooms in the home can be a little bit dark, so the high ceiling design of this space would give us the opportunity to create a really open room full of natural light as a contrast to our cosier living spaces.
“We’d completed a renovation of our previous kitchen and had learned a lot from the mistakes we had made then so I felt we could really plan this one to perfection and to work perfectly for our family.
“I wasn’t necessarily a big fan of kitchen islands, they can sometimes feel a little bit crammed in, but when I realised the large square nature of the room we would have an island seemed like a key part of the design and we planned everything around it.”
Jo selected a modern shaker style kitchen and island from Magnet finished in Midnight, contrasting with a white Quartz work surface, adding handles by Dowsing & Reynolds. “Once we’d chosen the kitchen flooring choice was our next priority.
“We had installed V4’s Zigzag herringbone oak floors in Frozen Umber in our living room. I had spent so much time searching for a perfect wood floor tone for that room, struggling to find anything that wasn’t too orangey, or too dark. When I found Frozen Umber the warm mid-tone oak surface was just perfect, I hadn’t seen anything else like it.
“I wasn’t sure on having that same parquet style in the new kitchen though. I just wanted this space to feel simple and spacious and I thought they may add too much pattern and detailing, so I was thrilled when I found out they did the same Frozen Umber finish in the Deco plank style.”
Decision made Jo ordered the new wood floors from Oakwoods Flooring and her carpenter completed the installation of the kitchen and new Deco Frozen Umber wood floors over underfloor heating.
Walls in the kitchen are finished with Farrow & Ball Strong White, and the windows and doors in Farrow & Ball Pigeon. “I actually sourced the two side windows on eBay as a bit of a bargain, and then a local joiner made our bi-folds and window that looks out to the garden. Once they were all painted in the same colour they looked a perfect match. Another eBay purchase that saved us a lot of money was the large Smeg range cooker. It was a steal, and in great condition, so it lived at my mum’s house until we were finally ready to install it in the new kitchen.
The yellow structural beam is the inspired choice of six year old son Eddie. “We could have had the beam boxed in but we thought it could look a little bit odd and ruin the aesthetic of the pitched ceiling. It needed to be finished in a fire proof paint due to building regulations so after a lot of debate on what colour to go for, my son’s love of yellow won the day.
Yellow dining table chairs and yellow stools from Cult Furniture complete the yellow themed accent colour in the kitchen perfectly.
The finished space is exactly what the family were hoping to create. A bright and spacious room, filled with natural light and where everyone can go about their business in one room, all together.
“We are thrilled with the finished kitchen and the wood floors are fabulous. The generous plank size and rustic nature of the boards add a lovely warmth that also enhances the feeling of space in here. People always ask about the floors when they visit, they have a really expensive solid wood feel about them, so they are surprised when we tell them they were great value engineered wood floors.”
“The kitchen was finished with just days to spare before I had 14 people over for Christmas Day, and the room design and layout really came into its own during lockdown when we were all in the house together for months, with the kids able to do school work at the dining table while we used the kitchen. It’s lovely that we now have a kitchen that connects properly out to the garden too.”